Kasparov and Carlsen – together again in Oslo

5/5/2010 – Former World Champion Garry Kasparov was in Norway to speak at the Oslo Freedom Forum – but also to meet up with his young colleague and sometime student Magnus Carlsen, currently number one in the world rankings. The two were interviewed by the national NRK TV. We have translated and transcribed some of the material and provide you with the video and screen grabs.

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Kasparov and Carlsen in Oslo

Last week Garry Kasparov was at the Oslo Freedom Forum, a conference on human rights, where the former World Champion spoke about human rights and democracy in Russia. The organisers have announced that there would be video updates over the next few weeks as they upload conference videos and photos – so keep an eye on the Kasparov page there if you want to hear his speech. There is a link to a well-know 2008 interview with Sir David Frost, in case you have missed that. Incidentally, an official visit by the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev started on the same day, and the fact that Medvedev and Kasparov even stayed in the same hotel probably led to even more media attention than Garry expected.

But Kasparov was in Norway not just for the Freedom Forum. He was greeted at Oslo's Gardermoen airport by his friend and colleague Magnus Carlsen, whom he has trained in the past. Kasparov participated in an event with one of Magnus's two main sponsors, the law company of Simonsen, which has published nice blog reports on their national chess hero in the past. They also sent Magnus to Bergen to play blitz at their recruiting exhibition stand. Simonsen promised a permanent job to any student who could beat him, but based on the outcome of the 26 games," Magnus said, "they will have to select a different criteria for recruiting." The opposition varied from beginners up to one grandmaster. TV 2 and other media covered the event, and the sponsor was very satisfied with the atmosphere and attention.


Kasparov and Carlsen at the meeting centered around the Tromsø Olympiad bid for
2014. The speaker is Jøran Jansson, the president of the Norwegian Chess Federation.

On Thursday Magnus and Garry attended a press conference in Sandvika to promote Tromsø's candidacy for the Chess Olympiad in 2014. The Arctic Circle city of Tromsø and Albena, Bulgaria are the two candidates that have delivered bids. "I really hope that the FIDE congress will vote for Tromsø at their meeting in Khanty Mansiysk during the 2010 Chess Olympiad the coming fall," Carlsen said.


Garry and Magnus, a powerful force in the chess world today

Later the same day Kasparov and Carlsen attended Simonsen's annual client event. The former World Champion was the main speaker at this informal and popular gathering. He was interviewed by TV journalist Gro Holm, and NRK Lørdagsrevyen interviewed Carlsen and covered the event in the double portrait televised nationally that weekend. Here is the report on NRK's web site. You can watch it on the player at the bottom of the page.


Carlsen and Kasparov on Norway's NRK TV


The two analyse in the hotel suite – animated and with obvious pleasure


"Although I like to be updated on political issues I seldom feel really engaged emotionally."


"He is 19, I am 47. When I was 19 I was also only a chess player."


An infant Magnus working with GM Simen Agdestein


The young chess prodigy playing the 2600+ GM Alexey Dreev...


...and a first encounter with Garry Kasparov, whom the 13-year-old had on the ropes

"Right now I believe that Magnus Carlsen can serve the cause of chess better than anyone else. He is young, he is Norwegian, from the Western World, very attractive for the media. That could symbolise a new era."

Q: "Do you feel that people has stopped regarding you as a kid?" Magnus: "Well, I hope this has been the case for a long time already. I've played at a reasonably high level for some six years now, and I've had to perform and behave as an adult in many situations. I hope people have seen me as such as well."

"Garry has helped me a lot really. Not the least in the opening phase, where he was the greatest expert in the world, but also in the area of psychology." Q: "Is your next goal to become World Champion?" Magnus: "Of course that is a goal, but it is not something I think about every day. It is not an all-consuming goal. I feel it will just be a natural step at some point in time."

The first 5 min 35 sec of this report, which we provide with the kind permission of NRK, are about the chess personalities Kasparov and Carlsen. If it does not run in the above player (which requires a Media Player plugin) you can see it on the NRK site (which also requires a Media Player plugin).


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