Breaking news: Carlsen and Kasparov join forces

by ChessBase
9/7/2009 – It was the best-kept secret of the year: Magnus Carlsen, at 18 already the fourth highest ranked player in the world, has won the legendary Garry Kasparov, arguably the greatest player in chess history, as his personal trainer. The goal is to make Magnus the world's number one in the course of the coming year. The Norwegian newspaper VG has broken the news.

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In complete secrecy chess star Magnus Carlsen, 18, has engaged the history's greatest chess player, Garry Kasparov, as a personal trainer. The goal is to make the Norwegian, who currently ranks as the fourth-best chess player in the world, the world's best during the course of the coming year. In addition, Magnus Carlsen of Lommedalen will be built up to become the strongest brand in international chess.

"You will not find a bigger name than Kasparov," says former Carlsen mentor GM Simen Agdestein, "nor a more competent coach." When Kasparov retired in 2005 he had been an undisputed world number one from 1985 to 2000.

The collaboration, which until now has been kept secret, has been under way for six months, confirms Magnus Carlsen himself. He will not reveal what the training program costs, but confirms that it is expensive.

Now the former director of the Hjemmet Mortensen, Espen Agdestein, is working full time to find sponsors for Carlsen. "This is the king training his crown prince," said Espen Agdestein. "While Kasparov is a living legend, Carlsen is the biggest attraction that exists in the chess world today. This is the Dream Team."

Cooperation with Kasparov is initially intended to last throughout the coming year, with a possibility of extension. On September 15 Kasparov will be coming to Norway for another training session with Carlsen, who has been twice to Moscow visiting Kasparov. This summer Carlsen spent 14 days at Kasparov summer residence in Croatia.

"With so many victories coming relatively easily to his immense talent and fighting spirit, the final crucial ingredient of relentless work will guarantee his place in history," Garry Kasparov told VG. He believes that Carlsen is already very close to being number one, despite his young age. "In six months of working with Magnus I have seen in him many of the qualities of the great champions," Kasparov adds.

It is estimated that Kasparov earned over 30 million US$ or 23 million Euros during his chess career, and has a staff of twenty people working for him, including chauffeurs, bodyguards and cooks. After retiring, he has written several books on chess and become involved in politics. But it is not money that runs Kasparov. "He is training just one person in the world, and it is Carlsen, because he believes Carlsen is the player with the most talent out there," says Espen Agdestein, who helped find the first sponsor for 13-year-old Carlsen. "My job now is to make Magnus a very attractive object for the market and pick the right sponsors, who can build a brand," says Agdestein.

Magnus Carlsen said that he looks forward to working with Kasparov. "He has an extreme capacity for work, extreme determination to win and extreme perfectionism," said Carlsen. "Now I hope to be get more of these properties for myself. The goal is to become number one in the world."

Translation: Henrik Carlsen/ChessBase

The king and Crown Prince: Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov coaching Magnus
Carlsen in his summer residence in Croatia [photo private]

Sven Magnus Carlsen Øen, 18, born: 30 November 1990 in Tønsberg, resident of Haslum in Bærum

Honors: Currently ranked the world's fourth best chess player. Described as one of the greatest talents the world has seen. On 26 April 2004 Carlsen was the world's youngest chess grandmaster, at the age of 13 years, 4 months and 27 days.

Garry Kasparov, 46, Born: 13 April 1963 in Baku in Azerbaijan, resident of Moscow

Honors: World Chess Championship from 1985 to 2000. Has written several books on chess.

Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen working together in Croatia this summer

Found it! Carlsen works on a chess board, Kasparov on his notebook computer

Their first encounter

One of the top attractions of this 2004 Icelandic rapid knock-out event was the 13-year-old Norwegian cherub Magnus Carlsen, who was fresh-faced and fresh off two grandmaster norm results in two months (at Corus and Aeroflot). And in the first round, on Thu. March 18, Magnus faced none other than legend Garry Kasparov. Here's their game:

Carlsen,M (2484) - Kasparov,G (2831) [D52]
Rapid Reykjavik ISL (1.1), 18.03.2004 [Commentary by Almira Skripchenko]
1.d4. Carlsen probably wants to avoid the Najdorf against Kasparov. 1...d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7. The Botvinnik System, 5...dxc4, is the sharpest line available here. Is Kasparov afraid to play something as dangerous as this against a child who calculates like a computer? 6.e3 Qa5. Kasparov plays the Cambridge Springs, which is not as volatile as the Botvinnik. 7.Nd2 Bb4 8.Qc2 0-0 9.Be2 e5 10.0-0 exd4 11.Nb3 Qb6 12.exd4 dxc4 13.Bxc4 a5.

Carlsen pondering what to play after Kasparov's 13...a5 – Photo © Omar Oskarsson

14.a4 Qc7 15.Rae1 h6 16.Bh4 Bd6 17.h3 Nb6. 17...g5? is met by 18.Qg6+ :-) 18.Bxf6 Nxc4 19.Ne4 Bh2+. 19...Be6 20.Nxd6 Nxd6 is actually better than what happened in the game. 20.Kh1 Nd6 21.Kxh2 Nxe4+ 22.Be5 Nd6 23.Qc5. 23.d5 Rd8 24.Nd4 wins a pawn, because 24...Bd7 loses to 25.Nb5. 23...Rd8 24.d5 Qd7 25.Nd4 Nf5 26.dxc6 bxc6 27.Nxc6 Re8 28.Rd1 Qe6 29.Rfe1 Bb7.

The kid has Kasparov sweating, but he sees that after 30.Nxa5 there are enormous complications arising from 30...Bxg2 When you are a pawn up against the world's strongest player you do not want to give him this kind of counterplay, but rather to simplify the position and win in the endgame: 30.Nd4 Nxd4 31.Qxd4 Qg6 32.Qg4. When you have an extra pawn and opposite colour bishops it is usually better to keep the queens on the board. I would have have played 32.f3. 32...Qxg4 33.hxg4 Bc6 34.b3 f6 35.Bc3 Rxe1 36.Rxe1 Bd5 37.Rb1 Kf7 38.Kg3 Rb8 39.b4 axb4 40.Bxb4 Bc4 41.a5 Ba6 42.f3 Kg6 43.Kf4 h5 44.gxh5+ Kxh5 45.Rh1+ Kg6 46.Bc5 Rb2 47.Kg3 Ra2 48.Bb6 Kf7 49.Rc1 g5.

50.Rc7+. This allows Black to force a quick draw. Maybe Magnus should have tried 50.Bd8! Bb5 51.Rd1 Bc4 52.Rd6 Bf1 53.f4 Rxg2+ 54.Kf3 gxf4 (54...g4+? 55.Ke4 Re2+ 56.Kf5 g3 57.Rxf6+ Ke8 58.Bb6 gives White chances to win) 55.Rxf6+ Ke8 56.Bc7 Ra2 57.Rxf4 Kd7 58.Bb6. This is still a draw, but with a little more suffering for Black. 50...Kg6 51.Rc6 Bf1 52.Bf2. Kasparov was actually lucky to escape with a draw against the 13-year-old Norwegian wunderkind.

Imagine what it felt like for Garry Kasparov to have to defend against this – child!

In the second game Kasparov simply steamrolled the kid.

Kasparov,G (2831) - Carlsen,M (2484) [E92]
Rapid Reykjavik ISL (1.2), 18.03.2004
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 c6 9.f3 Re8 10.Bf2 d5 11.exd5 cxd5 12.c5 Nc6 13.0-0 Nh5 14.Qd2 Be5 15.g3 Bh3 16.Rfe1 Ng7 17.Rad1 Rc8 18.Ndb5 a6 19.Nd6 Bxd6 20.cxd6 d4 21.Ne4 Bf5 22.d7 Bxd7 23.Bxd4 Nxd4 24.Qxd4 Nf5 25.Qxd7 Qb6+ 26.Kh1 Red8 27.Qa4 Rxd1 28.Qxd1 Qxb2 29.Qb1 Rc2 30.Qxb2 Rxb2 31.Bc4 Nd4 32.Re3 1-0.

Openings training DVDs by Garry Kasparov

Wherever he appears, chess fans gather in crowds. Garry Kasparov is the strongest chess player of our time – and a great personality who can represent the sport like no other chess professional. Now Kasparov comes into your home and shares with you his knowledge of one of the great openings in chess.

Here are the Kasparov training DVDs you can order in the ChessBase Shop:

Garry Kasparov: How to Play the Queen's Gambit
Kasparov has played the this opening both with the white and black pieces. With great verve he speaks about variations and ideas of the Classical Queen’s Gambit. More than three hours of first-class private tuition.  
Garry Kasparov: How to Play the Najdorf Vol. 1
The former World Champion presents nine video lectures dealing with typical ideas and variations, concentrating on the Poisoned Pawn (6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6). Total running time: approx. 2.5 hours.  
Garry Kasparov: How to Play the Najdorf Vol. 2
In 23 lectures on video, he presents the alternative lines which might arise 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 (7…Be7, 7…Nbd7, 7…Qc7, or 7…b5). Total running time: approx. 2.5 hours.  

Garry Kasparov: How to play the Najdorf Vol. 3
In Part three he examines the move 6.Be3, which is today considered the main line in the Najdorf System. The DVD contains more than five hours of first-class private tuition.

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