Carlsen interview after the match

by Sagar Shah
11/28/2014 – A lot of people enjoyed our report on the closing ceremony of the World Championship in Sochi. Immediately after the celebrations, which were attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, FIDE's chief press officer, the enchanting Anastasiya Karlovich, sat down for a one-on-one interview with the new and old World Champion Magnus Carlsen. We have a full transcript.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Magnus Carlsen's post match interview

We reported extensively on the closing ceremony of the World Championship in Sochi recently. It was attended by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it brought the news that FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was planning to stage the next match, the World Championship 2016, in the United States of America – without any details at the time of this announcement (our bets are Sinquefield and Saint Louis).

After the closing ceremony chief FIDE press officer Anastasiya Karlovich, who had conducted all the post-game interviews with the players during the entire Championship, conducted a one-on-one interview with Magnus Carlsen. You can watch the 14-minute discussion in the live stream below – once again we urge you to maximize the video player and watch the interview in gorgeous full-screen mode. We have also transcribed it for your convenience.

Anastasia Karlovich: This is the first time you had to defend the world title. After this tense match and struggle is the title more valuable to you?

Magnus Carlsen: Yes, everything that is hard-earned you appreciate more, and this match certainly was not easy.

AK: You wrote on twitter, ‘two down, five to go’. Does this mean that you would like to break the record of Garry Kasparov and would you like to be the greatest World Champion in the history of chess?

MC: I would like to continue playing chess at a high level, and that includes playing in the World Championships.

AK: What about the titles of rapid and blitz? Are you going to defend them again and what do they mean to you?

MC: It meant a lot to me to win these titles. It was a huge goal for me. Attaining those titles next year will be a major goal, but it’s far from easy, I can say that. With most of the strongest grandmasters in the world and with the Swiss format, coming out on top every time is very, very difficult.

Magnus flashing his award-winning smile on a Twitter message after the match

AK: You work less than your colleagues and at the same time you are the World Champion. Does that mean you are a genius or you were born under the lucky star?

I don’t know, I think I am certainly more talented than many other people. But I don’t know what talent consists of. It’s not true that I don’t work on chess much. I think about chess all the time, and before the match and during the match we spent a lot of time preparing different openings.

Many people think that you are lucky, that your opponents commit mistakes. Do you think this is some part of you being lucky?

No, that is a myth. When you put pressure on your opponents they tend to make mistakes. Sometimes in some tournament they make more mistakes, sometimes less. But it has nothing to do with luck.

Let’s talk a bit about the match from your perspective. Were you in good shape for the match this time or not really?

I felt really good for the first couple of games, but somehow after the third game I got a bit nervous. It was important for me to have two white games in a row. Then I managed to settle down a bit, and with a little more luck I could have decided the match then. In general I felt that I was in okay shape. A couple of games were not so great, but in general it was good.

You mentioned the third game in the match. Was it really a hard blow for you?

Yeah, before that I thought that I was dominating in the match, not in terms of openings but the way I played. So, yes, the third game was an awakening for me. At that point I realized that it was not going to be easy for me.

Did you change something in your preparation after that, or in your attitude?

I started to at least realise that there will be a struggle, and that helped me to have a better attitude towards the next games.

What did Anand and his team do differently compared to the Chennai match?

They played 1.d4 on move one, and I don’t know if it was because of that but they managed to put more pressure on me when I had the black pieces. Last time I had playable positions with both colours. This time, apart from the first game, I didn’t get to play with black at all. I just had to defend, and then it is much more difficult.

Some experts say that the opening preparation of Anand was better than yours in both the matches. Do you agree with this?

In general Anand is better prepared than I am, and that has been for many years. Even though we try our best it’s difficult to close the gap.

Was there any moment in the match where you felt that you might lose it. Or what was your toughest moment in the match?

I never thought about losing the match. I don’t think that is the right way to think. But of course if he would have played Nxe5 in game six, it would have been a different match. I don’t know if the outcome would have been different, but it would have been a much more difficult match.

In a press conference you mentioned that you would be happy to close the match with two draws in the last two rounds. Don’t you think your fans would be disappointed with six draws in a row, the last decisive game being game six?

Yes, but after all in the World Championship you have to think about the result. It was nice to finish off with a win, that’s for sure. In such a situation you will always take whatever brings you a win in the match.

Were you disappointed after game nine considering your tweet? [Referring to the draw in 20 moves and under an hour]

Anand was well prepared with the black pieces. So it was not a shocker that in one of the games I would have to shut it down after the opening. It wasn’t my finest hour, clearly, but I thought after the opening I had to make an objective evaluation of the position and I didn’t think that I had much to play for and I decided to shut it down.

Why did you feel so disappointed?

I did not feel so disappointed. I wasn’t very happy about it, but when you are up in the match you are not too disappointed with a draw.

It’s true, but it just doesn’t fit your style.

Yes, but it was just one game. In the rest of the match, none of them were short draws. It happens to me also that you have to just shut it down and you cannot do much.

Did you want to play more aggressively in the next games after that?

Yes, I wanted to play more interesting chess in the next games, definitely.

Which players were helping you in the match? We saw on the Internet that Garry Kasparov was supporting you with tweets. Did he give you any special advice for this tournament?

Yes, I was in touch with Garry before the match, and during the match he was regularly in contact with Peter Heine to give advice.

And who else?

Peter Heine was here, and Jon Ludvig. Laurent Fressinet and Michael Adams were helping from home.

What about Michael Adams. Why did you choose him and what exactly could he contribute?

He has a little bit of a different approach than the others. He is been one of the very top players himself. He adds a human perspective.

And the fact that he played many games with Anand?

Yes sure! He knows Anand quite well, and that doesn’t hurt.

Can you give names of players who might be your opponents in the future, maybe in two years?

I think the most obvious candidates are Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk.

What exactly changed in your personal life since the match of Chennai 2013?

I don’t think too much has changed. Even before that I was a professional chess player. I am doing many of the same things that I was doing before the match.

What about your popularity in Norway after the match in Chennai?

Yes there was a surge in popularity, a surge of interest in me as well as in chess, which I appreciate.

Click here to see the quality of the video stream in full size

Is it easy for you to walk down the street with all the people recognizing you. In a previous interview you said it was not a problem. What about now?

It depends. Sometimes a lot of people recognize me. Most of the times they have positive messages, so it’s not a problem.

There is news that you moved from your parents and live in a separate house. Is it true?

Yes, that happened before the last match.

How do you manage your life? Do you cook? Do you go to the restaurants? How do you arrange things?

Yes, sometimes I cook, but I live in the city so there are places to eat everywhere.

What can take your attention away so much at this moment that you would watch a program on television or a sport for a few hours and cannot do anything else?

(puzzled) Anything.

My final question. Suppose you meet an eccentric millionaire who tells you that he is ready to give you fifty million dollars, but with only one condition: that you cannot play chess anymore. Would you take fifty million?

Obviously not. Money has never been my motivation in chess. It is nice to make a living, but apart from that: no.

Any special price that you would agree to?


So apparently there is no special price in the world that can take away Magnus' right to play chess!

Final score

Replay all the games of the match

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games


The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server with full GM commentary. If you are not a member of Playchess get instant access, but you can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to log on.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register