Magnus Carlsen: His career at 28

by Johannes Fischer
11/30/2018 – Today, on November 30th, 2018, Magnus Carlsen celebrates his 28th birthday, carefree, as World Champion, after successfully defending his title two days earlier in a match against Fabiano Caruana by a 3-0 win in the rapid tiebreak. Carlsen is already considered one of the best players of all time, but a few numbers show how impressive his career has been, and provide a handy gateway into the ChessBase archives. | Pictured: Magnus Carlsen in the ChessBase office in October 2017 | Photo: Nadja Wittman

Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen

Let endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller show and explain the finesses of the world champions. Although they had different styles each and every one of them played the endgame exceptionally well, so take the opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best endgames in the history of chess.


Highlights of a chess career

Magnus Carlsen was born on November 30th, 1990 in Tonsberg, Norway, as the second child of Henrik and Sigrun Carlsen. He learned to play chess at the age of five and shows serious interest in chess at age nine. Soon he is rushing from success to success, year after year... 

1999 Carlsen plays his first chess tournament.
2000 Carlsen becomes Norwegian champion Under-11.
2001 10-year-old Carlsen participates in the European Team Championship for the Norwegian club Asker SK in September.
2002 Carlsen is second in the World Youth Under-12.
2003 In August, Carlsen is awarded the IM title.
2004 From January to April Carlsen gets three GM norms and becomes grandmaster at the age of 13, 4 months and 27 days — behind Sergey Karjakin he was the second youngest grandmaster of all time.
2005 Carlsen is tenth in the World Cup and qualifies for the 2007 Candidates Tournament.
2006 Together with Alexander Motylev, Carlsen wins the B tournament in Wijk aan Zee.
2007 Carlsen wins in Biel and comes to the semi-finals of the World Cup, where he is eliminated by Gata Kamsky.
2008 Carlsen wins the A tournament in Wijk aan Zee with Levon Aronian. During the Chess Masters in Bilbao in September, he is ranked #1 on the unofficial live world rankings for five days.
2009 Carlsen starts working with Garry Kasparov. In October, Carlsen wins the tournament in Nanjing with 8 out of 10, 2½ points ahead of Veselin Topalov, earning an Elo performance of 3002.
2010 Carlsen is the official number 1 in the world for the first time in January. In March 2010 he ends his collaboration with Kasparov.
2011 In July, Carlsen finally establishes himself as the world's number 1 and has been leading the world ranking list ever since.
2012 At the world blitz and rapid championships in July, Carlsen finishes in second place in both tournaments.
2013 Carlsen wins the Candidates Tournament, played in March, ahead of Vladimir Kramnik. Decisive was the tiebreak of the larger number of games won. In November 2013, Carlsen beats Viswanathan Anand to become 16th undisputed World Champion in chess history.
2014 In May, Carlsen arrives at an Elo rating of 2882 points — the highest Elo rating a human has ever achieved. In June, he wins the World Championship in rapid chess and the World Championship in blitz chess and is thus World Champion in classical, rapid and blitz simultaneously. In November, he defends his title in classical chess in the rematch against Vishy Anand.
2015 In October, Carlsen defends his title as World Rapid Chess Champion, but at the Blitz World Championship he lands "only" in sixth place.
2016 Carlsen defends his world title against Sergey Karjakin. After 12 classical games, Carlsen wins the rapid tiebreak on November 30th, his 26th birthday, 3-1.
2017 In December, Carlsen again becomes World Champion in blitz chess.
2018 In January, Carlsen wins the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee after a tiebreak against Anish Giri. It's Carlsen's sixth win in Wijk aan Zee, and no other player has won this tournament as many times. In November 2018, Carlsen defended his world title in the World Championship match against Fabiano Caruana by a 3-0 victory in the rapid tiebreak after all twelve classical games were drawn. In the Elo list of December 2018 Carlsen remains number one at 2835, but only three points ahead of Caruana.

Carlsen has also provided a boost to the profile of chess worldwide, but especially in his native Norway, where a chess boom has seen millions of people follow his World Championship bouts against Anand, Karjakin and Caruana. Carlsen has worked as a model for the fashion brand G-Star and also appeared in advertising for other companies like Porsche. And in 2016 the documentary 'Magnus' was released, describing Carlsen's career up until he won the 2013 World Championship title.

Concentration | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Carlsen attaches great importance to physical fitness and is known to fight to the end in almost all his games. He likes to forego theoretical duels to instead strive for a playable position in which he can put the opponent under pressure in the middlegame and endgame. In so doing, Carlsen has already changed modern chess — even though he is only 28 years old.

Happy Birthday!

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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