Carlsen: "You cannot second-guess your intuition"

by ChessBase
2/5/2019 – Magnus Carlsen has published a guest post for the website of American business magazine Forbes about his own chess career and the positive effects of learning chess on children and adolescents in general. Chess helps to master other tasks of life, Carlsen is convinced. | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen

Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.


Magnus Carlsen at

Although Magnus Carlsen learned chess early, it was not "love at first sight". Only the rivalry with his older sister, Ellen, who was initially a stronger player, made him engage intensively with the game and finally surpass her. The rest, as they say, is history. Well, almost...

Magnus and his appAs the World Champion writes in Forbes Magazine, his early engagement with the demands of playing chess helped him in many other aspects of life. At a young age, playing chess has taught him to concentrate on a task for a long time, to find solutions to problems, to develop and pursue active strategies or simply to sit still.

The profound ancient game with its simple checkered board and 32 pieces is a potential antidote to "fractured attention, indecisiveness and a shortage of grit and discipline brought on by too much screen time".

Carlsen refers in his article to numerous studies that support his own personal experience. Children who receive chess lessons at school also perform better in other subjects.

Chess, of course, works well even on the computer. It is necessary to modernise the way chess is learned a in order to reach the children of today, argues the Norwegian, referring to his company Play Magnus, which develops training apps (for children and adults) on mobile devices.

Nevertheless, the experience of a real-life game of chess is irreplaceable, says the World Champion:

"The excitement of playing a game of chess over a physical board — feeling the tension as your opponent sits two feet in front of you, studying your every move — cannot be beaten. Yet nothing would make me sadder than losing the essential benefits of chess because of a righteous refusal to adapt to change. It runs counter to the ethos of the game. Chess is about remaining nimble, taking your cues from your opponent and revising your strategy in order to win."

Article at

Post on Magnus Carlsen's Facebook page


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