November 22, 2013 15:16

Magnus Carlsen World Champion of Chess- UPDATE: VIDEO

Magnus Carlsen won the 2013 World Chess Championship in Chennai, India on Friday. The 10th and last game of the match ended in a draw, and so the final score is 6.5-3.5 in favour of the Norwegian, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday in eight days from now.

Carlsen celebrated his victory in the hotel's swimming pool | Photo courtesy of the Magnus Carlsen Facebook page

Le roi est mort, vive le roi! Magnus Carlsen is the new World Champion of chess, and follows Viswanathan Anand's reign as undisputed world champion between 2007 and 2013. From the traditional lineage of chess players who won or defended the crown in a match, Carlsen is the 16th champion after Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, José Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosjan, Boris Spassky, Robert Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. If we include FIDE World Champions Alexander Khalifman, Ruslam Ponomariov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Veselin Topalov, Carlsen is the 20th Champion of the game.


Although Anand still had a theoretical chance to level the match by winning three games in a row, most fans and pundits agreed that the match was basically over after game 9, and most journalists in the press room expected a short draw. Instead, the last game would be one of the longest in the match.

Photo: Paul Truong

Carlsen again started with 1.e4, and this time Anand replied with 1...c5, the move many expected him to play in his previous black game. White's 3.Bb5+ was also to be expected, as it's arguably the best way to get a solid edge against the Sicilian. "I was just trying to play solidly in the opening. I'm pretty happy with what I got; a very solid position, no weaknesses," said Carlsen at the press conference.

On move 21, when Anand repeated moves once, the game seemed to be ending soon but then it became clear that even in this situation, where he needed just a draw to win the highest title, Carlsen stayed true to his style and fighting spirit: he didn't repeat moves, but played on. Carlsen, with a big smile: "As the game went on he started to drift a bit and then I thought, as long is there is no risk I should try and win it."

And then Anand suddenly made a big mistake. He played a strange queen move, and the computer enginges were blinking: White had a big advantage! Would Carlsen win even this game?

But no, the Norwegian was human after all, missed his chance, and although he kept an advantage in a knight ending, he eventually had to settle for a draw. Carlsen: "When I took on d6 I missed something simple. I thought I was just winning. If I had known that this move wasn't so good I would have taken some more time perhaps found a better move and put even more pressure so... I mean that wasn't terribly impressive but anyway, it doesn't feel very important now."

"At some point after the time control the variations were simply getting too complicated so I decidede to shut it down and force a draw. I think it was a nice fight and a worthy end to the match."

The spectators immediately started applauding both players, and Anand also congratulated Carlsen with the title. Right after they signed the score sheets, they got a different pen and also signed the chess board. Anand left the stage first, and Carlsen, after looking at the audience briefly, also walked away, with his notation form in his hands and a big grin on his face.

At the press conference, Anand was given the microphone first. Some questions would be directed to him and then he was allowed to leave. About the last game, he said: "I think today was a kind of microcosm of the match. I was just trying to keep playing and then at some point started to make mistakes. I simply blundered ...Qg5. I saw the same tactic for ...Qc5 and I just put the queen on g5 instead and the same e5 happened."

Anand reflected on the match as follows: "It's clear that he dominated. At the start of the match I thought my chances depended on my ability to last long games without making a lot of mistakes. This year I had a lot of problems with mistakes creeping into my play. I kind of tried to pay some attention to that. In the end it was in vain because the way I lost the fifth game is exactly the way I thought I could not afford to lose. I mean, just a fine position in the opening, then slowly slip and so on. The fifth game was a heavy blow because I really hoped to not be afraid of him in long games but simply to try and match him, but this was not to be. After that it just got kind of worse and worse. Yesterday at least was nice game, today again... I guess when it rains, it pours."

"Anyway, I think it's fair enough to just congratulate him. My mistakes didn't happen by themselves, clearly he managed to provoke them, and full credit to him."

"At the end of the day my play in the match was a big disappointment. I didn't manage to achieve any of the things I tried to aim for."

The author of these lines asked: Is there anything you regret off the board, in terms of opening choices, or otherwise? Anand replied:

"I had a feeling this match would really be about execution. I could have any strategy I wanted but executing it actually... holding at the board, seeing it through was really what it's about. I tried to pay a lot of attention to that. This year really in tournaments so many things have gone wrong that I felt that would be the crucial area. There's no point having a plan and... But as you can see in the end, that's what I started to do anyway. Of course game 5 was the real low point for me. After that at least you can say I was depressed but before game 5 nothing had really happened yet. So I would say I managed not to either understand him or understand me, I'm not sure even which. I was simply not able to execute my strategy."

Anand addressed the question whether he will be playing in the 2014 Candidates Tournament as follows: "I assume I'll play the Candidates but you're going much too fast. I'll first take some rest and then I'll take it from there."

Carlsen started on the same topic: "Vishy has been the world champion for so long, one of the greatest of all time. I'm honored to have played the match with him and of course very, very happy to have gotten the better of him. I really hope he'll be back in the Candidates."

Anand then left the press conference, and Magnus applauded for him, together with the journalists. (It was nice to see Hans-Walter Schmitt, long-time team member of Anand, grabbing his chance to congratulate Magnus with a firm handshake and it was easy to see that Magnus appreciated that very much.)

Carlsen was then asked the sports question of all sports questions: How does it feel? "It feels good. It's been tough, both here and in London. I've been treated very well here in Norway. I've been made feel very comfortable and in general at some point I started to settle in and got the match into playing to my strength, towards the end. I think it's been a great event and I'm really honored and happy to have won it."

Interestingly, Carlsen still did not want to reveal who were his seconds. He mentioned Jon Ludvig Hammer, and thanked him and others ("very grateful") but he didn't give more details.

Looking back at the match, Carlsen added: "As he explained himself he knew there were going to be fighting games. Basically game 4 gave me a very good feeling. I thought it was a really good fighting game and although I didn't manage to win it I felt that I seized the initiative in the match and that he was just as nervous and vulnerable as I was." (Smile)

"In games 3 and 4 I could sense that he was vulnerable as well. From that moment on I settled in and I just stopped worrying about the occasion and just started playing chess as I usually do and that worked out pretty well."

"In the first and third games I was a little bit too nervous and perhaps not quite ready for this big occasion. After games 3 and 4 I realized I don't really have to do things differently from what I used to do and that was the turning point."

To Carlsen, yours truly asked: It seems Vishy was not at his very best; he was nervous, he made one big blunder and some other big mistakes in the endings. To what extent do you think you were responsible for it, for bringing him into those situations?

Carlsen: "I would like to take some responsibility for his mistakes (smile), that's for sure. It's been that way for me for a long time, I just play and... People just crack under pressure, even in World Championships. That's what the history shows, you just have to keep on pushing and eventually usually things go right. Obviously the blunders that he made, each of them are of course unusual in the sense that those aren't mistakes he usually makes but I think it really has to do with being put under pressure. That's really all I wanted to do in this match, make him sit at the board and play for a long time."

Not long after the press conference, Carlsen and is team went to the hotel's swimming pool, closely followed many Norwegian journalists, photographers and other friends. Members of his team threw Magnus in the water, with his clothes on. As he stood up, and the drops of water fell down his face, Carlsen looked happier than ever.

Carlsen won the match 6.5-3.5, with seven draws, three wins and no losses, in the best of 12-series held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chennai, India. The Norwegian won his biggest prize purse of 1.53 million dollars while Anand will receive 1.02 million dollars for this match. The match was organised by the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association and sponsored by the Tamil Nadu Government with a budget of Rs.29 Crores. A closing ceremony will most likely be held on Monday.

World Championship 2013


Photographers taking photos of the players who are still in the rest area
And just before the game, Carlsen looks observes...
...another scrimmage on the other side of the glass
Carlsen opens 1.e4 again...
...and Anand replies with the Sicilian
Another long game - the press waits impatiently...
...and so do the mics
A dive in the pool for Carlsen... | Photo courtesy of the Magnus Carlsen Facebook page
...celebrating his "last big title" | Photo: Mads Nyborg Stostad/NRK


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


GeneM's picture

Match games 4,5, and 9 were interesting. Plus game 6 was decisive.
Curious to see whether Anand continues to play much competitive chess. After being at the top, some players lose interest in just playing after their prime years are over. Anand has had a long and stellar career, and he is old by competitive standards now, with plenty of money and young family.
Kramnik is younger than Anand, and still wants to fight Carlsen for the WCChamp title. I doubt Carlsen would go 3-0 in decisive games against Kramnik.
Can Nakamura, Caruana, or another new face end up being to Carlsen who Karpov was to Kasparov? Karpov made Kasparov legacy greater than it otherwise could have been. Carlsen needs a challenger of Karpov caliber and prestige.

Chess Fan's picture

Congratulations to World Champion Magnus Carlsen.
I feel so sad for Anand. He has been a great player and a great human being, and with so much of expectations, this must be devastating to him. He gave his best in this tournament and his best was not enough. Let us all show class and keep our comments civil, please.

frenchfries's picture

kudos to GM Carlsen (our New WCC) & GM Anand, see you nex year guys... I love watching you games :) big Chess FAN :)

Alvaro Frota's picture

Carlsen will be the World Champion for decades!

Paul Newman's picture

Forget decades, lets see how many years he retain the championship.

black hawk's picture

Habemus Rex! Long Live King Magnus!

kuk's picture

habemus regem! (to be correct)
Eheu, accipiter niger!

Chris's picture

Congratulations to MC.

...and Tania Sachdev :)

Chess Fan's picture

When Tania Sachdev was trying not to giggle, but laughed in a controlled way (possible) seeing Magnus almost reclining over in thinking, I thought that the whole situation was cute :-)

Thor's picture

I'm indeed the strongest chess player in the world. I can crush my opponents and their pieces with my hammer. I can also control lightning. Thank for your support, and I look forward to defending my title soon.



Yves's picture

Well deserved !


Anonymous's picture

The last 50 years we now have four truly great players: Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov and Carlsen.

rus's picture

Amazing how people still under-respect Kramnik even though he had convincingly demolished Kasparov.

Ricitos's picture

I think the problem is that Kramnik never dominated chess the same way the other four did. He simply does not belong up there with them.

Anonymous's picture

Smyslow, Petrosian, Spasski didn't dominate, and most other world champions had at least some comparable guys next to them, even when dominating the "lower" peers.

Kramnik may not have dominated resultswise but he has contributed so much to chess, that Anand once said in an interview (I think it was with Tchakiev and covered here on CV) that most of the leading GM just follow his ideas.

Thomas Richter's picture

Amazing that people use the opportunity to talk badly about Kramnik who didn't even play a role in the match (or was he Anand's secret second, seems just a rumor spread by - among others - Chessvibes?).

This was the second WCh match where the Berlin played an important role - besides maybe very early ones when the opening was played rather differently. Even Kasparov stated (maybe a few years late) that credit for this has to go to, first and foremost, Kramnik.

Anonymous's picture

It isn't to talk badly about Kramnik to rank him below Kasparov and Fischer, it's just common sense.

Thomas Richter's picture

So what? What's the point in saying so? At least Kramnik and Anand are well ahead of many other players, and not (even if our resident Elo 1400 expert Eadon says so) on equal terms with thousand others. You may consider them less dominant or 'worthy' than some of the now 16 undisputed world champions, you may put a few strong players who never became world champion (Tarrasch, Keres, Korchnoi, ...) on their level, in the end you may come up with 50-100 names at most.

Anonymous's picture

The point is that when someone ranks Kasparov and Fischer as the greatest players there will always be some whining idiots bringing up Kramnik and complaining about him not being rankd ahead of them. He was a great player but not black caviar like for example Kaspy, Fischer and Carlsen.

observer's picture

Wow, what a hyper-sensitive reaction from Thomas when Kramnik wasn't even criticised.

Puts the lie to Thomas' claim that he doesn't worship Kramnik. He just provided us with all the evidence needed that that is exactly what he does do.
Own goal, Thomas.

Thomas Richter's picture

Ricitos has a point that my reaction "technically" doesn't belong in this thread - I was also responding to Eadon who elsewhere wrote that "a thousand players" are like Kramnik. Really? Over a span of hundred years, the top 100 per decade have achieved as much as Kramnik or Anand??

Another question is whether Carlsen - continuously number 1 for about 2 1/2 years, with a significant gap (arbitrarily defined as 30 points) for 1 year, world champion for a few days - is already one of the 'greatest ever' chess players. I would wait about a decade before making such statements.

Anonymous's picture

If Carlsen was World Champion for 50 years, your answer would still be "No, he plays like an amateur".

Mountebank's picture

The best beluga is not black, but gray or charcoal.

Eadon's picture

Is Anand really up there with the pioneers of the game, such as Tarrasch, Keres, Korchnoi? Anand got his vast team of helpers to provide him with opening prep. This is why I say that Anand is not in the same class as the greats of chess, the famous names. That Anand was outclassed by Carlsen, a mere 22 year old, on his home ground, and very nearly outclassed by Gelfand before that shows that Anand was not one of the Greats. He was merely one of the best players of his day.

calvin amari's picture

Vishy was an off-the-charts genius with talent galore. Later, he become added being a consumate professional mastering the methods and tools of his era better than anyone else. We are now in a new era, however, characterized by a chamption with even more talent and new and unique methods that will influence and advance the game.

Anonymous's picture

Fischer may well be the greatest player ever. Kasparov also was one of the greatest, but I think his excellent results cann be accounted (without any slighting) to him developing a real different way to approach chess, namely the deep computer aided preparation of highly tactical and dynamic openings, the very thing now condemned by everybody. And he was very successful because there was so much to discover at that time. His contemporaries, in particular Karpov, only slowly catched up with that development (except Anand, who might be/ have been the best computer user).

dave p's picture

Won't argue with you on rating Fischer above Kasparov (though ever so slightly in my opinion). But Kasparov's brilliance is surely more than openings. I'm a Nakamura fan, but what he said about Kasparov is utter mindless bull and you seem to be repeating it. Computers didn't help Kasparov with all those brilliant middle game attacks!

Anonymous's picture

I think you misunderstood me. Kasparov is a great player, maybe the best ever in dynamical chess. It is the extreme dominance which I try to explain with him really taking a different approach and "reinventing" chess, such as Steinitz, Nimzovich, Botwinnik. I have witnessed the great K&K matches and he (and Karpov) are really something special in chess history.

Martin's picture

Yes, it really surprises me that Karopv picked up the use of computer so slow. But on the other hand, maby his style didnt benefit that much from computeranalysis (at that time) as Kasparovs more tactical approach?

Anonymous's picture

+1 Thomas!

Ricitos's picture

The conversation went a little like this:

A: Carlsen is one of the all time greatest, together with F, Kasp & Karp.

B: People underestimate Kramnik

C: Kramik has never dominated chess the way the other four has.

Nobody said a bad word about Kramnik. Only that he is not among the four greatest players ever.

Anonymous's picture

Kramnik doesn't dominate Carlsen, that's clear.

However, it is more precise to say that he is very unsteady. In some tournaments he just blasts apart everybody and then in the next he finishes last. This amounts to a rating still close to 2800 (unbelievably strong but nowadays this is overshadowed by the even higher rating of Carlsen) but cannot be considered as domination.

However, apart from the results, he may well be the most influential player of modern times, ahead of even Kaspy, because everybody plays his ideas, his openings. The Catalan, the King's Indian, the Berlin, the Petroff, the Slav/Semi-Slav, there is almost no opening where he has not contributed important ideas. He has even single-handedly popularized some of them.

Anonymous's picture

Also, with the Black pieces, Kramnik plays not to lose...a great disservice to Super GM chess.

leo's picture

It's pretty common practice to "play not to lose" with Black, unless circumstances force you to do otherwise; Kramnik is certainly no different in that respect from any other GM in the world. It's only natural that the second player has to neutralize the White initiative first. Of course, it is possible to take great risks, but it rarely pays off in elite games. To call a safe approach a "disservice to super GM chess" is just not accurate. It would seem that Carlsen, for instance often ends up playing for a win as Black, but that's not because he risked a lot in the opening, it's because he excels at exploiting minute inaccuracies from his opponents once he did neutralize their openings.

Anonymous's picture

That would have been even more convincing if he had won the qualifying match against Shirov, instead of losing it...

Anonymous's picture

He won convincingly against Kasparov, that's the only important thing. In the old days, the WC selected the challenger as he liked and we still call them legitimate, as long as they prevailed against the champ.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, that system was legitimate up until the middle of the 1930s. It was another thing in 1998-2000 when Shirov beat Kramnik in Candidates but Kramnik still got the match. He can still comfort himself with repeating in every interview that Carlsen being first on the rating list has nothing to do with chess though.

Anonymous's picture

I disagree. In these times, it was more or less Kasparov's show, FIDE not being involved at all. And still we consider these champs as the legitimate and not the FIDE champs, simply because they were the best. And to all the "Kasparov was weakened" persons. Kramnik is dealing with a painful and chronical illness for years (which explains his unsteady form) but still overall performs greatly. What is the best about Kramnik, however, are his endless deep and creative ideas and novelties, bringing back into life whole systems while pushing others into oblivion. And that has nothing to do with sitting in front of a computer and just remembering moves!

Per's picture

M. Carlsen has said that one of two he 'fears' is Kramnik. Does not remember the other name. Maybe he is from the US.

voyteck's picture

As far as I can remember he was talking about the gap in ratings between Carlsen and the rest not about Carlsen being number one. And Magnus said pretty much the same: it's more about consistency than real difference in strength (when in form).

Anonymous's picture

Excellent point...and he beat a weakened Kasparov (due to personal issues) not reported in the press.

PircAlert's picture

We don't believe in exhibition point/tournament domination. Those are duck worth champions.

Anonymous's picture

Well done Magnus! World Champion. The best in the world has his crown.

Are you enjoying this Thomas and S3 and all the Carlsen haters? :) Hahahahahahahaha!!!!

Alvaro Frota's picture

The chess world has a new Champion and some people are still playing hooligan-chess... What a stupidity!

Anonymous's picture


Not stupidity at all!

Thomas and S3 and all those haters have been nasty towards Magnus on so many occasions I've lost count. They deserve all the venom they get from Magnus fans. It's pay back and it serves them right! They will still hate, but Magnus has won the war and he is the rightful king of chess!

Congratulations Magnus!

Anonymous's picture

Yes, the cockroaches will never get over this

Anonymous's picture

Well, the only war where the "general" and the "troops" are not in the same army and do not even fight the same battle. Only the fact that the "general" doesn't even care for the "troops" is well known in history :-)

Axel's picture

I don’t think Thomas has been nasty in his comments. Maybe he isn’t strictly objective and he might get triggered by some of these “Magnus is the greatest player of all times” comments, but he isn’t nasty and even tries to give credit where credit is due.
The whole discussion about best player in history seems a tiny bit futile. There is no reliable way to compare players from different times. It all boiles down to personal taste.
I also wonder why people use this opportunity to bash Kramnik.

Anonymous's picture

That's it Alvaro! We have a new undisputed World Champion but the haters keep bashing him... Poor losers

Mallik's picture

Start of a new era :) Congratulations Magnus.


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