Reports | June 29, 2013 16:28

Carlsen beats Predojevic with (only) 2.5-1.5

On Saturday Magnus Carlsen won his four-game rapid match in Lillehammer against Borki Predojevic with 2.5-1.5. The world's number one only managed to beat his opponent from Bosnia & Hercegovina once, while the other three games ended in draws. The friendly match was organized by the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Lillehammer and inaugurated the Norwegian Championship which starts on Saturday.

The match started on Friday afternoon with a small, outdoor festival in Lillehammer with music and a big chess set, where Carlsen and Predojevic made a few moves and were interviewed in front of a big audience. The interviewer reminded the players of the game the two played in 2002, which was won by Predojevic, and asked Carlsen why he would win this time.

Back then he was the star, but now I'm the star!"

said Carlsen (with a smile!), who was looking for a final revenge as he only levelled the mutual score in 2006 in Sarajevo, where he won two games 1.5-0.5 at the Bosna tournament in Sarajevo.

The mayor of Lillehammer gave a speech in which he mentioned the special relationship between the two cities Lillehammer and Sarajevo; for example both organized the Olympic Winter Games. And, as it happened, this "battle of Lillehammer" started on a very historic day for the Balkan region. 28th of June was the date of both the historic battle of Kosovo in 1389 and the shots of Sarajevo in 1914 which started World War 1. You can still watch the live broadcast of the first day by Norway's biggest newspaper (and co-sponsor of Carlsen), VG, here.

Below you can replay the four games. As you can see, it was a close affair and so Predojevic did quite a good job. After two fairly balanced games on Saturday, Carlsen managed to grind down his opponent in an ending on Saturday morning. Interestingly, Predojevic then didn't shy away from another ending in the last game, and held that one comfortably as well.

PGN string

Afterwards the players spoke to VG. Carlsen:

In 2002 I lost my game against him. Back then he was the star and I looked up to him. It was good to get a revenge; I did what I had to do and nothing more.


A lot has changed since we played in 2002. He has become the world's best player and he will definitely win the world title. I will root for him.

Carlsen-Predojevic 2013 | Match score


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


SS's picture

Is it just me or increasingly one gets the sense that success is getting to Carlsen's head ?

"Well deserved" was quote when asked about Chess Oscar. I cannot imagine such a statement from Anand.

Anonymous's picture

Didn't Thomas wonder if anyone in the long history of award giving ever had been as arrogant as Carlsen after the "well deserved" comment? Here it is:

Chris's picture

Lasker once said.
There are chessplayers which are playing good but do not know that esimate them.
There are chessplayers which are playing good and know about that, be warn of them.
Carslen is from the 2nd group.

Zeblakop's picture

Lasker said (he knew himself & Alekhine): "I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius: Capablanca!!!"

Kronsteen's picture

Expecting your champions to always be 'umble is a bit much. Maybe Anand would do better if he showed more of the warrior's fighting spirit. (Without the full Kaspy.)

Bronkenstein's picture

Luckily, MC is far from full Kaspy, but I would prefer him bit closer to full Vishy. De gustibus...

Ka's picture

Carlsen - the real champion comes along

Monire's picture

Carlsen is a humble man. He often says things with a smile. You don't get that from just reading about him.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Indeed, the Oscar statement was with a smile, so it's arguably not as bad/arrogant as it sounds. Typically, Oscar speeches are a bit longer - Carlsen could have acknowledged management and sponsors to whom he owes a thing or two!?

"I did what I had to do and nothing more" may also go for a factual statement about his match against Predojevic: winning 2.5-1.5 against such an opponent is nothing to be particularly proud of.

Worst IMO was his statement about the candidates event: "I deserved to win because I played the best chess. I was in full control until round 11. Kramnik only had good opening preparation."
His way to react to a 'narrow escape' in an event where he was hyped as heavy favorite ... .

Anonymous's picture

"Carlsen could have acknowledged management and sponsors to whom he owes a thing or two!?"

And how boring would that have been?

"Worst IMO was his statement about the candidates event"

Where did he say that Kramnik only had good opening preparation? The only thing I found was Carlsen saying that he thought he had played the best chess until round 11, that he was very impressed with Kramnik's comeback, but thought he was a deserving winner.

Chris's picture

It is essence. Kramnik has good opening preparation , it is his main weapon. When it does not work then Kramnik is in troubles i.e last Tal Memorial

Anonymous's picture

"Kramnik has good opening preparation , it is his main weapon. When it does not work then Kramnik is in troubles"

Agreed, but I wonder if Carlsen ever said what Thmoas quoted him as saying, i.e: "Kramnik only had good opening preparation".

Chris's picture

Carlsen did not say it but TO did :).
He presented Kramnik secret.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Even during Tal Memorial, Kramnik's problem wasn't opening preparation: He got comfortable and easy equality in several games with black (one can't expect more at this level), and favorable positions out of the opening - winning or almost against Nakamura - even in the two games he eventually lost with white. And the game against Carlsen, who avoided any preparation, was decided only late in the endgame due to for Kramnik untypical blunders.

In general, just because Carlsen pays less attention to openings doesn't mean that preparation is something to be "ashamed of". Contrary to what some people suggest, it isn't just about memorizing moves but about understanding typical positions, structures and middlegame plans.

As to Carlsen's post-candidates remarks, he didn't literally say "only preparation" about Kramnik, but (around 10:00 in his winner's press conference) something along the lines of "Kramnik was better prepared, but that's not all - I played the better chess". Literally: "If we look at the positions solely from the openings he [Kramnik] would definitely have been a deserved winner" - which implies that, looking at entire games, Kramnik did not deserve to win the candidates.
"I (Carlsen) played the better chess" is at least debatable - he 'forgot' to mention his lost position against Radjabov ... . He also said that Kramnik "had a bit luck in some games" - so did Carlsen who also benefitted from blunders by opponents.

I am at least not the only one who was somewhat offended by Carlsen's post-candidates remarks (and I am not the only one, but evidence for this is in private emails). And I consider Carlsen's post-candidates remarks more inappropriate and arrogant than what he said when he got the Oscar, and after his match against Predojevic. Of course Carlsen fans disagree, at least for some of them their hero can never say anything wrong.

Anonymous's picture

Only a chessplayer could use all this energy on something like this! Hopefully Carlsen would say a lot more interesting and arrogant things in the future! After all - who wants a machine on top!

anonymous's picture

So you admit you made something up and put it in quotations, making it seems as though it was Carlsen's actual words, and then, when you got called on it, you try to justify it by claiming it is what Carlsen was inferring?

This is just low.

anonymous's picture

Also, clearly, Carlsen IS playing better than Kramnik as, at some point, better play is going to translate to better results and better results to a higher rating.

Only an idiot would believe that one player could consistently play worse than another and yet still maintain a higher rating.

Anonymous's picture

LOL Sir Thomas. All these restless efforts because Kramnik deservedly - probably forever - is out of the race for the world title? A player who never qualified for a title match himself shouldn't be too surprised, even though he used to be one of the best and even though he is a former world champion. Btw, everybody looking at the chess performance objectively knows: His overall error rate during the candidates was considerably weaker than Carlsen's. The stronger player deservedly adavanced, and that was a great day for chess.

Hardly all your mocking about Carlsen can be objectively related to his behaviour. He is just a friendly, normal young man with excellent behaviour - yet sometimes with an original sense of humour you obviously don't seem to understand. You're trying to read non-existing meaning in normal conduct. Carlsen should be grateful for all the time and energy you spend on this topic, yet I guess nobody really cares and you know it's all in vain and useless.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Responding to various Anonymouses: Hmmm, what would be the proper technique to paraphrase when you don't remember Carlsen's exact words?

Results from other events and, hence, rating, don't matter in any given single event. Else, there would have been no need to play the candidates event, let's just declare Carlsen the winner. There would be no need for his WCh match against Anand. There was no need for Norway Chess and Tal Memorial.

Carlsen's post-candidates statements certainly weren't humorous but he believed every single word he said - or he had a 'ghostwriter' from his management team who felt the need to glorify a close result that could have gone either way? "Carlsen made less mistakes" may be generally true for the candidates event (even if it seems to neglect the first game against Radjabov), but is chess only about making no mistakes?
In terms of error rate, would Nakamura even be in the top 100??

Anonymous's picture

"Hmmm, what would be the proper technique to paraphrase when you don't remember Carlsen's exact words?"

In your case the technique is usually to make up your own quote as you did here, hoping that someone will believe that Carlsen or his team actually said what you claim that he/they said. It was the same thing when you quoted Carlsen's team as saying that they don't trust Russians and on various other occasions.This is combined with frequent lecturing of others for not quoting correctly if some minor nuance gets lots in an actual (i.e. not made up) quote because the entire context wasn't quoted. Every time someone calls you out on your fake quotes you pretend that you don't know the difference between actual quoting and referring what someone said without pretending to quote them.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Step by step:
"I played the best chess" is already pretty arogant coming from a player himself - Carlsen, or anyone else, should leave such statements to his fans (when it would be meaningless) or to neutral observers (when it would be an opinion, not a fact)?
The combination of "I deserved to win", "I played the best chess" and "Kramnik has the best preparation" DOES basically reduce Kramnik to opening preparation. Therefore, I maintain that I got the meaning right even if I didn't reproduce the exact words. Formally correct quotes, but omitting context to change the meaning, is a different story.

'We don't trust Russians' was actually a combination of 'We only work with people whom we fully trust' and 'We don't work with Russians' - having worked with Nepomniachtchi who was apparently fired as Carlsen's second. So here - while other interpretations are possible - I think mine is a plausible one.

Leo's picture

It follows, then, that it can never be a fact that someone played better chess than others in a given tournament - at least not one that can be credibly argued by anyone. I suppose that's a valid opinion, only it kind of clashes with your drawing all sorts of conclusions based on quotes you haven't got right in the first place ...

Thomas Oliver's picture

Never say never. Of course, Carlsen (while, taking the tournament as a whole, not playing particularly well himself) played better than Kramnik in Tal Memorial.

But for the candidates event, it's just a matter of taste. What was better? Carlsen's flawless chess, which needed tangible help from the opponent to score a full point (in all of his wins but the second one against Gelfand), or Kramnik's more dynamic chess?

And such judgement shouldn't be affected by pre-existing preferences for one or the other player, or by factors beyond the control of the players (Kramnik is "old", Carlsen is young, a Carlsen-Anand WCh match attracts more media attention, ...).
"I wanted Carlsen to win, it was extremely close, now I have to argue that his win was nonetheless fully deserved" is NOT an objective approach.

S3's picture

"Excellent behavior" ? This is a silly subject and a useless discussion but f.t.r. I remind you again that Carlsen is the only player in the top 20 with multiple cheating attempts in his record. F.e. no other current top player has been seen taking back moves while Carlsen did that alone at least 5 times.
Then there is him refusing to shake hands with a girl after a loss, and his purposefully distracting behavior at the board. Last but not least his media power play with insinuations about Russian collusion and non neutrality of Indian organizers. All in all plenty of evidence to refute your claim.

Chris's picture

Kramnik got promising positions out of opening in Candidates but has had no wins from them. He gots positions which needed to be played and there was Kramnik problem. He was unable to play them :)
He played worse then MC. MC was getting playable positions and converts them to points.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Nicely said but in slight conflict with reality: Kramnik got enough wins to be tied with Carlsen in the final standings. Keeping that story alive required follow-up nonsense, namely collusion allegations against other "Soviet" players - as (un)likely as bribery by team Carlsen, given the number of presents he got from his opponents (I don't believe either conspiracy theory).

Leo's picture

"... evidence for this is in private emails", lol.

Peter Doggers's picture

Yes, this was also with a big smile (added that to the text), and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Anonymous's picture

A smile can be a thin veneer for narcissistic arrogance.

Septimus's picture

A stick up the arse can seriously impair the humor center in the brain. Best take it out before serious complications in life arise.

Anonymous's picture

It is pure nordic humor ! Nothing more.

saturnz's picture

yes I agree, I'm all the way in South Africa and even I find his comments to be amusing- could it be that he is parodying Kasparov? In any event, if he said anything else it would be boring or we would find something else to complain about.

Bronkenstein's picture

Not bad, Borki, not bad at all! =)

Anthony Migchels's picture

Martial Law in Lillehammer!

Anonymous's picture

The "major" of Lillehammer probably works as a >mayor< but should be a major Carlsen fan ;-)

Peter Doggers's picture

Hm, not the first time I made that "minor" mistake... wink

Tarjei's picture

A link to the "Now I'm the big star" interview available here:!/video/65861/carlsen-foer-moetet-med-sjakkrival-jeg...

Morley's picture

Predojevic played good chess this match, especially when way down on the clock, stifling Carlsen in rook endings. A fun match, now on to Kramnik-Mamedyarov!

odradek's picture

Nice match by Predojevic. Not bad for an amateur ! Should he decide to play full time, we could expect him in the 2750+.

I'm not too convinced by "Carlsen's humor" after having seen him quite disrespectful towards opponents in post mortems.

Fishy's picture

It's an act. Carlsen is trying to look "confident"

Bronkenstein's picture

An act, ´nordic humor´ or anythign else - compared to, say, Kaspy (´he is just frank...´ - to quote typical attempt to justify GK´s numerous rude/disrespectful ´episodes´), Magnus in fact can be ´defended´ quite easily - if one wants to do so that is =)

odradek's picture

Not so sure about that.

I was shocked by the blitz game MC-Kosteniuk, where MC tried to get away with taking back a losing move. Fortunately for Kosteniuk, it was filmed and she didn't let go. MC didn't even apologize but just got up and walked away.

Let me use a comparison.

Imagine Usain Bolt in his beloved 200m. He is on the point of losing to an unexpected opponent. Imagine he grabs the guy's shirt and pulls him back to win the race.

What do you think would happen ? He would be disqualified, maybe even banned for a while.

And I'm sure fans of his would try to defend him : "that's because he's such a great champion, burning with the desire to win".

Would you find such a defense acceptable ? Would you find acceptable that no apologies are made to the victim ?

Since that episode (I read here that there are more but I don't know them - would appreciate some info, by the way), I have no high opinion about MC. And he makes it worse in interviews and post-mortems. For instance in the press conference of the game he lost to Ivanchuk at the Candidates.

Bronkenstein's picture

Odradek, I thought that my use of ´defend´ (instead of defend) and Kaspy parallel (much worse personality/behavior - but still ´defendable´ and , to my surprise, defended way too often) together with ´...if one wants to =)´ - as I certainly don´t - would be clear enough.

I was talking already, and more than once earlier, about his cheat attempts, misbehaving OTB or on the press conferences - towards players or hosts. But my impression lately, that also should be said, is that he is improving/maturing (unlike his ex-coach ;)

odradek's picture

OK, it seems I have misread your post, Bronkenstein, my apologies.

But I stick to my point. Btw, not sure about his maturing : the pantomime at the press conference at the Candidates prompts to think of someone having difficulties to cope with frustration.

Anon's picture

Where the games from this match? Was it rated, or for fun?

Morley's picture

I'm pretty sure it will be rapid rated.

Anonymous's picture

GM Borki lost, so any match congratulations to him are not in order. LOST. Three draws mean nothing, when the match was LOST.

Anonymous's picture

Checked up on Predojevic, more than six years and no improvement of rating or title. Hey, six years!! Hit the ceiling long ago, what to play for? Can hope only for inflation (after maybe 10 years pass). If wants rating up, good if can play more chess now, while his Carlsen experiences are fresh, otherwise plain wasted. Where are new titles for gms to give them hope that there is something after life??

Anonymous's picture

Predojevic probably plays chess for fun and doesn't care much about the rating. Which might help him to enjoy his life greatly. So why would he be looking for "something after life" ?

Bronkenstein's picture

The ceiling or the ´ceiling´, not easy to say. Amongst other things (mentioned in the interview below) he should be studying economy ATM (unless he graduated, he was on second year back in 2011).
Chess is far from his only focus, and his ambitions ATM could be called modest:
´...To enter top 30 and stay there would require not just my total dedication to chess but also significant additional financial investments. I would like to return to top 100, which should be 2650+ Elo, and to stay there for bit longer time. I would like to graduate, but also to help creating better basis for chess development in Bosnia...´

Taken from


Latest articles