Reports | April 15, 2014 13:27

Carlsen, From Moscow to Oman

On Sunday World Champion Magnus Carlsen will start playing his first big event since he won the Zurich Chess Challenge in February. Right now he's preparing in Oman, a place where he also spent time just before his world title match last year. Last week the 23-year-old Norwegian was in Moscow where he gave simuls and talked in front of an audience.

On April 8th Carlsen visited the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, where he was interviewed on stage by Tina Kandelaki, a Georgian-born TV host. Below you can watch the full interview.

For chess fans the interview didn't contain many surprises, but some of Carlsen's answeres were quite interesting. For example, he once again stated that he studied Vladimir Kramnik's games when he was young:

“I don't think there was any particular grandmaster of the past or the present that I wanted to model my game after. I think if you try to be like someone then it's hard to be the best – at some point you have to create your own style, your own identity. But one of the players I studied the games of when I was young was Vladimir Kramnik, the strongest Russian player. His play when he was young impressed me quite a bit, when I was little. I think also both for him and for others it would be useful to study the games when he was young.”

Carlsen likes to do other sports (more on that below), and, interestingly, even for his chess career he fears getting injured physically: “One of my first coaches, Simen Agdestein, who is a Norwegian grandmaster and the best Norwegian player for a long time, he was a football player who played for the national team. When he got injured in his knee and had to end his football career he also said that his chess career also went wrong after that, because he didn't have the same energy when he could not play football every day.

I have heard the same about Hungarian grandmaster Peter Leko, who was a world championship finalist some years ago, he also injured his knee playing football. He loved to do sports every day, and once he could not do that he did not have the energy anymore to play chess well. So I think that maybe for me as well to injure something would not be so good.”

After the interview, Carlsen perfomed two simultaneous exhibitions. In the first, against university students and teachers mostly, he scored 10 wins and 3 draws. GM Sergey Shipov was commentator during this simul. Later, Carlsen also played a simul against kids and he won all his games in that one.

Don't miss Maria Emelyanova's big photo gallery at the MIPT website!

On the same day the following video was posted on Carlsen's YouTube channel. It's a game between him and his manager Espen Agdestein, who is a strong FM rated 2372 himself. The two played a fune game at a sponsor meeting for the Norway Chess tournament, where Agdestein got three minutes on the clock, against 30 seconds for Carlsen. See what happened:

But it isn't the latest video on that YouTube channel. Yesterday the one below was posted, in which we see Carlsen preparing for the Gashimov Memorial which starts Sunday. He's having a good time together with his family and his second Peter Heine Nielsen in what looks like quite a nice resort!

Carlsen's accompanying text on his Facebook page was “I’m always getting asked how I train for upcoming tournaments. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to in Oman while training - and relaxing - before the next tournament in Azerbaijan.”

The tough life of a chess player!  :-)

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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.


Anonymous's picture

ah ! after the red bull advertising, we can finally watch the news !!!

Thomas Richter's picture

Eventually Chessvibes/ might even mention the other participants of the Gashimov Memorial.

tester's picture

Surely you didn't miss so the question seems justified: what's wrong with you being so negative?

Thomas Richter's picture

Yes the other participants were mentioned, but the priority of the site seems clear: BIG story about Nakamura, Carlsen stories whenever the opportunity arises - for example when he goes on holidays and calls this preparation for a chess event because it includes a random chaotic blitz game. Fine with me, though more than a little bit unbalanced.

celso's picture

Please, do not commit suicide! We need you!

Anonymous's picture

Thomas Richter would never commit suicide. He wouldn't be around to hear himself talk if he did.

Anonymous's picture

@TR - It's probably because Magnus is the champ !!!

Tarjei's picture

Thomas, like it or not, you have to start realizing that Carlsen and Nakamura may be the the two players that generate the most interest in chess.

Magnus Carlsen because he is the World Champion and #1 for many years and because he is the person he is, and because many people find it interesting to know how he prepares for tournaments. If other top players had the same presence on social media as Magnus Carlsen sharing photos and videos (and partly Nakamura), they would benefit from that too.

The interview with Nakamura was a great piece by Mr. Doggers and although I'm sure he would like to conduct interviews with other top players, he's

And I'm guessing the interest in these stories are many times higher than an article about, say the Woman GP? As this is basically a one-man-show, it totally makes sense to focus on what people actually want to read.

Why not start your own site, Thomas? Could be interesting.

Anon's picture

Speak for yourself. I would rather have more coverage of Women GP or other "side" events.

Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. No one has to agree but personal attacks as they abound here against TR are no way to deal with that.

Anonymous's picture

Anon, we are all TIRED of thomas non sense when it comes to Magnus ! no intellectual honesty, he is just jumping all around like a mad man as soon as the name of CARLSEN is whispered ... It almost became a clinic case ... So, i guess, we don't attack thomas, but only try to find a way for himself to cure himself ... The result will be a bit of fresh air too on this blog ! Because everytime i see Magnus i see Thomas :)

Anonymous's picture

"Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion."

Only those deprived of any sense of logic, and incapable of following the thread of a discussion, are "entitled" to their opinion.

Anonymous's picture

Being a long time chess and twitter fan I'm curious if Tarjei is employed or compensated for his work by Carlsen or Agdestein.
Kudos for his chess reporting, usually quite fresh, but unfortunately a bit monomatic.

Anonymous's picture

Well Peter has to pay the bills too.

JRC's picture

A bit too much nagging Thomas. Can't wait until you start your own site and show us how it is done.

jimknopf's picture

Thomas, you often write good chess related stuff. But your entertainment phobia together with your Carlsen/Nakamura allergies are really a bit out of balance, to put it mild.

If chess - which really doesn't solve ANY human problem, but is just smart, beautiful, interesting and entertaining - were nothing but serious work, boring people and dry comments, it would be stone dead since decades.

So before the high court of 'homo ludens' humanity might sentence you to write the little word FUN 200 times at a blackboard, just take a breath, enjoy and smile :-) If Gashimov's short life can remind us of something, it may be that life is just too short to be unhappy for small and secondary reasons.

Then you can still give us a hint at the fascinating and entertaining apsects of other players at the Gashimov memorial, to discuss these as well besides Carlsen and Nakamura.

Andreas's picture

+1, very nice, very true

grandma's picture


SO true, jimknopf! :-)

Mohit Sharma's picture

I agree with Thomas. Chess is a pastime, but it is interesting in itself. Carlsen definitely gets plum treatment on this website. Good journalistic practice encourages a fair coverage of all players. Market can not be GOD, if one makes all decisions based on market/profit/loss, humanity will become one dimensional. As for starting one's own website (chessbase has more eclectic chess news) Thomas can decide on it. But, this comments section is not just for praising the authors.

Morley's picture

The other players in the Gashimov Memorial don't tend to post to Youtube channels, get big (and unique) sponsors (except for maybe Karjakin), etc. Nakamura and Carlsen just do more to raise their visibility, while the other players seem content to prepare and live in private.

Anonymous's picture

I was sure this article would draw your indignation and wasn't disappointed :)

RS's picture

I can see the rationale behind mentioning Calrsen over others. Put Carlsen in the title of a story and the site gets millions (OK thousands) of hits and a large number of comments. Helps them with the advertisers who pay these sites.

Put real chess such as a tournament report and what they get? See for yourselves.

Anonymous's picture

Some people are delusional and some are obsessive, but it is rare to find someone who is obsessive about his delusions.

Dirk849312476's picture

"Eventually Chessvibes/ might even mention the other participants of the Gashimov Memorial."

The article was about Carlsen, not the Gashimov.

That being said, I can't find the schedule and/or website for the Gashimov. Do they hide from Google? Anyone know?

Anonymous's picture

"what's wrong with you being so negative?"

As soon as he sees Carlsen named somewhere he just sees red :)

chessman's picture

Yes make a big celebrity man out of Carlsen!
That's always good because he will always be shown as a CHESS PLAYER which is good for chess popularity!

Anonymous's picture

Funny but he is trowing with the pieces all the time. And that s not allowed. You have to replace them in your own time.

AAR's picture

Peter Heine Nielsen "Traitor"

RG13's picture

Have you ever left an employer to make more money elsewhere?

Anonymous's picture

hey thomas ! 50 million people can't be wrong ...

awfulhangover's picture

Yes, too much fuss about Magnus Carlsen. And too many books in libraries.

Thomas Richter's picture

This all started when Anonymous wrote "I like Carlsen much more than Nakamura" (that's how I interpret the very first comment in this thread), and I replied along the lines of "I like other players, and chess in general". BTW I considered posting as Anonymous when it might not have received as many reactions.

Maybe Carlsen and Nakamura are [Tarjei] "the two players that generate the most interest in chess" at least in the western world - for sure they generate interest in themselves. In Carlsen's case because he is #1 (but the hype around him started much earlier), in Nakamura's case partly because he is often provocative, including nonsense such as "I am the only threat to Carlsen" - thereby trying to benefit from Carlsen's popularity. There is also some sort of positive feedback loop: media presence creates more media presence (Chessvibes and Chessbase as well as various mainstream media competing with each other!?), and this makes people believe that they are far more popular than other chess players. Whether this is good for chess in general, I doubt it - organizers feel compelled to always invite one or both of them, which automatically means less spots for other players.

If we need western chess heroes, I would hope that players with more pleasant personalities (e.g. Vachier-Lagrave and/or Giri) make it into the absolute world top - Caruana is a bit dull (IMO like Carlsen if stripped of the hype). BTW Carlsen and Nakamura aren't the only ones active on social media: for example Aronian also posted holiday photos - but referring to them as holiday photos, not as "preparation for a supertournament". And if he did play blitz with his girl-friend, it wasn't filmed on video.

As an amateur with a regular job, I don't have time to put up a personal site - but I do contribute to two German sites ( and I did cover Wijk aan Zee this year with press access, and actually rather liked it that Carlsen was absent and Nakamura didn't play a major role to put it mildly - making it easier to focus on the entire event (except during the day of Kasparov's press conference).

Kasperian's picture

Spot on about the hype and about Maxim and Giri. Maxim's press conferences are always a treat to watch. Hope he will stabilize in top-10 soon and get more invitations to super-tourneys.

Anonymous's picture

Some people are delusional and some are obsessive, but it is rare to find someone who is obsessive about his delusions. For no reason in particular, I though I would mention that.

Huy's picture

Again; you can't blame Magnus nor Nakamura for the rest of the world being so, according to you, dumb, in focussing only on them. You lash out at the wrong target. You should direct your nonsense at the media.

jimknopf's picture

Both the articles about Nakamura and Carlsen were interesting and entertaining to me, and I hope to see more of that kind on this site and elsewhere.

I'm interested in fascinating reports, chess related as well as generally life related, of other players as well. I'm interested in them as persons, not just as deliverers of chess games.

One thing I'm really not interested in too much, is dry chess analysis just for the sake of it, stripped of the tensions of human competition and of the smart, beautiful, interesting and entertaining context of everyday chess life with all its feelings(!), besides the brain factor - not to forget the pure fun factor of blitzing, rapid and great Super-GM battles - as I mentioned above.

So it is obvious that people commenting here have different horizons and expectations, and this site is doing fine for me just like Chessbase and others.

Thomas Richter's picture

Thanks jimknopf for your balanced comments. To make one thing clear: I also like such reports and interviews once in a while (in that respect, your interpretation is wrong), to my taste it's just a bit too much on two players - and as Carlsen has a Youtube channell, people can also go there, no real need to embed every single video here?

For Carlsen, there seems to be a perceived need to have something about him whenever (remotely) possible. Chessbase was actually worse, to name two examples: 1) their candidates preview starting with six photos of Carlsen who didn't participate, 2) a recent report on the Dubai Open featuring a complicated engine variation accompanied by "only Houdini and Carlsen can play like this". Huh? Carlsen makes near-perfect moves (also) because he steers clear from complications, and other world-top players can also play like Houdini every now and then (e.g. Aronian's -Qc4!! in the candidates against Karjakin).

For Nakamura, two other Chessvibes/ stories [here I do suspect major influence] were annoying to me: 1) the final report on the London rapid full of hyperbolic praise for Hikaru, 2) a story claiming that he should have gotten the candidates wildcard - one argument being that a relative (not even an absolute) majority on a poll voted for him.

Huy's picture

Again, you can't fault Carlsen for the press to be interested in him. What is wrong with you? Something is obviously wrong with you. A dysfunctional brain perhaps?

Anonymous's picture

Well, if I recall correctly the guy has said numerous times that he can't prove that Team Carlsen is monitoring the chess message boards to abuse neutral posters like him and S3 so they are stopped from telling the truth :)

Anonymous's picture

Of the first 30 post 3 are about Carlsen but 20+ are filled with attacks and talk about tomas. With tarjei linked to Carlsen i can understand tomas' point of view. Critics are driven off by Carlsen fans and associates. Maybe it's time you all grew up.

beloved usurer (loan shark)'s picture

It looks as if this Kandelaki woman is a conceited fool and the interpreter is surprisingly inept. Poor Magnus!

RS's picture

Breaking News - The guy at the end of the video isn't Carlsen. There are girls around.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen's idea to change the rule on stalement is good....we should also change the chess rule on "three time repetition=draw".

observer's picture


Carlsen's comment was very interesting. Effectively what he is saying is that it would no longer be so certain that the starting position is a draw.
And that would have to be good for chess; and help extend the life of the game.

Short, and now Carlsen - the idea is gaining traction. The sooner this stupid stalemate rule is got rid of, the better.

Anonymous's picture

First, it was Morozevich, some five years ago.
I also love this idea, it naturally fits with the idea of chess, while the current stalemate rule is quite artificial.

observer's picture

Completely agree.

Tartakover also decried "the drawing injustice of chess".
Do you know of any other top players who have suggested getting rid of this rule?

anonymous's picture

" I don't have time to put up a personal site"
Well you could certainly do a basic blog. Do a wordcount on your posts on this article: approximately equal to the article itself.

observer's picture

"I don't have time to put up a personal site".
Thomas would easily have time if he put his time into that instead of the time he spends trying to dominate this and other blogs.

He could then enjoy his visitor fan base of 1 (the troll who posts as S3/Anon/Anonymous and whatever other handles he posts as to give the impression that there are people who agree with what he trolls), not have to put up with the very considerable and justified criticism he gets here; and we would be rid of him and would actually be able to have rational discussions.

So everybody would be happy.
Is that not a great solution?

Anonymous's picture

Observer, grow up. You don't know anything about Thomas, S3, or any of the other visitors of this site. Be a bit more open to other opinions and take Thomas as an example for he's not the one making insults. Good luck!

observer's picture

Oh, hello S3.

Huy's picture

We actually know a lot about Thomas: he gets up in the morning, he showers, gets breakfeast, gets dressed, leaves home for work, locks the door behind him, he work a little, has lunch. He nurtures certain ideas about the the world, he hates Magnus, he shouts his hatred for Magnus on every possible opportunity, he gets home from work, he masturbates, he has dinner, he undresses, he gets to be, he sleeps etc.

What excactly do you mean by "know nothing about Thomas"?


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