Announcement | February 19, 2012 1:02

Carlsen to appear in 60 Minutes

Carlsen to appear in CBS' 60 Minutes

On Sunday Magnus Carlsen will appear in the CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes. We received a press release from CBS which includes a preview video.



It may seem a polite game of quiet wit, but chess grandmasters are really out for blood. The number-one chess player in the world, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, tells Bob Simon that he especially enjoys making his opponent suffer in a game that is downright war. Simon profiles the 21-yr-old chess prodigy on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Feb. 19 (7:00-8:00 PM) on the CBS Television Network.

What could be more satisfying than playing chess brilliantly? For Carlsen, it doesn’t get much better. The results of brilliant play on an opponent can provide even more fun, however. “I enjoy it when I see my opponent…really suffering. When he knows I have outsmarted him,” Carlsen says with a wicked grin. 

That’s what often happens to the opponents of the game’s number-one player. They get outsmarted and they get taken down. But Carlsen occasionally loses a game himself. “If I lose just one game…I just really want to get revenge,” he tells Simon.

Carlsen is the superstar of the game, a status he demonstrates for 60 MINUTES cameras by playing 10 expert players at once, without ever looking at the boards.  It’s a status he has been working on since he was a child. When he was 13 years old, he drew with Garry Kasparov, the Russian many consider the best player ever. Kasparov wasn’t happy. It could have been different says Carlsen, if he hadn’t been intimidated during the game of speed chess.  “When I actually got to a winning position, I had little time, I was nervous and I couldn’t finish him off,” says Carlsen, whose prize for this feat was an ice cream at McDonald’s.

Nowadays, as the world’s top player, Carlsen gets more than ice cream for his efforts. Though the prize money in chess is not enormous, add to that the money he makes for endorsements and modeling, and he’s making about $1.5 million a year.

As a warm-up for Sunday’s story about this grandmaster, 60 MINUTES’ webcast, 60MinutesOvertime, will feature Mike Wallace’s 1972 report on Bobby Fischer, America’s greatest chess grandmaster, who died in 2008.  60MinutesOvertime features originally-produced content and archival material about the subjects and characters in 60 MINUTES stories and the reporters who work on them.


The segment with Carlsen, which includes some footage shot by our friend Macauley Peterson, will be available to be streamed online after 12 am ET / 5 am GMT / 6 am CET, Monday, Feb 20. The links will be (where the segment will be accompanied by a print version of the story, extra web clips, and a feature from our web show 60 Minutes Overtime) and

CBS also made available a clip from April 1972, when Mike Wallace profiled 29-year-old Bobby Fischer, who was training for his match against Boris Spassky.


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.


The Devil's picture

Really going to enjoy that 60 minutes interview with Carlsen. Also, that is the first time i've seen that footage of Fischer and i"ve looked all around the internet for original footage of him, so that was quite pleasant as well. Thanks alot.

columbo's picture

mr devil, you are not well informed, those videos are EVERYWHERE !

Anonymous's picture

So sad that Carlsen tries to imitate Fischer. But let me tell you sth, young man:
I played with Bobby Fischer, I knew Bobby Fischer. Bobby Fischer was a friend of mine. Young lad, you're no Bobby Fischer.

Michel83's picture

Uhm, I'm not a Carlsen-fan, but how is he trying to imitate Bobby Fischer? Do you have any statement by him or any clue in the article supporting your claim?

All I see is that the company broadcasting the Interview decided to show a documentary about Fischer as "warm-up". One can dislike Carlsen (who to me always came over like a nice guy) and yes, he's good at marketing, but those silly comparisions (as in "he's the new genius and will dominate chess just like Fischer did!") are not his fault.

Bobby Fischer was no Carlsen (have you played with him, do you know him, are you a friend?) either by the way. That's because they are different people...

The Devil's picture

You came to this conclusion that Carlsen tries to imitate Bobby Fischer just because they both like to defeat their opponents ego at the board? That doesn't have to take imitation! Carlsen is the best of the best in this day, you can't be on top by imitating others.

S3's picture

I'm just guessing here but maybe he is not only referring to that but also to chickening out of world championship cycles and/or (using) the myth of being from a backward chess country.

By the way: why do Fischer and Carlsen fans always perceive and share their heros as nice guys while both Carlsen and Fischer 1)said they like to see people suffer and 2) distract or even try to cheat on their opponents? (same as Kasparov btw).

Michel83's picture

Didn't I write I'm not his fan? And also he's not my hero. But you know, not loving Carlsen doesn't mean hating him (besides it just being chess, feelings as strong as "love" or "hate" would be a bit silly here).
To me, "seeing them suffer" refers to the chessboard only and sounds rather tongue-in-cheek; and after all, there is a fight of "domination" on a chessboard.
And based on the interviews I saw he seems like a nice person, yes. Not that either of us know him in person anyway. If you're impression is different that's fine, but please do not pretend I'm blind or a "fan" because I feel that way. People having different opinions or judging things (e.g. the "cheating") differently than you doesn't automatically makes them wrong, it just makes them...not you. ;)

Anyway...have a good day. And: Good to see some chess in the medias.

P.S.: In case you wonder: I follow Ivanchuckianism. ;)

S3's picture

My mistake, apologies. But the point is still valid, I don't understand why many people seem to ignore misbehavior (Fischer, Kasparov, Carlsen) and state the opposite just because of them being great players.

Michel83's picture

No offense taken.

I understand your point and sometimes feel the same about other players, I just seem to judge Carlsen's behaviour differently than you. And also I'm simply not that unsettled by those things in chess (except when it's racism, sexism or such).

Let's wait for the Interview. :)

redivivo's picture

I don't know how Carlsen is supposed to be using the same myth as Fischer did of being from a backward chess country, but USA won four Chess Olympiads the decade before Fischer was born, and Chessmetrics has both Fine and Reshevsky in the top three the first years of the 1940s. In 1974 USA didn't need Fischer to win a medal in the Olympiad. It was and is a country with a great chess tradition (Morphy, Pillsbury, Marshall, Reshevsky, Fine, etc).

Norway has never been a strong chess country. The first time they participated they finished last and the starts after that they were second to last. The first Olympiad in Carlsen's lifetime they finished 37th (while USA took the silver), and the last time they were outside the top 50 with Carlsen in the team. So it's hard to compare USA and Norway as chess countries.

lefier's picture

I did not play with Bobby Fischer, I did not know Bobby Fischer. Bobby Fischer was a not friend of mine. Old lad, you're no coinnasseur of either Carlsen or Fischer.

iLane's picture

Dude, Bobby Fischer had no friends. Sad, but that's why he died alone...

Javier's picture

Ha, ha, ha, ha. They didn´t get the joke! He´s repeating this quote : ""Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." It was spoken by Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Senator Dan Quayle during the 1988 vice-presidential debate.

Anonymous's picture

Thank God, finally somebody who got the joke!!! For a moment I thought that chess players are one-dimensional type of persons with no knowledge of politics or history, interested only in chess and nothing else. Hopefully, not only nerdy types are chess fans.

The Devil's picture

Not everyone lives in the USA. As if it was so obvious that everyone was supposed to get the reference. Your "joke" wasn't much of a joke.

Anonymous's picture

Touchy, touchy, touchy

Chess Fan's picture

I was wondering also why people did not get the joke, and then realized that I am too from N.America!

anonymous's picture

The comparison is only apt in this sense ... while other top players might be thinking rude things about crushing their opponents or liking to see them suffer, Fischer and Carlsen both displayed the requisite immaturity to actually make those sentiments public. Fischer had much less excuse since he was still expressing such sentiments at a much later age whereas Carlsen seems to have improved.

TomTom's picture

Anand should retire.

Chess Fan's picture

I think Anand is a better judge of it than you are.
I asked Anand directly about it, and he feels that he still "got game" (my words, not his) and he has no plans of retiring in the near future.
Maybe if someone is able to beat him in a World Championship match, your suggestion may be a little more reasonable.

Anonymous's picture

Fischer and Carlsen were/are both sadistic over the chessboard. Too funny. It's not a universal trait. In fact, I think most of the top players don't have this quality.

stevefraser's picture

I just saw the Carlsen interview on 60 minutes. Excellent, for someone not schooled in dealing with the press. He came across as very likeable and pleasant. An excellent representative for chess, if our sport ever wants to move beyond the fanatics, obessives and shut-ins.

Chess Fan's picture

I am waiting for the CBS 60 minutes to appear - for people like me, keep checking on for it to be posted.

Rama G's picture

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