As the victor in the recent Candidates’ tournament, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen won the right to challenge world champion Viswanathan Anand of India for the title this November. Carlsen has become a world celebrity. Only 22 years old, he possesses the highest chess rating in history. Recently he was listed in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and named by Cosmopolitan magazine as No. 5 on its list of sexiest men in the world. He is reserved and affable and has made a handsome living at chess, in modeling men’s clothes, and in other commercial activities. Carlsen has recently been interviewed on the “Charlie Rose” show. Some of his more memorable remarks included the observation that he has not thought that losing is a natural part of the game.
Carlsen will be favored to defeat Anand, but the result is by no means clear. The match is to be a short one, only 12 games, and one or two blunders could be decisive. Anand, a very even-tempered and popular man, has been one of the great speed players of the world, and a capable champion. Following bad performances in a number of 2012 tournaments, he vowed to play a lot more in 2013 to keep in trim playing shape. Recently, in the Alekhine Memorial, he placed third behind winners Levon Aronian of Armenia and Boris Gelfand of Israel. Carlsen’s success is attributed to a style which accedes to slightly inferior opening play in order to get his opponents out of prepared variations. It seems clear that this method works for him and his conversation with Rose indicated no change in his approach.