Carlsen reportedly got to work playing chess – a bit faster.
Everyone’s favorite chess champion, 29-year-old Magnus Carlsen of Norway, won the year-long season of his duel with Russian Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion from the 1980s. The next game is scheduled for June 1, with the prize fund for the 2017-18 season estimated at $2.4 million.
Carlsen’s win means he will become world champion for a third time when the playoffs are played, and will win a Champions League-like re-match series starting Sept. 8.
“Magnus makes the tour very exciting,” Kasparov, 61, said afterward. “I felt I was fighting against only one other person.”
It was an uncomplicated win for Carlsen. He lost two games in seven to Kasparov during the season, but Kasparov was tied with him with three other matches still to play.
Kasparov accused Carlsen of throwing the other matches and of “cynically manipulating the results.”
Carlsen denied it.
Kasparov said the pressure of repeatedly meeting with the reigning world champion was enough to cause a mental breakdown. “He was playing much better than us during the whole season,” he said.
This was the first year that world chess has used so-called “tournament points,” and Carlsen won both of his finals by a 4.5-1.5 margin.
A seven-time chess champion himself, Kasparov suggested after the matches that Carlsen was benefiting from the system. Carlsen’s “manipulation of the points will be avoided when the two will go head-to-head,” Kasparov said.
Kasparov, who won the title in 1985, has been vying with Carlsen and makes regular suggestions on chess moves.
The prize for the season is more than double the $1.4 million prize for last year’s tournament, and more than twice the $560,000 winner’s share that Kasparov took home for the 1995 season.
“This season has been one of the most extraordinary of all time,” Carlsen told reporters in London. “I try my best every time to be as sharp as possible … I have no regrets.”
It was the highest-wattage chess action since, before YouTube. The modern world championship is a four-month contest that can be seen live on chess websites, television networks and mobile devices around the world.
Since Kasparov first fought his way back to the top, his popularity has soared thanks to appearances on late-night talk shows and the popularity of his anti-Chess program on YouTube.
Kasparov has accepted the fact that he, and his 1980s victories, are now distant memories. “I can’t change that. Maybe that’s the best way,” he said.
Carlsen said he feels a unique responsibility to the millions of chess fans around the world.
“We have now an opportunity to find the best chess player in the world, the world’s best chess player, and it is Magnus Carlsen,” he said.
Carlsen’s win meant Kasparov had been beaten for only the third time in 12 world title series matches – and the first time since 2001. Kasparov holds the all-time record of 16 wins and 12 losses in the world championship.
This year, Carlsen has lost only nine of 196 games since he ascended to world champion in 2015. Kasparov has lost six of 211 games in the 16-year-old competition.
Carlsen’s pressure-cooker style of play earned him the nickname “dynamite Carlsen.”
During matches, the two men shake hands quickly on the ground, because they have agreed on the score beforehand.
“We’ve been playing chess at that pace all year,” Carlsen said. “The chemistry is good. There are still lots of moments for surprises.”
He is also a worldly champion. Carlsen estimates that he’s traveled more than 1.3 million miles on the chess circuit over the last few years, and has taken on duties as a diplomat at high-level official tournaments, as well as as young representatives of a team of world chess players in tennis, football and other sports.
Carlsen won the Norwegian Chess Olympiad and played in two World Chess Council tours, which compete for prize money at international events, a U.S. Open, a World Cup and the tournament in London where the season-long play took place.
All this despite having been diagnosed with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at age 10, so that his teachers were not allowed to tell him off and others didn’t recognize his obvious talent. He began training at the age of 13 and has never stopped, per his