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The inside lane – on Magnus Carlsen

Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen, whose job it is to second Carlsen (a change of job from seconding Anand until Feb 2013) during events, with the exception of the – for him – conflict-of-interest match in Chennai, has written a short portrait of Carlsen in the Danish Federations magazine, Skakbladet.  There are a few passages I thought you guys would find interesting, so I am quoting randomly:

I seconded him for the first time in the 2005 World Cup. It was probably a surprise for everyone excluding Carlsen that he would get a big breakthrough. At least, I had book my flight so I could make it back to play in the Bundesliga the following weekend. But as a 14-year-old he was already ready to fight the world elite and qualified as the youngest ever to the Candidates Tournament.

This was my first experience of the Carlsen family’s approach to chess. The aim was constantly positive curiosity. I was banned from in any way pushing him to prepare or to in any way give him the impression that it was an important tournament.

The fun based approach came to the extreme in connection with the cooperation with Kasparov. After a few good training sessions the cooperation stopped, when Magnus was given homework!

He is a very independently thinking World Champion, who is not scared of going against cemented dogmas. World Championship matches have long been fought with deep opening analysis and lots of seconds, but Carlsen won the title with only fellow Norwegian Jon Ludvig Hammer helping him via Skype. Even Fischer had a bigger machine assisting him!

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  1. garryk
    February 17th, 2014 at 15:48 | #1

    The real problem with Magnus was that he was too fond of blitz and I adviced him against this. And he probably didn’t like that I was crushing him.

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