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Carlsen disappointed

Do you think less of Magnus Carlsen after his emotional outburst at the World Blitz Championship?

A few days ago I had a discussion with a friend on Skype about Carlsen’s swearing and throwing of a pen during the World Blitz Championship. The best way to bring my point across is to give a slightly edited version of the conversation. After this, vote on the poll please…

“Before I let you go. What is your opinion of Carlsen loudly exclaiming “baen” in the middle of the tournament hall after losing to Grischuk?”

“It is great. I think he said “faen”, which is short for “for fanden”, “done on behalf of the devil” or simply “the devil’s work”. It might be spelled differently in Norwegian, but essentially it is Danish.”

“But very vulgar, right? Google translate and chess.com mistranslated it to f***.”

“Not really no. In English it is “damn.” But either way: do you want the sexlessness of tennis players? Or Tiger Woods? They are like Ken; and the blonde tennis girls are like Barbie. They always talk so nicely about everything and everyone, while it is common knowledge they all hate each other. Because the sponsors want to avoid negative PR. F*** that!”

“Good point.”

“Give me a sport with some emotion please. I love Nakamura, because he is like John McEnroe, clearly a bit full of himself, but brings attention to the sport and cares deeply about it – and is fun to watch. His feuds with Carlsen are entertaining. And Carlsen’s feuds with Kramnik are entertaining. Kramnik and Carlsen get along fine, though they both enjoy some banter…”

Last week’s poll results:


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  1. The Lurker
    October 19th, 2015 at 17:15 | #1

    It’s nothing compared to Nimzovitsch saying “Why must I lose to this idiot?” in reference to Saemisch. Or Alekhine throwing his king as a way of resigning to Gruenfeld.

  2. Bryan
    October 19th, 2015 at 17:25 | #2

    I think emotion is fine… as long as:
    – it is self-directed (not threatening or insulting of opponent)
    – the opponents shake hands (opponents respect each other, even if they are annoyed by their own play)
    – it is not during the game (just distracting and unsporting if a big scene is made while the game is underway)

    So, accordingly, I think Carlsen’s actions were ok.

  3. Daniel
    October 19th, 2015 at 17:42 | #3

    Some people have accused him of being an android or cyborg so maybe it’s an attempt to get them to realize he’s not, and at the same time it shows the human side of all chess players.

  4. Hilmi M
    October 19th, 2015 at 19:25 | #4

    you guys are kidding me, while games were going on, you were throwing a pen, and say it s O.K.?
    he is not respectful to his opponents at this video. just shake the hands and left the room, do what other else you like outside the playing hall.

  5. Soviet School
    October 19th, 2015 at 19:58 | #5

    Chess is very emotional just as much as any physical sport with little chance to burn off the adrenaline, so I understand Carlsen completely.

    Personally I would rather not shake hands before or after the game as to me that injects an air of formality and seriousness to the game. I would find it would keep the game friendlier to just play

  6. Raul
    October 20th, 2015 at 08:23 | #6

    I wouldn’t actively promote it, but I find it acceptable still. And it’s certainly interesting to see.
    The pen throwing is close to the limit, though. Swearing (if it’s not directed at someone else) I have less problems with.

    @Himli: I’m fairly sure that in the first two instances in the video Carlsen’s game was the last one to end on stage, so he was not really disturbing other players. In the third instance with other players around he does not make any noise.

  7. Lars
    October 20th, 2015 at 09:09 | #7

    Carlsen went too far but it only shows that he cares deeply, which I appreciate. I recall that he also was in a foul mood after his loss to Hammer:


  8. Jacob Aagaard
    October 20th, 2015 at 09:23 | #8

    There were other instances where he was not the only one, but also seemed to be controlling himself a tad more (though not fully).

  9. Reini
    October 20th, 2015 at 09:59 | #9

    Damn, I can’t stop watching Chucky delivering mate 😉

  10. Capodoglio
    October 20th, 2015 at 10:08 | #10

    It’s on the limit, but still okish I guess.
    To be honest it looked like some reactions were made for show.
    Or maybe he isn’t used to lose after the last 5 years total domination, I kind of like it, gives more flavor to the man.

  11. Capodoglio
    October 20th, 2015 at 10:17 | #11

    Reini :
    Damn, I can’t stop watching Chucky delivering mate

    Actually I find more disrespectful Ivanchuk behavior, not only in this instance (or a couple of days before in the rapids), but when skipping press conferences after a loss or addressing the opponent.

    But we always forgive the geniuses, especially when they can produce gems at the board like the players we’re talking about!

  12. James
    October 20th, 2015 at 10:18 | #12

    In my opinion he showed a lack of class and professionalism. Would you ever see the likes of: Kramnik, Anand or Gelfand behaving like that? I think not. I don’t like the implied suggestion that being respectful, and having good manners, is somehow perceived as being robotic or emotionless.

  13. Jacob Aagaard
    October 20th, 2015 at 10:24 | #13

    Ivanchuk is clearly not “normal”, though he is perfectly polite and pleasant in my personal experience. The social sphere of life is just a bit different with him.

    I enjoy Kramnik, but honestly, his behaviour has been absolutely awful in many instances. I like a sport where the emotions are not hidden away because of sponsors, as said. But with Kramnik and the way he speaks about his opponents I sometimes feel awkward. He looks a bit like Federer with the guard down…

  14. JB
    October 20th, 2015 at 10:31 | #14

    Seems quite tame to me. No big deal… maybe quick reprimand from the tournament referee would have been appropriate if it had really been the f— word.

  15. Kirsch
    October 20th, 2015 at 11:06 | #15

    like him more now…

  16. Andre
    October 20th, 2015 at 12:25 | #16

    What I dislike much more than such a short outburst about his own – in his eyes – incompetent play is a certain habit imported from other sports over the last two decades: After a game both players shake hands and then at least one of them stops all social interaction with the other, as if he doesn’t exist. I find this cold and impolite. NBA basketball players do the same, for example.

  17. neiman
    October 20th, 2015 at 18:47 | #17

    I think that many people are a bit harsh with Carlsen : he does not seat right, does not behave right after a loss…
    I don’t think that he is a gentleman -far from that !- but he is correct, till now. We should not ask him for more – Anand with his exquisite manners was an exception among WCC.

  18. Kristensen
    October 20th, 2015 at 23:45 | #18

    I think he could have behaved himself a bit better, but it does not alter how I look upon him as a person.

  19. Paul E Chess
    October 22nd, 2015 at 03:18 | #19

    No, I don’t think any less of him. His outburst was mild and those who don’t understand it don’t understand how much one invests into a game emotionally.

  20. Boki
    October 22nd, 2015 at 07:37 | #20

    Come on, he is 24 years old he is young enough to show emotions

  21. October 22nd, 2015 at 09:32 | #21

    I really wonder what the deal is? That he was annoyed losing? Ofcourse he did.
    That he said “damn” wow!!

    If you don’t get emotional you don’t have fun. If you don’t have fun you are not normal

    Blitz is all about that. Its fun. its fast. its emotional

  22. Jacob Aagaard
    October 22nd, 2015 at 12:13 | #22

    @Kostas Oreopoulos
    I am not sure he looked like he was having fun 🙂

  23. Andre
    October 22nd, 2015 at 13:17 | #23

    But Chucky looked like he had fun. Isn’t it perfectly okay to please 50% of the participants? 😉

  24. Fred
    October 22nd, 2015 at 18:41 | #24

    Leave him alone, thats authentic and I feel kind of sad for him. I saw a lot of reactions of people after a lost game. Remember myself going back to my Hotel room kicking a chair around :-). Not meant to offend the opponent but I felt offended for myself and the position, anybody loosing completely won games and the resulting self-hate knows what I am talking about. Do we really need a camera around all the time? It happens from time to time. He will emerge as a stronger person from that experience – if he overcomes that and accepts own failure he will be a even stronger player. Guess Grishchuk and Ivanchuk understood perfectly and did not feel offended.

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