Carlsen at the 2016 Chess Olympiad
|Full name||Sven Magnus Ã˜en Carlsen|
30 November 1990 |
TÃ¸nsberg, Vestfold, Norway
|FIDE rating||2840 (January 2017)|
|Peak rating||2882 (May 2014)|
|Ranking||No. 1 (July 2016)|
|Peak ranking||No. 1 (January 2010)|
Some people think that if their opponent plays a beautiful game, it's okay to lose. I don't. You have to be merciless.
I spend hours playing chess because I find it so much fun. The day it stops being fun is the day I give up.
I honestly don't read that much. Obviously I read chess books – in terms of favorites, Kasparov's 'My Great Predecessors' is pretty good.
Chess only appeals to quite a small minority. It does not have the cachet of a mainstream popular sport.
It's nice to be financially secure. Apart from that, I really don't care too much about money.
If you want to get to the top, there's always the risk that it will isolate you from other people.
It's easy for me to get along with chess players. Even though we are all very different, we have chess in common.
One of the things that first attracted me to chess is that it brings you into contact with intelligent, civilized people – men of the stature of Garry Kasparov, the former world champion, who was my part-time coach.
I enjoy hiking and skiing, like most Norwegians. In winter, there will be snow for months on end. In the summer, there are the long evenings to enjoy.
I don't look at computers as opponents. For me it is much more interesting to beat humans.
I get more upset at losing at other things than chess. I always get upset when I lose at Monopoly.
Maybe if I didn't have the talent in chess I'd find the talent in something else. The only thing I know is that I have talent in chess, and I'm satisfied with that.
I've never been much of a computer guy at least in terms of playing with computers. Actually until I was about 11 I didn't use a computer for preparing for games at all. I was playing a bit online, was using the chess club mainly. Now, obviously, the computer is an important tool for me preparing for my games.
Once you're a chess player, you spend a lot of time thinking about the game and you can't get it completely out of your head.
I started by just sitting by the chessboard exploring things. I didn't even have books at first, and I just played by myself. I learnt a lot from that, and I feel that it is a big reason why I now have a good intuitive understanding of chess.
I got the travel bug when I was quite young. My parents took me and my sisters out of school and we travelled all over Europe. It was an eye-opening experience and, although I love Norway, I also enjoy visiting new countries. I don't get homesick.
Without the element of enjoyment, it is not worth trying to excel at anything.
My father, a fine chess player himself, has been a massive influence throughout my life.
Right now I'm really happy with how things are going with my chess career, so I'm not thinking of doing anything else.
I was lucky enough to attend schools where they were understanding about when I needed to go abroad to play chess. Of course, socially it is important to go to school and interact with people your own age.