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A Norwegian chess hero...

When Norway’s Magnus Carlsen was nine years old, he trashed his father at a game chess. Seven years later, the 16-year-old chess talent is playing against the heavyweights of the chess world.

Magnus, who became interested in chess at the age of five, became the world’s youngest chess grandmaster in 2004. Today, this largely self-taught chess enthusiast is ranked 17th in the world by the World Chess Federation, and travels all over the globe to participate in international tournaments.

“The main goal is to become world champion. I’m not sure whether I’ll manage it within the next ten years or not, but I’ll be very happy whenever I do,” says the young but extremely well-spoken player from Lommedalen, just outside Oslo.

Magnus becomes very serious when he talks about what is needed to compete at world level. “Harmony in how the pieces are positioned is often vital to a successful match - each game has to have an aesthetic element,” he explains. “It’s getting harder and harder to come up with something new, and it’s rare to think of a new and revolutionary concept. It’s important to remember previous games.”

Norway's top chess player, Magnus Carslen. Photo: Henrik Carslen.

Although Magnus seems much older than his age when talking about the importance of positional harmony and aesthetic play, he is in many ways just like most teenagers. He plays football, listens to music, hangs out with friends and likes computer games. However, perhaps surprisingly is that this young strategic powerhouse is not too keen on mathematics at school. “Maths is what I like least. I have been reading chess literature in English for years now, and English is my best subject at school,” he says.

In addition to being Norway’s best chess player, Magnus has a unique talent for geography. He was identified as having an almost photographic memory when, as a five-year old, he demonstrated his ability to name almost all the capital cities in the world.

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Magnus CarlsenPhoto:  Sasa Dimitrijevic

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