We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Magnus Carlsen, an amazing player

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John W. Eyster
Saturday, November 23, 2013

Who is Magnus Carlsen?

Do YOU know? Don't use Google or any other search.

I confess, I did NOT know who MAGNUS CARLSEN until Monday morning, the 11th of November 2013 when the World Chess Championship Match started in Chennai, India. As usual, I watched the Norwegian Broadcasting's “Dagsrevy” – the daily TV news review from the night before. I learned that NORWEGIAN MAGNUS CARLSEN would be playing the 5 time WORLD CHAMPION VISWANATHAN ANAND of India with the opening ceremony to be on Monday, November 11, 2013.

I learned that it would be a MAJOR WORLD EVENT with streaming available so the matches could be watched live with commentary as well as later with podcasts. I became aware of FIDE (Fédération internationale des échecs or World Chess Foundation) which has gradually become the world chess group having evolved since 1914 as players were trying to gain world-wide credibility. I enourage you to tread Wikipedia's article, “FIDE,” to gain information and perspective. TODAY FIDE is THE world organization for CHESS. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized FIDE, but to date CHESS is NOT one of the games in the Olympics.

Rather, FIDE has developed the “Chess Olympiad” which is now held every 2 years since 1950. The next Chess Olympiad will be in 2014 in Tromso, Norway. GOOD LOCATION considering the fact that the WORLD CHESS CHAMPION is a native of NORWAY. That location was set years ago. In fact, one can project that the Chess Olympiad in 2016 will be in Baku, Azerbaijan. If you want to learn more about the Chess Olympiad 0 again I suggest you turn to Wikipedia.

Let me tell you, since Monday, November 11, 2013 I have learned about a whole new “world” – the WORLD of CHESS! Amazing!! I have also learned about MAGNUS CARLSEN! He is an AMAZING person!

If you want to get acquainted with Magnus Carlsen, I suggest you start by watching “60 Minutes” segment, “Mozart of Chess: Magnus Carlsen,” from February 20, 2012. After watching that TV segment, I suggest you gain an overview by reading Wikipedia's article, “Magnus Carlsen.”

Just think: Magnus became a chess grandmaster at the age of 13, 148 days in 2004 making him the second youngest chess grandmaster in history. And then on January 1, 2010, at the age of 19 years, 32 days, he became the youngest chess player in world history to be ranked world #1. Now, just yesterday (November 22) he became the 16th undisputed WORLD CHESS CHAMPION.

If you want to watch videos showing MAGNUS and his family and friends celebrating his win, use this link to the article, "Mistet mobilen i vannet - faar ikke svart Kongen" (English:  "Lost his cell phone in the water - not able to respond to the King") and you will see several pictures which are linked to videos.  ALL OF THIS IS IN NORWEGIAN!  You can, however, FEEL the celebration and MAGNUS exuberant personality!  ENJOY!

For readers who do not speak Norwegian, I checked on some ENGLISH sources reporting on MAGNUS CARLSEN, I suggest the following:

--BBC News Europe, "Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen is new chess champion."

--Chess.com has an extensive report with both an article and videos, "Magnus Carlsen World Champion of Chess - UPDATE:  VIDEO."

--The Guardian (UK news source) added a special spin with its title, "Magnus Carlsen made chess look sexy - now he's world champion."

If you are a chess enthusiast, you will want to go to the website for the World Chess Championship tournament. Which just ended. You will find everything you wanted to know, but didn't dare ask about WORLD CHESS! ENJOY!

This morning, reading The New York Times, I read the FIRST NEWSPAPER report I've seen during the whole WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT about the event with the title, “Norwegian, 22, Takes World Chess Title,” by Dulan Loeb McClain.

The article reported, “Magnus Carlsen, the 22-year-old Norwegian who has been the most dominant chess player since 2010, finally broke through on Friday to win the game's most important title, the world championship, for the first time.”

The article continues, “He defeated Viswanathan Anand, 43, of India, the titleholder since 2007, and he did not lose a game in the best-of-12 series, which was held in Anand's hometown, Chennai. Carlsen so dominated the match, that it lasted only 10 games, with Carlsen winning three and the others ending in draws.” YEAH, MAGNUS! The reports have noted that this was the “shortest” world chess tournament in decades.

Dulan notes American BOBBY FISCHER's WORLD CHAMPION title, “The championship has long been dominated by players from Russia and, before that, the Soviet Union. Carlsen is only the second player from the West to become champion since World War II, and the first since Bobby Fischer, the eccentric American who held the title from 1972 to 1975.”

I appreciated that the article provided more information about Magnus outside his “chess life, “He is frequently featured in magazines that do not cater to chess players, and is a favorite of television interviewers. He is also a model for the clothing company G-Star Raw.”

Magnus goes home to NORWAY with his wallet filled, “For his victory, Carlsen will receive 60 percent of the roughly $2.5 million prize which organizes the championship, would not be more specific.”

I heard daily via “Dagsrevy” about the HUGE AUDIENCE watching Magnus play chess on TV. The article notes, “Norway is not known for its chess players, and the championship match was shown live on television there, with the broadcasts topping the Norwegian ratings.”

It has been very interesting to get acquainted with MAGNUS CARLSEN during the days of the WORLD CHESS TOURNAMENT. I have been amazed by his maturity and outstanding ability to concentrate playing chess. I started reading the new edition of Simen Agdestein's “How Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess grandmaster in the world: the story and the games” published by New in Chess. Simen was an early coach for Magnus and built a solid foundation for him. The book describes Magnus growing up in Norway. It is enriched by the description of the chess games played by Magnus. For the CHESS enthusiast, this is valuable information to learn chess.

When Marilyn and I go to Norway – our goal is 2015 – I hope we can arrange to meet MAGNUS CARLSEN and his family. On our travels in Norway, we've visited the town where Magnus was born, Tonsberg several times. When the family moved back to Norway after a couple hears of travel to Finland and Belgium, they moved to the immediate Oslo area. Both Magnus' parents are engineers. He has 1 older sister and 2 younger sisters. The younger sisters were interviewed on “Dagsrevy” last night.

I am happy to introduce you to MAGNUS CARLSEN – World Chess Champion – native of Norway. “Ja, vi elsker dette landet…” – ikke sant?

Do YOU play chess? What is your comment re. CHESS?

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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