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7 Reasons Why Magnus Carlsen is World Champion E-mail
Written by WGM Raluca Sgîrcea, IM Renier Castellanos   
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 00:24

why carlsen is a world championMagnus Carlsen has been dominating the chess scene for the last few years and has established himself as one of the strongest (if not the strongest) players at the moment. By winning many prestigious tournaments and scoring great results against strong players right from an early age, Carlsen was a safe bet that he would be part of the elite chess one day.

He achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 13 years and 4 months, being the youngest one at that time. He kept improving his results and play, soon managing to break Kasparov’s historical record of 2851. In 2013 he won the Candidates Tournament and qualified for the World Championship match against Viswhanathan Anand that he won 6,5 – 3,5. Since then he has managed to keep his crown and stay on top of the rating list, so how does he do it?

He is a complete chess player that can handle both tactical and positional play. In the last few years his style has often been described as dull. However, while it’s true that he likes to clinch on a minimal advantage and squeeze his opponents from there, he rarely fails to deliver a tactical blow. As a youth, Carlsen had a very aggressive style of play and wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice material in exchange for the initiative.

However, as he started to face stronger opposition, he realized that this type of play wasn’t suitable, so he became a universal player, capable of handling all types of positions.  He has played many instructive games, both from a positional and a tactical point of view. This ability to juggle with both types of play makes him a very difficult to face opponent.

1. Complete Chess Player

He is a complete chess player that can handle both tactical and positional play. In the last few years his style has often been described as dull. However, while it’s true that he likes to clinch on a minimal advantage and squeeze his opponents from there, he rarely fails to deliver a tactical blow.

As a youth, Carlsen had a very aggressive style of play and wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice material in exchange for the initiative. However, as he started to face stronger opposition, he realized that this type of play wasn’t suitable, so he became a universal player, capable of handling all types of positions.  He has played many instructive games, both from a positional and a tactical point of view. This ability to juggle with both types of play makes him a very difficult to face opponent.

2. Wide chess knowledge

As we mentioned before, he is a universal chess player and, in order to achieve this, one needs to study lots of games and positions. He has a great memory as well and this has helped him accumulate the information fast and put it in practice.

In his games there are influences of the classical players and he is very flexible in thinking. He knows all types of structures, as well as the classical patterns, thus he can correctly evaluate the positions and find a suitable plan. Besides this, he knows and plays the endgame very well, as there are many games that he has won in this style.

3. Intensive chess training

It’s no secret that he trains hard and constantly tries to improve his play. He often has training camps with his seconds or fellow elite Grandmasters in which they intensively analyze different types of positions, from openings to endgame.

4. Impressive physical resistance

This is probably related to his preference for squeezing and converting small advantages in long games. He doesn’t hurry when having a small plus; he just keeps improving his position and tries to find new ways of breaking his opponent. This is most of the times exhausting for his opponents, while he just seems to enjoy it a lot, without showing signs of getting bored or tired.

5. Psychological preparation

Besides his chess preparation, he likes to dig into the psychology of chess players as well, to find patterns in their style and use this into his advantage. He is also a very resilient player; he has good defensive skills and never gives up when he finds himself into a worse position. He doesn’t like to show that the position is not of his taste either.

He always keeps a poker face: You can’t look too annoyed or they’ll look for the mistake you’ve made. A lot of the time it’s about looking for these opportunities and if you give them a clue, the good players will find it.

6. Ambition and desire to always be the best

Since his childhood, he has been driven by the will of becoming the best. As he himself admitted, becoming a World Champion has never been his priority; he was fighting to become world number one on the rating list. Now that he has become both, he still wants to win every tournament he plays and is visibly unhappy with himself if he doesn’t.

Chesswise, this drives him to train even more and constantly improve his play.

7. Physical training

Besides training at chess day by day, he also likes to do a lot of sport. When he was a child, apart from studying chess about four hours a day, he also liked to play football and ski. Nowadays, we still see him very involved with sports, whether it is football, basketball or running. What does this have to do with chess? Well, sport keeps you brain oxygenated and improves your body’s resistance. In chess, this translates into a clear mind and better resistance in a long, tiring game.

If you want to improve your chess level, you need to have a clear study plan. If you aim for a dramatic improvement at chess you need to work on all of the elements of the game in a systematic way:

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

That seems to be like a lot of things, and that is. But no worries, we have made it easy for you. Our comprehensive training course covers it all and much more. Sign up for 21 Day Training right now!

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:09
 

Comments  

 
0 #2 Mathew Kiama 2017-03-25 00:16
Hello WGM Raruca and IM Renier.

Thanks for sharing this Magnus' inspiring article. It's quite helpful!

Regards,

Mathew.
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+1 #1 Jack Kato 2017-01-20 21:29
I am a disabled veteran and get paid once a month, often shortly after the beginning of a month and almost always at the end, there is little if any money to spare.
Your offers would be more likely to get positive results from people like myself if the offer were made at the beginning of a month rather than other times.
BTW, I think it is good, just not timely.
:O)
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