Saturday, January 25, 2014
Carlsen: I don’t need any extra tricks to make my opponents fear me
Photo by Øivind Haug for The New York Times
Magnus Carlsen, Chess Champion: ‘My Moves Speak For Themselves’
JAN. 24, 2014
Interview by SUSAN DOMINUS
You became the world chess champion after a win in November. How did you go about training for the big match?
The most important thing to study is opening theory, but I also study the latest trends to try to stay ahead, discovering new schemes and doing tactical exercises. I try to get into a chess mood.
You’re known for standing up and walking away from the board during games. Are you trying to psych out your opponent?
No. I just feel that if there is not too much to think about, it’s better to walk around a little bit, maybe get some drinks, some food to get some energy and also to get the blood flowing a little. To a major extent, my moves speak for themselves.
You mean, your opponent can tell if you’re feeling confident?
The moves are intimidating enough, so I don’t need any extra tricks to make my opponents fear me.
I know that there has been some controversy about whether you should be considered the best athlete in Norway. To Americans, I think that would be a very strange idea.
I don’t know how to translate it. Most people agree that chess is a sport, because in Norwegian the word for “sport” is more about something you compete in. I don’t really think too much about it. I think that chess is chess, and that’s good enough for me.
You’re now 23, and you do some modeling for the clothing brand G-Star Raw. I couldn’t help wondering, is there a big dating scene on the chess circuit?
Well, definitely during the Chess Olympiads there is, because then there’s an open section and a women’s section, and people get together. During the tournaments I play, it’s a bit different because it’s a smaller group, and the players are very serious.
When you’re socializing at parties or bars outside the chess world, do you casually drop the chess thing into conversation with women? Or is it a subject you avoid?
Whenever I’m out, whether it’s in Norway or somewhere else, I don’t want to talk about chess too much. But I think, in general, being very good at something helps. Can we talk about something else?
O.K. Have you ever competed in a chess game drunk?
Just in offhand games with friends. You feel a little bit more confident and creative, but my experience is not that I play better. I know people who have actually played serious games when they have been drinking. None of them have recommended it to others.
Full article here.