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Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Magnus Carlsen number one rated chess player in the world!

Magnus Carlsen (born Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen on 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy currently ranked number one in the world on the official FIDE rating list. He has achieved a rating exceeded only by Garry Kasparov.

On 26 April 2004 Carlsen became a Grandmaster at the age of 13 making him the third-youngest Grandmaster in history. On 1 January 2010 the new FIDE rating list was published, and at the age of 19  he became the youngest chess player in history to be ranked world number one, breaking the record previously held by Vladimir Kramnik. Carlsen is also the 2009 World blitz chess champion.

His performance at the September–October 2009 Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament has been described as one of the greatest in history and lifted him to an Elo rating of 2801, making him the fifth player to achieve a rating over 2800 – and aged 17 years 10 months at the time, by far the youngest to do so.

Ahead of 2010, Carlsen said that he would be playing in fewer tournaments the coming year. The cooperation with Kasparov continued until March that year.

Carlsen won the Corus chess tournament played January 16–31 with 8½ points (five wins, seven draws, one loss). His ninth-round loss to Kramnik ended a streak of 36 rated games undefeated.  Carlsen appeared to struggle in the last round against Fabiano Caruana, but saved a draw leaving him half a point ahead of Kramnik and Shirov.

The March 2010 FIDE rating list showed Carlsen with a new peak rating of 2813, a figure that only Kasparov has bettered.  In the same month it was announced that Carlsen had split from Kasparov and would no longer be using him as a trainer, although this was put into different context by Carlsen himself in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel stating that they would remain in contact and that he would continue to attend training sessions with Kasparov.

Carlsen shared first place alongside Ivanchuk in the Amber 2010 blindfold and rapid tournament. Carlsen scored 6½ points in the blindfold and 8 points in the rapid, giving 14½ points from a possible 22 points.

In May 2010 it was revealed that Carlsen had helped Viswanathan Anand prepare for the World Chess Championship 2010 against challenger Veselin Topalov, which Anand won 6½-5½ to retain the title. Carlsen had also helped Anand prepare for the World Chess Championship 2007 and World Chess Championship 2008.

In his first tournament since his announced departure from Kasparov, Carlsen played in the Bazna Kings Tournament in Romania from June 14th through June 25th. The tournament was a double round robin event involving Wang Yue, Boris Gelfand, former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, Teimour Radjabov, and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. After drawing his first three games, Carlsen won his next four and set a personal livechess rating peak of 2825,1.  He finished with 7½/10 and a 2918 performance rating, winning the tournament by two points over Radjabov and Gelfand.  The victory ensured that Carlsen remained at the top of the Elo rating list. His official rating hit 2826, a figure exceeded only by Kasparov and just 25 points shy of tying Kasparov’s all-time record.

Carlsen then played in a rapid tournament from August 28th to August 30th at the Arctic Securities Chess Stars tournament in Kristiansund, Norway. The field featured world champion Viswanathan Anand, female world #1 Judit Polgar, and Jon Ludvig Hammer. In the preliminary round robin, Carlsen scored 3½/6 to qualify for the final, second behind Anand.  In the final, Carlsen defeated Anand 1½-0½ to win the championship.

Following this event, Carlsen will take part in the 39th Chess Olympiad from September 19th to October 4th.

As winner of three of the previous year’s four Grand Slam chess events (2009 Nanjing Pearl Spring, 2010 Corus, 2010 Bazna Kings), Carlsen has automatically qualified for the final of the Grand Slam Chess Masters supertournament to be held in Bilbao from October 9th to October 15th, 2010. Along with Carlsen, the finals will consist of World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the highest two scorers from the preliminary stage held in Shanghai in September, which featured Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Alexei Shirov, and Wang Hao; Shirov and Kramnik qualified.  The official September 2010 ratings of Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik and Shirov will make the Grand Slam final the strongest tournament in chess history, with an average ELO of 2789.

Following the Grand Slam Chess Masters final, Carlsen will attempt to defend his 2009 title at the 2010 Pearl Spring chess tournament, which will run from October 17th to 29th in Nanjing, China and feature Anand, world #2 Veselin Topalov, Vugar Gashimov, Wang Yue, and Etienne Bacrot. This will be the only tournament in 2010 to feature Anand, Carlsen and Topalov, currently the top three players in the world.

It is presumed, but unknown whether Carlsen will participate in the 2010 World Blitz Championship, currently scheduled to be held in Moscow from November 15th to 16th following the 2010 Tal Memorial.

Carlsen will attempt to defend his title in the London Chess Classic in December 2010; the field will include world champion Viswanathan Anand, former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, American number one Hikaru Nakamura, and British players Michael Adams, Nigel Short, David Howell, and Luke McShane.

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