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MYSTERY

Carlsen: ‘Mystery of chess is, why me?’

Norwegian chess phenomenon Magnus Carlsen has expressed bemusement at his own prodigious talents, telling an interviewer that for him, "one of the greatest mysteries of chess is: 'Why me?'".

Carlsen: 'Mystery of chess is, why me?'
Magnus Karlsen (left) playing India's Anand Viswanathan at the world championships last year. Photo: Scanpix
 
The 23-year-old said in an interview with The Times that the the big question was, "why I do so well compared to others who have also put the time in and had some talent." 
 
"I just know that chess now at last comes more or less naturally to me, I understand it better than most people anyway," he explained. "But I don’t know what my intuition comes from apart from that it’s there.”
 
In the interview, Carlsen gave himself another decade at the top of the game, predicting that increasing experience and knowledge about the game will probably make up for any slowing up of his mind over that period. 
 
“Right now, I feel that I should be able to beat everyone when in a match as long as the current generation is there,” he said. “Being a great chess player or performing well at anything, it’s a combination of concentration, brains and experience, so it’s really about finding the right combination." 
 

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CHESS

Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has suffered his first defeat in more than two years and a record 125 games, while playing a tournament in his native Norway.

Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years
Magnus Carlsen at the Energy Denmark Champions in Copenhagen in May 2019. Photo: Claus Bech / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
The world number one resigned after when he was a bishop down in the endgame against Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who is ranked a relatively humble number 15 in the world.
   
But on Saturday evening, 22-year-old Duda managed to do what no one — including the world's top 10 players — had managed to do since July 2018.   
 
It was Duda's only win of the tournament in Stavanger so far and, as he told Chess 24 afterwards, “I didn't expect to win this game.”
   
But he was, he said “extremely happy, obviously”.
   
Carlsen, who is often tough on himself in post-game analysis, offered no excuses. “Extremely disappointing”, he said: “Completely unforgivable”.
   
Carlsen's undefeated run stretches all the way back to July 31, 2018, when Azerbaijani grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated him. During that time, Carlsen scored 44 wins and 81 draws against his opponents.
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