Carlsen in Die Zeit: "I am not disciplined"

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 2013. 10. 31. 3:54.

The Anand-Carlsen match starts in less than nine days. Besides the online interview with Vishy Anand, the major German newspaper Die Zeit also published something about his opponent Magnus Carlsen this week. It's not available online but you can find it in the kiosks, because it is in the weekly magazine of the newspaper: ZEIT Magazin. Spread over nine pages, (four of them with beautiful black & white photos), the German readers get a thorough introduction to the phenomenon Magnus Carlsen.

Photo © Leasha Overturf courtesy of Die Zeit

Like the Anand interview, the article Der Schnellste Kopf (the fastest mind) was done by Ulrich Stock, who spoke to Carlsen in September in Oslo. Stock reveals that it took him six months (!) to arrange an interview with his subject. 

We would agree on a date, it would be postponed, and postponed again (...).

Carlsen's manager Espen Agdestein once said that he receives dozens of interview requests each day. It's hard to believe (we're talking about chess!) but maybe it's true...

The conversation doesn't seem to go smoothly. Stock notes that Carlsen "doesn't really try to be friendly".

His displeasure hits me with full force. He says only the most necessary, in English, slowly and quietly, and he restrains himself. He answers every question, but a conversation is not there. (...) When, at one moment, I have to think about a question, we sit there and it's all quiet. It is awful.

It's visible from the article that the interview didn't take as long as Stock had hoped for; the introduction to the actual interview takes about 2/3 of the total text. It's still interesting, as it describes the press day in Oslo where Carlsen also did a photoshoot. 

Being photographed seems easier for him to do than talking.

Stock also speaks with "the eternal number two of Norway", Jon Ludvig Hammer, who most probably is part of Carlsen's team. Stock:

To what extent Hammer can help Carlsen at chess, is unclear. Actually nobody really knows what Carlsen's preparation really is about, except that it will involve lots of sleeping. Everybody agrees that Carlsen sleeps a lot.

Just before the actual interview starts, it becomes clear that in Oslo, Stock became victim of a misconception that is very common. Many people say that Carlsen is often bored and uninterested, at opening or closing ceremonies, or even during games. However, in reality Carlsen may look bored, but he could be thinking about his answers, or his moves, at that point. Appearance deceives. Stock:

When I listen to the interview, a few days after our unfortunate meeting, I'm perplexed. It sounds completely different than how I experienced it. The grim, the unwilling, the annoyed, it's all gone. His answers are to the point and excellent. Why couldn't I notice this during the conversation? Imagine what kind of wrong observations and misinterpretations an opponent must be dealing with when he has to play against [Carlsen]!

Obviously we cannot reproduce the interview here.

— Update: it's now available online. —

But the start seems to summarize Carlsen's approach to chess nicely:

How much disciplin does one need, to become a World Champion?

In my life I am not very disciplined, but I am behind the board. I believe that you can also become World Champion with the attitude that chess is fun.

10218 megtekintés 35 hozzászólás
10 szavazat


  • 3 év ezelőtt


    I think Carlsen will become the  youngest champion this year....

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    If I were a betting man, my money would be put on Anand. Experience does count for something in a contest like this. Anand has already proven he can take long term pressure in a world championship match. Of course, all of us are just expressing opinions not facts. May the best man win!!

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    I still believe Bobby Fischer inspired more people to play Chess than anyone else! Even during the time of Karpov & Kasparov.  Carlsen? I don't think so!!! And Carlsen, a child prodigy? Own common, he's just one of them.  His advantage right now is being young, nothing else!

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    we have a unanimous decision, we have a new world chess champion...

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Actually it is not that hard to say who will win.  Carlsen of course.  He is younger, fitter and knows as much chess or more than any other player living.  It is Anand who has to pulls rabbits out of his hat.  Can he do it?  We can't say.  But the suspense is making this the greatest title match ever.  Or the second most after Fischer - Spassky.  Good for popularizing chess.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Carlsen has literally inspired droves of people to become interested in chess.  I don't believe there has been as much 'mainstream news' about chess since the days of Bobby Fischer ... and it is largely because of the phenomenom known as Magnus Carlsen.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Well, ambassadors need to inspire new people and make them feel welcome, not necessarily be precise and calculated in their approach.  Business people and chess GMs need the latter qualities more, but not people who meet and inspire more people.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    _valentin_ ... Perhaps more relevant is what the interviewer noted near the end:

    "When I failed a few days after our encounter listen to the interview , I 'm perplexed. It sounds completely different from what I had experienced it . The Grim , Listless , Annoyed is gone. His answers are to the point that sit punchlines . How could I not notice at the time of interview ? And what misperceptions will have to do until someone who must sit opposite him on board!"

    It wasn't so much that Carlsen was 'unfriendly' as it was that he simply was not the 22 year old lad the interview 'expected' to meet.  Carlsen's answers were in a similar fashion as his game: calculated and precise.  He would make an excellent ambassador of chess I am thinking.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    What the interviewer mentions at the start about his overall impression from the interview with Carlsen is a potential problem for chess.  

    How would you like a future world champion to be "not really friendly"?  What kind of an ambassador for the game will that person be before various audiences, some of which may not be into chess very much yet -- if he can't maintain a conversation and appear inviting at least?  Being very strong technically is one thing; being an effective ambassador and opening new avenues for the game is quite another.

    Ironically, many chess players tend to be somewhat withdrawn, even during interviews.  Of the strongest, exceptions I have seen are Aronian, Kramnik, and Svidler who clearly delight in being part of a conversation.  The rest tend to stick to answering questions in the shortest and most vague manner possible, and then shutting up.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Carlsen is quite simply the greatest chess prodigy and player of all time.  This match will be the beginning of the Carlsen era which will transform chess internationally.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    experience/kid anand will be king!

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Here is the google translated version of the article from Zeit Online website.

    The fastest head

    The Norwegian Magnus Carlsen is only 22 and plays so well chess like no other. Now he wants the world title by Ulrich Stockmann

    A strange aura of the 22 -year-old Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, a charisma that his opponents must feel when they sit opposite him head to head at the chessboard . Top fit and he looks tired at the same time , powerful and sleepy, as if bored with it all . The little face drawn together , the corners of the mouth down . Including G-Star Raw has it staged the first dresses brand, which undertook a chess player as a model. That was three years ago after he had ever climbed the youngest player in first place in the world rankings .

    Ordinary players are not particularly well dressed : they carry out your tournaments in sports halls in which they shuffle on stockings and sandals, thermoses and sandwiches in Jutebeuteln dangling . Even the former world champion Vladimir Kramnik , a cultured Russian who competes under the best conditions , drags the nuts that he intends to nibble on during the game , in a plastic bag on the stage at the Louvre .

    Carlsen against the world's best chess players : a black and white form with a scowl . The fashion company dressed up with him and let him photograph by Anton Corbijn . For weeks, the poster was seen in Europe inner cities. It should entice young people to buy a pair of jeans . You could also buy the poster to hang it over the bed .

    The episode shows how Magnus Carlsen raises for over a thousand years passed on from generation to generation board game to a new level of public awareness. Chess was played as complicated and boring, it is good now to hipsterdom . The young man has shot to the top of the world not just in an instant , he also embodies a new type of chess player . The star.

    Accordingly, it is difficult to get through to him is . Six months I needed. It dates were promised , moved and moved again , and always told his manager that he would discuss it the next day with Magnus and then Report . Eventually it dawned on me that perhaps it is difficult to meet him because he just does not want to . Finally they said I could talk for an hour Carlsen in Oslo in September and accompany some dates. But even on the agreed date , there are changes to the schedule - and a few difficulties .

    The media are so good to him . Time Magazine declared him the beginning of the hundred most influential people in the world , since he had not even moved away from home. The women's magazine Cosmopolitan praised him as one of the hundred most attractive men on the globe, even though they'd never seen a girlfriend at his side.

    His former coach and mentor, the Norwegian grandmaster Simen Agdestein , sees the development with mixed feelings : " Magnus is more and more a mysterious figure as James Dean. "

    I want the mystery now meet on the rooftop of a bank. Arctic Securities is sponsoring him for years , now he pays back by he holds press conferences at the headquarters . The sun is shining , and it certainly no shortage of journalists . A camera crew swings erwartungsfroh the Puschelmikrofon , photographers rely on himself , writing colleagues from Denmark, Sweden and England, check the view of the city . Ole Kristian Strøm is also there, Carlsen's body reporter who every week brings two to three articles about him in Oslo tabloid VG . And all this because on 7 November in India, the chess battle of the decade begins : Magnus Carlsen challenge world champion Viswanathan Anand. Will he be able to crown his successful career ?

    The late chess prodigy who could be checkmate age of eight, or from the basic position in three moves, but then really wanted to conquer the sister. Magnus, who soon struck his father, an experienced club player, and a little later his coach, Norway's number one at the time. Was at the age of 13 years, Grand Master, and since then around the world playing tournaments and knows only one direction: up. And now he's there, Carlsen on the roof.

    If his opponents think that the danger is over, Carlsen strikes. | © Leasha Overturf

    " You always look so grim ," I say welcome , as I am interested in the series.

    " For some reason I will always look serious ," he says , as if not his decision. " I can smile . " And then he smiles , short and handsome bird .

    Carlsen as sporty as it has not presented a chess genius : He climbs and runs boat

    We pull back into a meeting room for an interview. But what is it? Carlsen puts more on the sofa when he sits down. He makes no effort to be friendly . His displeasure hits me with full force. He says only the bare minimum , in English , slowly and quietly , then he stops . He answered every question , but it creates no conversation . He is in no thread weaves a thought on. When I think once the next question immediately, we sit there and say nothing . It is awful.

    The manager interrupts the interview off after 45 minutes. There were other commitments . And we wanted to still get something to eat , the time was short , we could continue the conversation in the restaurant.

    A walk into the restaurant is the maximum that Carlsen granted the media insight . No home stories , no family visits, nothing up close. One has to rely on stories of others. Or on his Facebook page . It shows him in summer jumps from a five -meter board or on jaunts to the boat before Kragerø , Saint -Tropez, Norway. His opponents will watch that exactly: an outdoor chess player who scores goals , climbing mountains , and hanging upside down in the climbing wall. Now the top players move in chess while all much already to compensate for the hours of sitting . But as toned as Carlsen is not. He says he would make many moves intuitively , from the gut . You see : It's a washboard stomach .

    It is a ten minute walk to the restaurant. On the way many passersby turn around for us. In Norway, people are now interested for chess that barely know how the pieces move . The only five million inhabitants country has many very successful international ski jumpers , cross country skiers , biathletes , all winter sports. Carlsen opens the door to other seasons. " Magnus , Magnus ! " Call two teenage girls , " a photo , please!"

    The Asian restaurant is jam packed already late afternoon and loud. After ordering Carlsen starts to fumble devoted to his smartphone . In between, he goes with his manager a few phrases in Norwegian . No more questions . We eat so before us .

    Then it goes to photo shoots in a café. Carlsen can be unceremoniously grab the hair of an unfamiliar stylist and does it all . To be photographed seems easier to fall than to talk to him . The café refers to the time of the legendary coffee houses. In the great cities of Europe chess had become the company 's one hundred and fifty years ago. They smoked and talked and rallied around the board. In London, there was even competition between different local guests . A messenger hurried back and forth and brought the trains that have been discussed here and there passionately.

    But Carlsen does not understand what you want now with the cafe. " I never drink coffee. "

    His last photo shoot that day he has in Oslo Schakselskap . The oldest chess club in Norway , founded in 1884 , is housed on the seventh floor of an apartment building in the upscale west of the city . The donation of a rich chess friend helped him in 1918 to everlasting prosperity. Hardwood floors, oriental rugs , books , trophies . Photos on the walls of many historic masters who were called Trygve Halvorsen or Åge Vestøl , the world unknown names . Norway was never as good at chess as Russia, England or Germany .

    A large-format , expressionistic paintings attracts the look : two men , absorbed in the game , pondering , collecting himself in the head - the decision seems to be within reach.

    "Who painted it? " , I ask an older chess friend , the noted my interest.

    " Xan Krohn ," he says , " an artist from Bergen , who went at the beginning of the 20th century as a socialist Russia. He could not cope with the Communists and sought refuge after the October Revolution in Oslo. Because he had no money, could he did not pay his membership fee and brought a picture now and then instead over. "

    In the hall next door, at a long table with many boards , jockeying the future of the club . A swing girls, children still lively, blonde, with many braids , it will giggled . The door opens , Carlsen appears . In a flash, it's quiet as a mouse . Magnus ! But he looks just a look. Already he 's gone and out of the house , a whirlwind of talks leaving behind .

    Only a few grandmasters can live alone from playing
    As much as he is admired by the young talents, so little he cares about them. The chess class at his former high school sports, he visits only when they invite him to play football, tell the boys in the club. How is he on the pitch? "Really good," says the 17-year-old Snorre. Håkon and adds: "Especially as a defender." The school has let whiz Magnus, too many tournaments.

    In the chess club in my office, Jon Ludvig Hammer accepts. It meets the bitter fate to be Norway's eternal number two. He will never forget how he sat across from Magnus for the first time, the sub-eleven year olds in the Norwegian Championship.

    "I had white, there was an English Opening . He had a lady on d8 and a runner on e7 , and my knight on h4 was covered only by a farmer . He struck twice , and gone was my farmer . , But opened by this mishap the g-line , and I could attack him . Later I won a large tower on the diagonal. "

    Hammer tells the story of the game , as they were yesterday , and for good reason : "That was the one time that I beat him . " Magnus had cried bitterly , but not for long . When the sting he retaliated and won the tournament.

    They are still competitors? "You can not compete with a Mozart of chess ," says Hammer . "I 'd say we 're friends. " Even if he only suggests it : He seems to belong to the team , prepared with Carlsen in the championship fight . To what extent hammer can help him in chess , is unclear. In general, no one really knows to say what Carlsen preparation could be out in it , to sleep a lot . That he sleeps a lot , everyone .

    At the last world title fight in May 2012 in Moscow, Boris Gelfand was allowed to challenge the reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand in 2007 . A Russian billionaire , who had brought it from the chess teacher for transportation mogul , paid for everything . Gelfand is considered versatile and solid, Anand as fast and dangerous . Of twelve games , they won one each , ten draws . While the audience grumbled because of the many outbuildings , some pursued a master of the moment is fascinating: For months , the two had withdrawn to prepare for opening new subtleties using their secondary Danten and powerful computer programs. The Israeli had his camp in the Alps , the Indians in the Taunus. In Moscow, the challenger surprised the world champion with systems that he had never played before. Anand had to rework during the duel . His seconds were tinkering in the luxury hotel overlooking the Kremlin, night and day , and it just went well again .

    The decision was made on the last day in the jump over four games with greatly shortened time limit . This finale was, if you will, the first penalty shootout in a world chess championship. The football Gelfand defeated when he thundered a ball he should have purely to make the bar. Can happen. Messed chance of life. He wore it with admirable version .

    In November will be held the next World Chess Championship in Chennai Anand's hometown , a duel over three weeks , paid for by the provincial government in honor of World Champion , who is a national hero in India. For the players, it comes to almost two million euros and the priceless title . Here, the young challenger from Norway, there is twice as old Tiger of Madras. At 43 he still has bite ?

    To recognize the importance of the match , you must know : Chess has become a global sport that lacks the big money . Few Grand Master can only live off the games. You are invited to tournaments in towns with interesting names : Paris, Bilbao , Baden-Baden , St. Petersburg , Carlsbad , St. Louis, Nanjing. The others must teach, write books , comment contests, programming chess sites, feed of prize money or play poker . Therefore, a good place in the top 50 important, but nothing compared to the title. Since the first World Cup in 1886 , it has only ever been 15 champions . Who wants to be world champion , the right to challenge the very best rivals must fight tedious , as Gelfand and Carlsen have done it. Who wins the duel as well, is for the rest of his life , because he has room and board at 600 million chess players worldwide.

    "You should be the last in every game"

    Viswanathan Anand is currently only ranked 8 in the world rankings . It disturbs the natural, because it also provoked derision. His tournament results tell of motivation problems as they had other world champions before him. What is to come of challenges yet , as long as no inhabited exoplanets are discovered ?

    But Anand, who is passionate about astronomy , knows what he has in his title, world champion is better than former world champion . Twice he has already defended him . He will not give it up without a fight , especially not against this young upstart . Anand would never call the thing, because he is an Indian gentleman.

    Over the summer he was back in the Taunus , Bad Soden , where he owns an apartment . Will he and his seconds have prepared new versions ? Or does it against these opponents something else?

    The sport and play crazy Magnus Carlsen is more trusted to prepare with daily kicking and kickers on the championship fight as the study of chess openings on the computer. Simen Agdestein , his former coach , thought nothing of systematic learning. They looked at together , what they felt like doing . Often to remind Agdestein , Magnus was also lunchtime came to his school office , have any chess book pulled from the shelf and read a few pages while standing . From then on he was known then that . His memory was phenomenal. He played even better, he would work the way the other grandmasters ? Or would he not have come this far?

    Carlsen has retained the playfulness in all combat. If everything seems on the board to be clarified and his opponent already leads the draw offer on the lips, he often puts off first . Against the strongest opposition he can instigate from harmless positions lethal complications . He does not care if this happens only in the fifth or even sixth hour of battle . He is well supplied with blood .

    When I failed a few days after our encounter listen to the interview , I 'm perplexed. It sounds completely different from what I had experienced it . The Grim , Listless , Annoyed is gone. His answers are to the point that sit punchlines . How could I not notice at the time of interview ? And what misperceptions will have to do until someone who must sit opposite him on board!

    Time Magazine : How much discipline does it take to become World Chess Champion ?

    Carlsen : I 'm not very disciplined in life , on board already . I believe that you can be world champion with the attitude that chess is fun.

    Time magazine: you is about fun ?

    Carlsen : That is my main motivation. I do not have to be world champion , although that would be nice .

    Time Magazine : Makes your games more fun or victories ?

    Carlsen : Winning . But the games themselves like that. Especially when something succeeds on the board, what you have never seen before .

    Time Magazine: How did you find the last World Cup ?

    Carlsen : Some lots were added to early draw . If you play a World Cup , there is no excuse for it . You should give the last in every game that one is guilty and all chess fans .

    Time Magazine : What would be your message as a world champion ?

    Carlsen : Still make a train , make the enemy still a small problem. There are always options , and you should always fight .

    Time Magazine : Many of your opponents make mistakes under pressure . Do you have more luck than others?

    Carlsen : You always get what you deserve . There may be games that I've won , of which one could say that I did not deserve to win. But my opponents have always deserved defeat. If you play a very good game , it takes too much time , then makes a mistake and loses , you blame yourself .

    Time Magazine : What do you see in your opponents?

    Carlsen : When we play , there are rivals. If we do not play, there are colleagues. I think it's important , off the board to have normal relationships .

    " I never play against computer "
    Time Magazine : Because you share the same passion.

    Carlsen : Yes .

    Time Magazine : 1972, when the American Bobby Fischer took against the Russian Boris Spassky , reflected in their fight the Cold War .

    Carlsen : Between the two players, but there was no particular animosity . In later years, Spassky was one of Fischer's closest friends .

    Time Magazine: How is your relationship with Anand ?

    Carlsen : I have had a couple of times to do with him . We get along very well with each other . But nothing takes the match .

    Time Magazine : Your success has made you known internationally. How do you manage the exchange between the board and the world ?

    Carlsen : I try not to think too much about how others see me. One can easily spend too much so .

    Time Magazine : You will even be approached on the street .

    Carlsen : Yes , but usually very subtle . Many want to simply wish me luck . What I do not understand these people who gave me " Checkmate ! " recall . You also can not do that on a football players and calls : " Gate" Or do they say to me: " You are the king checkmate ! " Somehow they hang on the word checkmate. That's the only thing that annoys me .

    Time Magazine: How is your relationship with chess programs ?

    Carlsen : I use them for analysis. I never play against computer . I've never liked . I grew up without computers. I had my first database until eleven or twelve . Before that, I 've only played on the board. I never used software used to prepare, and that has been good for my very understanding of chess .

    Time Magazine : Can the computer player spoil ?

    Carlsen : That is not . But to get to the top , you have to do more than just sitting at the computer. You need a certain sense of play that you do not get on the screen. I had my father as a teacher, a good coach and the sports school.

    Time Magazine : Man feels , the computer is ?

    Carlsen : Yes . And that's why it annoys me when it 's over again , I belonged to the generation of computer kids . I do not count it. I would not be where I am today if I had not invested all those hours . In my young years I have played chess all the time or watched positions , even when eating. I sat at a different table than the rest of the family, so I could move the figures.

    Time Magazine : You no longer do now?

    Carlsen : I no longer have the same curiosity , the board is also not so much to learn.

    Time Magazine : How well do you think your chances are to win the World Cup ?

    Carlsen : You are very good. I consider myself the favorite, whenever I take part in a tournament , and this is no different for the World Cup. But Anand will be in better shape than in his last appearances. He will be focused and well prepared . He will not just go to the ground.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    I agree w/ paladin64

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    People called Fischer undisciplined also in his behavior. But at the board - a totally different story!

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Stock is not a chess expert. So he can say the truth. Carlsen is a strong player - not the strongest in the world, Aronian's play is more interesting - but also a man with some problems.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Agreed, Paladin. Magnus is typically very patient with interviewers who have their own agendas. He and Anand are gentlemen who have to answer to many strangers. I commend them both on their good manners and generosity.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    The writer of this article simply failed to reach the reality of his subject. Not everybody is the same or can be approached the same. It sounds like he just didn't get what he expected. I've read many Carlsen interviews that were perfectly normal and interesting. This is a case where I think the writer is too much a part of the story. He didn't do his jpb well.

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Interesting article. Carlsen on many pictures really looks like he is about to fall asleep.( In some post-game video interviews he also looks like he has not slept for weeks. Yet he will not miss a beat and give a faultless description of some variation. )

    He is the Bjorn Borg of chess.

    (The "e " is missing at the end of the discipline.

    "How much disciplin does one need, to become a World Champion?" )

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    Hmm... was it a long way of saying by Stockmann how cool Carlsen is?

  • 3 év ezelőtt


    when are they playing? can someone please tell me what's the best way to watch it. 

Vissza az elejére

Válasz elküldése: