Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tom Brady isn't the only star swamped by fans

Aftenposten Nettutgaven

Magnus Carlsen, Norway's teenaged chess whiz, is his game's equivalent of a rock star. As fans swarmed around him in the Netherlands on Sunday, hoping for an autograph or photo, Carlsen showed that it hasn't gone to his head.

Magnus Carlsen, from Lommedalen just west of Oslo, is now among the world's top 10 chess players.


Magnus Carlsen in action against Teymour Radjabov from Azerbaijan.

Related stories:
Title dream over for Carlsen - 10.12.2007
Kasparov heading for Norway - 23.12.2004
Young chess master out of world championships - 21.06.2004
Carlsen heads for world championships - 29.04.2004
World's youngest grandmaster - 26.04.2004
Kasparov survives teen chess scare - 19.03.2004
Teenager topples ex-world chess champ - 18.03.2004

"It's okay," was all he had to say about the buzz that surrounded him after he wound up among the world's top 10 chess players over the weekend. He shared first place in the prestigious Corus tournament in the Netherlands, after the world's top two players ended in a tie.

"I'm satisfied with the tournament, but not with the last part," he told Aftenposten when it was all over. On the other hand, he said, the match on Sunday was the best he'd ever played.

He was ranked 13th in the world before Corus and now is probably ninth, said his father after Carlsen shared first-place honors with Levron Aronian. Carlsen has long been ranked the world's best junior chess player (those under age 21) and he's the Nordic country's strongest chess player by a wide margin.

The 17-year-old Carlsen, who travels around 200 days a year, spent two weeks at the tournament in the Netherlands and was due to return to Norway's special high school for top athletes and players (topp idrettsgymnaset) where he studies chess. But he'll soon be traveling to Mexico and Spain for another major tournament.

International chess star Garri Kasparov, who has faced off against Carlsen himself, has said that he worries Carlsen plays too many tournaments and should spend more time training. He later said that maybe the many tournaments are good for Carlsen.

That's what his father Henrik Carlsen thinks. He told Aftenposten that his son starts getting uneasy if too much time passes between tournaments.

Aftenposten's reporter in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands
Alf Ole Ask

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Nina Berglund

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