In a heads-up with the Marca newspaper, the world champion compares his style on the board with the tennis stars and asks the youngsters to enjoy and not focus on the results.
Magnus Carlsen has dominated world chess for a decade, as champion and number one in the ranking. There is no one who can bring him down from his reign no matter how hard they try. And he has a lot to say about it. This is what he did in an interview with the newspaper Brand, where he compared his style with that of the two cracks of world tennis: “I am not an artist like Roger Federer; I am more of a monster like Rafael Nadal.”
How did Carlsen get to that phrase? When asked if he considers himself the father of the new generation of chess, he did not agree with that statement. “I have been able to influence some parts of the game in terms of the way people think about opening strategies and the way that people now struggle more to find resources in relatively difficult positions,” he said.
And he expanded: “I don’t see myself as a creator but as someone who is extremely good at playing this game. I am not necessarily someone who innovates. It’s never been my goal and it’s not something I’m necessarily going to be great at. But I’m not necessarily an innovator or the father of a new generation. “
So they asked him about whether he looks “like a kind of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan from chess.” And Carlsen replied: “If there was a comparison with a great sport, I have always said that I prefer to be compared with the Spanish Rafa Nadal, because he is relentless, powerful. He is universal, he can do everything and everything extremely well. I am not an artist like Federer. I’m more of a monster like Nadal“.
Here is an excerpt from Carlsen’s talk at the Marca Sport Weekend.
* “I feel that I am very, very far from perfection in chess. But I do believe that I optimize my options on the board well. I believe that someone will come who can do everything that I can do and more things better. I believe that we continue to be far from being able to achieve what human beings can achieve in chess. “
* “My biggest weak point is very simple: I am not very creative. I can do everything well, but I don’t really innovate. I just use everything that is known to other people and I do it better than others. “
* “My greatest strength is universality, understood by the ability to do everything. I’d also say I’m relentless“.
* “I believe that both the body and the brain can be developed. I am not going to tell people that they should not go running or go to play tennis or soccer or basketball so that they go to practice chess. What I would say is that it is good to practice both, I love sports and it is as simple as that a healthy mind corresponds to a healthy body. But it is important to know that you not only need to develop your body, but also your brain. And I think chess is good for that. “
* “My modeling days are over and now I’m more of a boring chess player.
* “Retirement?” It is very difficult to retire at the peak of your career, because very few people have the ability to determine when it has peaked and that they cannot do that anymore. There are few people like Michael Jordan or Zidane, who retired when they were still among the best in the world or directly they were the best in the world. I think I will continue to be very strong for 10 years, regardless of whether I am a world champion or not. And from that moment there will be a decline. “
* “A strong desire to win is crucial to being the best at anything. For me it is something that I have not necessarily had since I was born, but I think that at some point I realized that I needed that attitude to be the best. I think you need a reasonably analytical mind to play chess well, but it’s not like you need to be a genius. “
* “I would tell young people to try to have fun, not to focus on being the next Carlsen or anyone else they look up to. The ride is where the fun is, there and in the game. What really matters is enjoy yourself, develop your brain. In general, if you are a kid, just enjoy. Don’t focus on results“.