Norwegian teenager to be crowned new chess king

Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:39pm EST
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By Wojciech Moskwa

OSLO (Reuters Life!) - The chess world's new number one 19-year-old Magnus Carlsen plots 20 moves ahead and can remember matches he played six years ago move-for-move, but insists he is still pretty much your average teenager.

The brightest talent in a generation according to his Russian coach and chess great Garry Kasparov, Norway's Carlsen will officially become the world's youngest ever top ranked player when new rankings come out at the start of 2010.

Dubbed the "Mozart of chess," Carlsen plays with a healthy dose of natural intuition on top of deep analysis and pursues other interests that he believes help his game.

He brushes aside comparisons with the world's troubled chess geniuses such as Bobby Fisher, a prodigy and champion who became engulfed by chess and detached from the rest of the world.

"Bobby Fischer was obviously one of the greatest chess players of all time -- one of the inventors," Carlsen told Reuters in an interview.

"The difference between him and me, for example, is that he was obsessed with chess in a way that is not healthy and that's a line I don't intend to cross."

"I try not to mix chess with life. When I don't play I more or less do normal things for a teenager," said Carlsen, who this year graduated from high school and become a household name in Norway, winning a number of person of the year honors.

BEYOND THE BOARD   Continued...

<p>Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen takes part in the Aerosvit 2008 International Chess Tournament in the Black Sea resort of Foros in southern Ukraine, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer</p>