Performance-wise I’ve been successful in Rapid and Blitz events as well, with Norway Chess Blitz victory, second place in Paris and first in Leuven, before Doha. Still, I have mixed feelings about my play. Yes, I’ve played many good games and obtained good results, but I’ve made too many blunders, and even more importantly, the quality of my play has varied too much.

I’m now back in 1st on all FIDE rating lists (Classical, Rapid and Blitz) although the Classical lead is uncomfortably small. On the bright side I feel motivated to improve, and the challenge is to translate chess understanding and knowledge into quality of play in the events ahead.

I’d again like to thank my main sponsors, Arctic Securities, Simonsen Vogt Wiig, Nordic Semiconductor, newspaper VG, and water provider Isklar for their continued support, and I look forward to our cooperation in 2017. 

The first Arctic event will be a simul in London before the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee.

I got excellent support from my team of seconds during the New York match, and a special thanks to Peter Heine for his help, patience and friendship throughout 2016.

I’m grateful to have had my family with me in Doha, and most of them have joined me also while I recover and prepare for Tata Steel over the next week.

Magnus Carlsen, January 3rd, 2017