Having played three elite events in two and a half months in addition to the 10-day trip to the US lately, it is good to spend some time back in Oslo and also enjoy the football World Cup featuring magical matches as witnessed in Spain – Portugal (3 – 3).
Play Magnus is continuing to improve our Apps, and Monday we launched the Magnus’ Kingdom of Chess, for kids, together with Dragonbox. It is great to see the continued strong interest for chess among Norwegian kids.
In the first half I’ve played the Fischer Random Match against Nakamura and four elite events (resulting in two 1st places and two 2nd places), enough to maintain the top rating spot (since July 2011). I always believe I can do better, but again, compared to last year there is progress (although the back-end of Norway Chess could have been more encouraging to put it mildly).
Looking back at all the events in 2018 more generally, I’ve felt in control during the games with few exceptions, and my seconds have done a good job. I haven’t been able to grab the initiative as often as I’d like.
I’ll play two more elite events in the 3rd quarter, starting with Biel late July. Playing quite frequently in preparation for the World Championship match scheduled for November still makes sense to me. I’m highly motivated for the match, and Caruana’s classical chess results after Wijk have been stellar. Quite likely we will have the first match in ages between the two top-ranked players in the world. It is also the second match between players from the early 1990-generation (in a row), and right now Kramnik is the only player above 35 in the top10. The average age of the chess elite has generally gone down in the last decade, despite Anand and Kramnik continuing to fight at the highest level. It makes sense, as chess has become more of a sport. While the increased focus among chess players on maintaining physical shape might mitigate the disadvantage of age, the age distribution in elite chess is showing more similarity with other sports.
Magnus Carlsen, Oslo, June 17th 2018