In his first year as a Grandmaster in 2004/5, the progress seemed to slow down. While optimistically trying hard to beat his GM opponents, Magnus did not yet have the necessary playing strength and lost many games and rating points.
Maybe his opponents played more conservatively, and when taking risks to try to win it often back-fired. Magnus himself seemed as eager and motivated as before, but anyhow it must have felt good to beat players like former World Championship contender Nigel Short and Alexei (fire-on-board) Shirov amidst his losses.
In the game against the latter at the Drammen tournament . sponsored by Smartfish, a long time personal sponsor of Magnus - around New Year 2005, Magnus left a rook hanging seemingly without much compensation. He went on to win a beautiful game. That both players thought the sacrifice simply represented the move required in the position did not diminish the excitement felt by many spectators.
Garry Kasparov was in Oslo during the tournament in connection with the .Prince of Chess.-documentary, and Magnus and Garry talked for an hour or two after his game against Macieja. Garry snubbed Magnus for being unrealistically optimistic trying to win a position that required a precise defence just to draw. Magnus visited Garry in Moscow in March 2005 but their main cooperation was still nearly four years into the future.

The emergence of worldwide internet access provided young chess players the opportunity to play online. From year 2000 Magnus spent countless hours playing at ICC (receiving a lot of technical help from Tarjei Svensen) and later Playchess.
He received chess engines and databases from Friedel at Chessbase, but labelling Magnus as part of the computer generation of chess is clearly misleading.
Magnus prefers and has always preferred to analyse chess on the board (or in his head), and he does not like to play against computers.

Judging from the results, Magnus started playing at a new level in the European Championship in 2005. He won the last two rounds - the last against Peter Heine Nielsen whom he had cooperated with earlier - and he qualified for the World Cup in December. In the World Cup, during which he turned 15, he came 10th overall and qualified for the Candidates (as the youngest ever). His rating shot up from 2530 towards 2700 in 15 months, and he started getting invitations to elite events.
Trying to adjust to the new level of opposition in Tal Memorial 2006 and Corus A 2007, he started winning games at the top level and shared 2nd place in Linares 2007.
Early great tournament successes including winning Biel 2007, sharing first with Aronian in Corus A 2008 with the whole elite present, shared first in the Baku Grand Prix and clear 1st in Foros 2008.
He continued to surprise his opponents in the opening by playing a variety of openings and variations. I especially remember some interesting Sicilian Dragon games, inspired by analysis help from chess theoretician Dag Sodtholt.

Magnus was no 1 on live rating for a few days in September 2008, at 17.
Still, towards the end of 2008 Magnus felt something was missing. Compensating for lack of experience and deep opening knowledge through energetic fighting spirit on the board was highly exhausting, and in 2009 he started a cooperation with Garry Kasparov.
To be continued.
For Team Carlsen, Henrik C., November 1st, 2013