Towards the end of 2008 we discussed a cooperation with Garry Kasparov, and Espen Agdestein, who had already helped us secure the sponsor FAST the year before, agreed to work as a sponsor agent to help finance the cooperation. Espen has been the manager of Magnus from 2011.
Financial firm Arctic Securities and Simonsen Vogt Wiig lawyers have now been main sponsors of Magnus for four years already.
They share with Magnus the emphasis on focused dedication, attention to details and uncompromised quality.
Espen and Magnus have continued to make sure that new sponsors represent high standards, and later Norway.s main newspaper VG, software company Parallels and recently high tech company Nordic Semiconductor have joined as main sponsors.
For Magnus interactions with his main sponsors have provided valuable experience and perspectives balancing life as a professional chess player.
Magnus appreciated the 13 months cooperation with Kasparov, .the one who invented a lot of the modern concepts of chess.. He came close to winning both in Linares and Sofia 2009, and suddenly everything worked out perfectly in Nanjing 2009 resulting in clear first with 8/10 and an above 3000 rating performance. Later that autumn he won the Blitz World Championship with nearly 75% score, and the London Chess Classics.
In general, Magnus has preferred to prepare on his own during tournaments. He has worked with other strong GM.s on many occasions, and Ian Nepomniachtchi was also his second during the successful London Chess Classics 2012.
After the Kasparov cooperation in practice ended early 2010, Magnus scored 7.5/10 in Bazna in June despite less focus on preparation. Maybe the games lost during the 2010 Olympiad and subsequent Bilbao Masters served as a wake-up call. For the last three years his tournament rating performances have all been well above 2800 bringing his rating to an all-time-high of 2872 in February 2013, and securing yearly Chess Oscars from 2009 onwards.
Among his tournament victories are Tata Steel Chess (former Corus) and London Chess Classics three times, and Bilbao, Nanjing, Bazna and Biel two times.
Over the years he has played a few matches.
In rapid chess I remember vividly the 5-3 victory against Peter Leko in 2008. Magnus was under pressure in several games, and in one of them he had to find about 20 only-moves with 10 seconds increments to draw.
In classical chess he participated three times in the World Cup in his youth with shared 3rd in 2007 as his last and best result. In the Candidates earlier that year in Elista in Kalmykia, at 16, he lost a tense and even match against Levon Aronian after equalising three times in the classical stage (3-3) and rapid phase (2-2), before succumbing in the final blitz games.
Due to changes to the rules in mid-cycle, Magnus withdrew from the Grand Prix in November 2008, and he did not participate in World Championship qualifications until 2013.
In March this year he qualified for the match against V. Anand starting November 9th in Chennai, by winning the Candidate Tournament in London on tie-break after a tense finish. Peter Heine Nielsen was helping him in London, in addition to a team of other strong grandmasters contributing from home.
Kenneth Gvein and Metronet have helped professionalizing Magnus' digital appearance. Online activities will only become more important in the future.
Thanks go also to Basefarm for providing important hosting support.
Somewhat unusual for a chess player, Magnus became a campaign model for G-Star Raw clothes in 2010/2011. It was flattering that they wanted to renew the cooperation for 2014, as announced last week.
Magnus.s last tournament before the World Championship match was the Sinquefield Cup in St.Louis in September and he won quite convincingly with 4.5/6.
Last but not least, we would like to thank all the unnamed, but not forgotten, tournament organisers, organisations, chess colleagues, seconds, spectators, fans and friends that have been supportive and contributed with practical help, encouragement, enthusiasm or otherwise on the long road to Chennai 2013. Thank you!
For Team Carlsen, Henrik C., November 3rd, 2013