Looking back at tournaments won (Tata Steel Chess, the Candidates and Sinquefield Cup), and the successful World Championship match, 2013 is without much doubt my best chess year ever.
But, I.m equally thrilled by the prospects ahead.
The continued motivation to improve and understand more chess makes me fortunate to be a professional chess player.
Taking a two months break after the match as planned unfortunately meant missing the great events London Chess Classics and Tata Steel Chess, but I look forward to play again in Zurich at the end of January and several more tournaments later in 2014.
Live coverage of the World Championship match in Norway brought the chess interest to a completely new level, and I also appreciate the great amount of national support.
The timing is excellent with the Norway Chess tournament again taking place in June and Tromsøting the Chess Olympiad in August!
For the first time since late 2008 I.ve taken part in the World Championship cycle this year. Frankly I enjoyed the match itself much more than I had expected and already look forward to the next match. The overwhelming media and public interest in the match strengthens the case for continuing the tradition. The system of champion privileges (waiting for the next challenger) is not perfect, but having a predictable qualification system has merits. The Candidate tournament in London was a great sporting event in many ways, and the next one in Khanty Mansiysk should be exciting as well.
For the time being, it could be argued that having the top rated player as the world champion adds credibility to the cycle.
Before the match we praised named and unnamed seconds, former trainers, current and former sponsors and others that have helped me get to where I am, and I was delighted to see many of you in Chennai during the match. To all of you, and to my family, my team in Chennai and manager Espen, Thank you very much!
I.m just back from a peaceful family vacation in Engerdal.
After returning to Norway late November, I.ve mostly relaxed at home and spent time with friends and family. I also celebrated my birthday November 30th taking a memorable ceremonial kick-off in Real Madrid . Valladolid at Santiago Bernabeu, spent one day in London for G-Star, visited my old highschool NTG together with the Prime Minister and the Minister of culture, and had some brief meetings with main sponsor representatives and award ceremonies with the media.
Early January I.ll travel to London and the US for sponsor events and as ambassador for America.s Foundation for Chess together with Espen and representatives of most of my main sponsors Arctic Securities, Nordic Semiconductor, Parallels, Simonsen Vogt Wiig and VG.
I wish all of you at Arctic Securities and the readers of this blog a Happy New Year!
Magnus Carlsen, Oslo, December 31st, 2013