Carlsen’s first “super victory” in 18 months: – I’ve been struggling for a long time
It was 18 months since Magnus Carlsen (27) last won a big tournament in classic chess before he won one of his favourite tournaments, the Tata Steel tournament in the windy town of Wijk an Zee in the southern parts of the Netherlands.
He put an end to winning the traditional Wijk aan Zee tournament for the sixth time – more than anyone else in history.
– I’ve been struggling in classical chess for a long time, says the Norwegian chess hero to VG.
– It has been satisfactory in other formats, but not in classical chess , he says on the phone from the Netherlands. His voice reveals that he is very happy with the win.
Carlsen won the tournament thanks to a rematch victory over the home favourite Anish Giri, 23, who achieved his best performance ever.
As late as during Christmas, Carlsen became the world champion in blitz chess, and won several major tournaments in the fast-paced disciplines in 2017.
Classic form has been absent
But in classical chess it has not been good. We must return to the Bilbao tournament in July 2016 to find Carlsen’s last victory in a classic event.
– I had a completely different harmony in the game this time around, Carlsen states.
– Why is that?
– I feel that I have found my form during the tournament. The last part of the tournament here in Wijk aan Zee has been better than the first. Overall, I had a positive trend in 2017, says the world champion in classical chess.
He defended the World Championship title in classic chess in November 2016, and he intends to repeat the feat in November.
– How much does this victory mean to you?
– It means a lot. It’s a giant relief.
– And that you are the first in history to win this traditional tournament six times?
– This is a very special tournament – with a long tradition. That’s makes it all the more pleasing.
Carlsen has won four of the last five times he has played in Wijk aan Zee: 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. In 2017 he became number two, and in 2014 he dropped the tournament – just after he became world champion for the first time – against Viswanathan “Wishy” Anand in Chennai.
This is his 9th triumph in a decider out of nine since 2007.
The next task for Carlsen is the so-called “Fischer Random” match against his arch rival , Hikaru Nakamura, at the Henie-Onstad Art Center in Bærum. With wall-to-wall coverage on NRK.
– I look forward to that very much. It is fun to play chess just now and I intend to win.
Is it special that the opponent is Nakamura?
– To say like this: It’s not fun to lose to Nakamura, no matter what the format is.
Recently, Carlsen and Nakamura were in the finals of an online tournament in blitz chess arranged by chess.com. At that event the Norwegians crushed him
© VG / Norway Today