Magnus Carlsen – The King of Chess

Childhood and Upbringing

Magnus was born in Tønsberg, Norway on November 30, 1990. During his early years, he moved between Finland and Belgium with his family before returning to Norway in 1998, growing up in the suburban area of Haslum.

From a young age, it was clear that he was a very gifted child with an impressive intellectual ability. At 2 years old, Magnus could solve 50-piece jigsaw puzzles and at 4, he skilfully made constructions out of Lego pieces intended for 10-14 year olds. By the age of 5, his father (Henrik Carlsen) introduced him to chess, though he showed little interest at the time. Instead he chose to apply himself to memorizing the areas, population, flags and capital cities of all the countries in the world.

However, at the age of 7, sibling rivalry struck when he saw his older sister and father playing. It was then he started to pick up the pieces to play. In 1999 Magnus played his first chess tournament, the Norwegian Chess Championship.

Magnus started studying under Simen Agdestein and over the next 2 years, he would go on to play almost 300 rated tournament games, several blitz tournaments, and various other events.

The Teenage Years

After finishing primary school, Magnus took a year off to travel around Europe playing chess. During this time, Magnus was awarded the International Master title and the Grandmaster title. At the age of 13 years and 4 months, Magnus became the youngest Grandmaster at the time.

Magnus was ranked at the top of the FIDE rating list in January 2010.

His Twenties to Present Day

In 2011, Magnus’ FIDE rating closed in on Kasparovs’ historical record of 2851 (year 1999). In 2012, Magnus won the London Chess Championship for the 3rd time. His rating increased from 2848 to 2861 and surpassed Kasparov’s “unbeatable” record.

In 2013 Magnus won the Candidates Tournament and qualified for a World Championship Match vs. Viswhanathan Anand. The Match took place in Anand’s hometown, Chennai in November 2013. Magnus became World Champion by beating Anand 6,5 – 3,5.

In May of 2014, Magnus reached a peak rating of 2881. Later the same year he won the both the Rapid and the Bitz World Championships. In 2014, Magnus defended his World Champion title, and became the first player to simultaneously hold the title in all three FIDE rated time controls (Standard, Rapid and Blitz).



Model, Ambassador, Celebrity

Through his success in the world of chess, Magnus has become synonymous “cool intellect.” In 2004, he gained his first sponsor: Microsoft.

In 2010, Magnus modelled for G-Star Raw’s Autumn/Winter collection with actress Liv Tyler and has since been featured by media all over the world and appeared in TV shows such as 60 minutes, Colbert Show and Charlie Rose.

He was voted by Cosmopolitan magazine as one of the “sexiest men of 2013” and that same year, was also on TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in the world.

Magnus has also appeared in several ad-campaigns for brands including: Omega Watches, and Porsche. In 2016 a film documentary about Magnus’ life, MAGNUS, was launched at the Tribeca Film Festival and was sold to 56 countries .

Magnus Carlsen – The Entrepreneur

During 2013, Magnus also set up his own majority-owned company, Play Magnus AS, with the aim of using this as a platform to use chess as a tool to make the world a smarter place.

The company’s first product was a slick mobile app allowing users to play a Magnus Carlsen-tuned chess engine at different ages (from ages 5 and up). The chess engine was created using a database of thousands of Carlsen’s recorded games from the age of 10. His company also focuses on partnerships, sponsorships, events and physical products.

Moving forward, the goal of the company is to develop more digital tools for the chess world and beyond. His company will launch a new Training app in the winter of 2016.

Magnus Carlsen – The Philanthropist

As Honorary Chairman of America’s Foundation for Chess, Magnus has helped raise over one million dollars to bring chess, and critical thinking skills, to children across the United States.