Magnus Carlsen has been an unstoppable force in world chess. The four-time World champion and World No. 1 (for the last eight years) has been in terrific form this year, winning all the tournaments (seven) he has played.
Rightfully, the 28-year-old has drawn comparisons with greats such as Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, among others.
Viswanathan Anand, who has played the Norwegian numerous times, says Carlsen is a phenomenon the chess world is still trying to come to terms with.
“Already, many people are calling him the strongest in history. And, he has very strong arguments,” said Anand.
“His results this year is simply [great]…. difficult to find words. [It’s been] completely off the charts. I think the chess world is still in a bit of a shock. The players are struggling to deal with a phenomenon [like him]. Even in 2012-13, his domination was less than it is this year. Everyone is still processing this,” he said.
According to Anand, it is difficult to tell where Carlsen has gained over the years.
“It’s always been his ability to try till the very end. He makes a lot out of very little. With very small advantage or in equal positions, he is still able to see opportunity. That has always been his strength. What has changed this year, nobody knows,” he said.
The year 2019 has been a tough one for Anand. The 49-year-old Indian played in six tournaments and his best has been a fifth place in the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee (Netherlands) at the start of the year.
In the last two tournaments — Norway Chess and Grand Chess tour in Zagreb (second leg) — Anand finished joint seventh and joint ninth respectively.
“You are probably aware that the last couple of tournaments have been difficult. [My] first aim is to pause a bit and try and figure out what went wrong and hopefully get back… The calendar doesn’t really stop for you. I will next play in Paris (July 27) and St. Louis (August 10), and hope to recover before that,” he said.