World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen recently took time out from playing chess to recap his previous year in chess (2015). He gave a frank overview of the year highlighting the highs and lows of his year. What is quite unusual is the fact that such strong player, a world champion, in fact the highest rated player in the history of the game being so accessible and sharing such insight and detail about his chess. Being so frank and honest about both victory and defeat. This is very refreshing. Players do give interviews now and then but it is hard to recall a World Champion doing this kind of thing. It can only augur well for the popularity of the game. We have been following chess for some time now and I cannot recall a player of Carlsen’s calibre sharing such information with the public.
In recaping his year Carlsen did not shy away from the disappointments of the year and pretty much covered all the events he took part in. According to Carlsen, he played the worst tournament of his career 2015. That tournament was the Arctic Open where he failed to achieve 50% in the tournament and lost in the last round to his Norwegian counterpart Jon Ludvig Hammer. It was probably the first time that a reigning World Chess Champion had done so poorly in a chess tournament. At that point in the year things were certainly going south but he managed to turn around the year spectacularly. By his standards Carlsen did not have a great year, but he finished it on a high winning the Qatar Masters Open and the Grand Chess Tour.
Carlsen is pushing the limits not just on the chess board but away from the board as well. Carlsen is reshaping the way we see the chess players and I think in some respects setting a standard when it comes to promoting the game. Just like his level of chess, the standard he is setting for promoting chess in the general media is very high.What an ambassador for the game we love so much. Hopefully he will have a better 2016.