Not only did Magnus Carlsen win the World Chess Championships, but he did so in a spectacular way that is now part of chess history.

He made what looked like a huge mistake when he let his opponent Sergey Karjakin take his queen, his strongest piece. But already two to or three moves before this, he had seen what most couldn’t: that Karjakin would end in checkmate if he took the queen.

The match, which was held in the South Street Seaport in New York City, was the first World Chess Championship match in New York City since 1995, when Garry Kasparov defeated Viswanathan Anand at the World Trade Center.

During the match, a global audience of nearly 10 million people tuned in to watch on World Chess, the official site of the match, while 10,000 spectators and VIPs watched the action live.

Learning the game from his father when he was a little boy, chess early on became Carlsen’s consuming passion. Goal no. 1 was to beat his sister, and then his father, and it obviously didn’t stop there. Magnus became an International Grandmaster at the age of 13, and his career has been sky-rocketing ever since. He is currently also ranked the world’s top-ranked rapid player.

TIME Magazine annually presents its list of the 100 most influential people in the world, from artists and leaders to pioneers, titans and icons. In 2013 Magnus Carlsen joined this illustrious group, under titans. Carlsen is the second Norwegian Ever to make the list; the first was Jan Egeland in 2006 for his work with the United Nations in among other places Darfur. He joins other notable figures including Barack Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Kim Jong Un and Jay Z. In his description in TIME, Garry Kasparov, former chess world champion and a political activist, wrote this about Carlsen:

 “…Carlsen is as charismatic and independent as he is talented. If he can rekindle the world’s fascination with the royal game, we will soon be living in the Carlsen Era”.

Carlsen became a world champion on his 26th birthday November 30th. What better way to celebrate!


  • Is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, and in tournaments
  • Each player begins the game with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns
  • Each of the six piece types moves differently
  • Pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent’s pieces, with the objective to ‘checkmate’ the opponent’s king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture
  • Since the second half of the 20th century, computers have been programmed to play chess with increasing success
  • The computer Deep Blue was the first machine to overcome a reigning World Chess Champion in a match, when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997