Magnus Carlsen quotes: His most instructive advice about chess


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He’s the world’s number one – for now – and so who better to take inspiration from? Here we have collected 12 of the most instructive Magnus Carlsen quotes about the game in the hope his wise words will help you.

Carlsen talks about all aspects of chess from how to defend a dangerous position to what feeds his thirst for winning.

The champ, Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen quotes on chess

The Norwegian is without doubt one of the toughest competitors the chess world has ever seen, able to grind out results from seemingly lost positions time after time.

As many of you will know, next month he’s due to defend his world title against the American Super GM Fabiano Caruana – a challenge he will need every iota of his powers to overcome.

Top 12 Magnus Carlsen Quotes About Chess

So get ready for a rundown of the best Magnus Carlsen quotes, and try to keep them in mind next time you play:

1. Magnus on winning:

Some people think that if their opponent plays a beautiful game, it’s OK to lose. I don’t. You have to be merciless.

2. The champ on being confident:

Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them.

3. How he stays motivated:

I spend hours playing chess because I find it so much fun. The day it stops being fun is the day I give up.

4. How Magnus deals with intuition:

Of course, analysis can sometimes give more accurate results than intuition but usually it’s just a lot of work. I normally do what my intuition tells me to do. Most of the time spent thinking is just to double-check.

5. On the chess classics:

Contrary to many young colleagues I do believe that it makes sense to study the classics.

6. Dealing with desperate situations:

I can’t count the times I have lagged seemingly hopelessly far behind, and nobody except myself thinks I can win. But I have pulled myself in from desperate [situations]. When you are behind there are two strategies – counter-attack or all men to the defenses. I’m good at finding the right balance between those.

7. Magnus on his influences:

There wasn’t any particular player I modeled my game after. I tried to learn from everyone and create my own style. I studied past players. Truth be told I never had a favorite player. It’s just not my nature to go around idolizing people. I just go try to learn.

8. Why Magnus started liking chess:

One of the things that first attracted me to chess is that it brings you into contact with intelligent, civilized people – men of the stature of Garry Kasparov, the former world champion, who was my part-time coach.

9. Magnus on winning:

Not winning a tournament is not an option for me, unless it’s no longer theoretically possible – then of course winning becomes impossible. But up to that point, not winning is just not an option.

10. Magnus’s competitive mindset:

I am trying to beat the guy sitting across from me and trying to choose the moves that are most unpleasant for him and his style.

11. Magnus Carlsen quotes on losing:

I feel sorry for players who are always lying awake at night, brooding over their games.

12. Magnus on Bobby Fischer:

What I admired most about him (Fischer) was his ability to make what was in fact so difficult look easy to us. I try to emulate him.

We hope you enjoyed these Magnus Carlsen quotes, and we may update this after the World Chess Championship in London if he comes out with any more gems.

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