Magnus Carlsen: Future of classical chess a little bit dubious

With a growing number of chess fans across the world showing more interest in the shorter time formats in online competitions, Carlsen has a good argument to support his point.

Magnus Carlsen

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen is unsure about any further growth of the mass interest in classical time format.   -  Getty Images / File Photo

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen is unsure about any further growth of the mass interest in classical time format.

The Norwegian genius, the most dominant player across different time formats, has continued his supremacy among the world’s best players even in the inaugural million-dollar online Chess Tour named after him this year. With a growing number of chess fans across the world showing more interest in the shorter time formats in online competitions, Carlsen has a good argument to support his point.

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In an interview to Chess Life Online published this week, Carlsen said, “In general, the future of classical chess, as it is now, is a little bit dubious. There are going to be a lot of draws when the best players in the world play classical chess over-the-board. There is no way around it, if you don’t change something fundamental that is simply not going to change. It is a little bit sad but I think it is very, very hard to do something about.

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“I also think it’s just not realistic to expect people to play long games online. I also think it is not realistic to expect people to watch it with great interest.

“So I think the rapid format is excellent for online play because you keep at least some semblance of high quality chess and it also doesn't take too long. You get more games in a day and that way you get more excitement possibly.”

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He categorically stated that in the next one year, he would not play as much classical chess as he did last year.

“It’s very, very likely that I’ll compete for a World Championship next year, but it is very unlikely I will ever play as many classical tournaments as I did in 2019. There is going to be, at least for the next year, a lot of focus on the online tour that is coming up, so I cannot spend all my time travelling.”

In spite of dominating world-class opposition this year and winning almost every title on offer, Carlsen said, “To be fair, I don’t think I’ve been very dominant recently. I want to be a lot more dominant than I’ve been. I think I played well in one of the events, the Chessable Masters. Apart from that, it has been fairly mediocre. I haven’t reached my full potential in these formats and I would say certainly during the last St. Louis event, I was just basically going through the motions. I had no energy or creativity. I was just not playing well at all.”

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