Magnus Carlsen is a phenomenon, says Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand, who has played with the Norwegian numerous times, said Carlsen is a phenomenon, which the chess world is still trying to come to terms with.

Viswanathan Anand during the launch of ChessKid in Chennai   -  K. Pichumani

Magnus Carlsen has been an unstoppable force in world chess. The four-time World champion and World No.1 player (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 like Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, among others.

Viswanathan Anand, who has played with the Norwegian numerous times, said Carlsen is a phenomenon, which the chess world is still trying to come to terms with. “Already, many people are calling him the strongest in history,” explained Anand.

Read: Viswanathan Anand joins ChessKid as mentor

“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 rest of 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 information.”

According to Anand, it is difficult to tell where Carlsen has gained over the period. “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 still is 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 finish in the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee (Netherlands) held at the start of the year. In the last two tournaments in Norway Chess and the 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.