King Carlsen’s fight is with history, not rivals

Magnus Carlsen won three rapid games, back to back, against Fabiano Caruana to claim his fourth World title.

It was in 2013 that Magnus Carlsen ascended to the throne, after defeating Viswanathan Anand in Chennai.   -  Getty Images

One rarely comes across a champion like Magnus Carlsen, who is not far from perfection. A champion dislodging whom can be so difficult – impossible even.

Carlsen, who retained his World chess championship in London on Wednesday, is proving to be unbeatable. He won three rapid games, back to back, against Fabiano Caruana to claim his fourth World title.

READ| Norway's Carlsen beats America's Caruana to keep world chess crown

It was in 2013 that he ascended to the throne, after defeating Viswanathan Anand in Chennai. A year later, he tamed the Madras Tiger yet again. In 2016, he beat Sergey Karjakin.

He, however, managed to do in London what the other challengers could not. He didn't lose in classical chess, as, for the first time in the 132-year history of the World championship, not a single game produced a decisive result.

Unlike Carlsen

It was so unlike Carlsen. The Norwegian, who turns 28 today, hates settling for a draw and prefers to fight till there is the slimmest of possibilities for a result.

When he refused to do that in Game 12, and offered his American rival a draw in a slightly superior position, many were surprised. Why should he take the risk of extending the match into tie-breakers, in which costly mistakes are very likely because of less time?

The world soon found out. Because, he backed himself totally.

Former greats like Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik had criticised his attitude in the classical games. “They are entitled to their stupid opinions,” Carlsen said.

That is not arrogance. It is the supreme self-confidence of a man who knows his fight is only with history, not with any of his rivals.