Magnus Carlsen is the Justin Bieber of Chess

 sports, carlsen magnus, chess, win, india

Remember Bobby Fischer? He was a chess master and won 11 titles from his accomplishments; it seems Magnus Carlsen may just be the next Fischer. Carlsen, a mere 22-years-old, from Norway, was considered the underdog as he faced off against eight time champion Viswanathan Anand, 43, from India. In Game 10, a 6.5 point win edged Carlsen to the win, upsetting the former champion’s record. The world sat stunned as the labeled Justin Bieber of chess, dominated to the finish.

Who Is Magnus Carlsen?

Magnus - 13 years old grandmaster
Magnus – 13 years old grandmaster

In early 2003, Carlsen started drawing looks to his prowess. At 12-years-old, the future grandmaster earned his first GM norm in 2004 and at the tender age of 13, received his official grandmaster title. He would become the second youngest chess player in history to become so. Carlsen always had a mind for complicated strategies, his family referred to his toddler years as an example. When he was around 2-years-old, Carlsen focused and completed puzzles and Lego sets, intended for older children.

An avid reader of Bent Larsen, Carlsen focused on playing alone – looking for various combinations to conquer the board. His father would support him by engaging him into movements and strengthening his son’s undeniable talent. As Carlsen grew into his own, he not only dominated the chess tournaments he participated in, but started developing a greater interest in the sport from girls who took an interest in the prodigy, fondly referred to as the Justin Bieber of chess.

Can Carlsen Ignite a Passion for Young Adults?

For years, chess tournaments and world championships have seen a line of experienced and weathered winners. Norway is hoping since Carlsen’s win is considered epic, other young adults will take interest into the sport.  Carlsen agreed and stated people he knows who never considered interest in chess, were glued to the tournament over the past few weeks. This interest

Carlsen with Tyler shines a trendy light to chess
Carlsen with Tyler shines a trendy light to chess

leads to a greater feeling of country pride and adoring fans back home.

Fischer’s 1972 match against Boris Spassky brought an increase of interest in the sport, once the match was completed and Fischer eventually retired; interest in chess began to wane, especially as electronic entertainment began to rise. Carlsen brings a refreshed look to the sport. Recently, he was named in a list of the world’s sexiest men by Cosmopolitan magazine, British edition. Carlsen had previously moonlighted as a model, famously modeling with American actress, Liv Tyler for a popular clothing brand. This level of trendy exposure can do amazing things for the world of chess and for Carlsen.

Carlsen Looks to the Future

After Fischer’ reign, Norway’s Garry Kasparov won the title in 1985, ironically Kasparov is also Carlsen’s trainer. Kasparov took to Twitter to share his impression of the young prodigy, stating he expects Carlsen to “shatter” every expectation as he proceeds with his career. The match against Anand took place in India, and was broadcast to Norway. Between the two countries, millions of viewers were glued for weeks as the tournament was underway.

Former champion Anand was humble and respectful to the young champion stating Carlsen “provoked” his mistakes, leading to his win. Anand has brought wonderful exposure for India in the world of chess and his championships are nothing short of amazing.

As far the future, Carlsen knows he has to keep practicing and stay focused. The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg took a moment to contact Carlsen via Skype, advising, “You’ve brought an incredible amount of young people to chess in the last few weeks. But that also means you’ll have an incredible amount of competitors from now on, because everyone wants to play chess.” Magnus Carlsen, the Justin Bieber of chess, has brought with him a new era into the world of chess. Trendy, popular and wickedly good – does Carlsen’s win get your competitive juices flowing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Angelina Bouc

Hindustan Times
Times of India
Washington Post

11 Responses to "Magnus Carlsen is the Justin Bieber of Chess"

  1. Rafał   February 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Magnus – the next Bobby Fischer? So will he disappear one day like Bobby? No way!

  2. Peter Bering   January 11, 2014 at 12:28 am

    The Armenian Kasparov is manifestly NOT Carlsens trainer. He contacted Carlsen unasked some years ago and was welcomed to give some advice a short while, but has never been his trainer. Justin Bieber is just a bad joke and irrelevant here.

  3. Agustin   November 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Wow, I got upset just by reading the title of the article… it just reflects the ignorance of the author… “quick rise to fame” lol he has been working really hard since he was like 9 years old that’s 14+ years, and he got famous when he drew the World Champion Garry Kasparov at the age of 14 or so, if you don’t know about a topic you shouldn’t be insulting and writing this article about a real genius like Magnus Carlsen.

  4. Chris Kenney   November 24, 2013 at 11:25 am

    He is a remarkable chess master, but Cosmo rates the rather nerdish Carlsen as one of the World’s Sexiest Men? Further proof that success and status are what really turn women on the most.

  5. Christopher   November 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    So from now on every man who is young, famous, good looking and talented will be reduced to “the Justin Beiber” of whatever he is talented at? Should we start start referring to every young, famous, good looking and talented woman as “the Taylor Swift” of whatever they’re talented at? Why not just appreciate them for their talents, age, fame, and looks without having to compare them to someone else. If I were Magnus I would be really upset to have everyone comparing me to Justin Bieber.

    • Angelina Bouc   November 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Articles and media outlets prelude to his sport and prodigy. Correlation of factors are relating to his youth, and quick rise to fame. As intelligent as he is I’m sure he gets the simile. I believe he has voice to use with the media if he was bothered by the term which was dubbed to affiliate impact in his field. The term also works to make people NOT familiar with the world of chess to understand that impact. Thanks for the comments.

      • gronemt   November 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        You’re comparing a product of the media and the music industry, namely Justin Bieber, with a guy who, at the age of 22, is seen as one of the greatest chess players of all times by most experts. Of course that’s insulting. Bieber is just some guy who got lucky, Carlsen is a genius. If you want to compare him to someone then pick Mozart, even though that’s also boring and tiresome. But at least there are some similarities.

        • Angelina Bouc   November 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          That’s where difference of opinion is a wonderful freedom. There are millions who see talent in Bieber and millions who don’t. The same as millions who see chess as a sport and millions who don’t. I can’t deny either their level of talent and commitment to their passion. That would be a recycled, never resolved review of personal identification. Thank you for your comment!

          • gronemt   November 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm

            Of course there are millions who see talent in Bieber. There are always millions with some sort of opinion. Sure, there’s some talent in Bieber, at least he co-writes most of his songs, though I highly doubt that his role is more than superficial. And even if it is more than that: is his talent really that great, is he pushing the boundaries of music, is he innovative, original (which are the things that are generally meant when people think of someone as a great talent)? Or is it just standard pop music with high appeal to young audiences? And how does that relate to Carlsen?
            I just don’t like these simple comparisons that are too often drawn by the media, I find it lazy, sorry. “There’s this chess-guy, he’s successful, young and somewhat handsome, who could we compare him to so that everybody can connect him to someone else who has nothing to do with the subject?”
            And as to chess and sport: even many chess players don’t see chess as a sport. The great world champion Mikhail Tal was once asked if chess was a sport and he was infuriated. For him it was art. I don’t know what it is, most likely a mix of sport, art and science, as the game constantly evolves and grows. Fact is: to become world chess champion, especially at such a young age, is one of the most difficult and time consuming challenges on earth. I think it’s easier to become the president of the United States. You have to be a genius and you have to dedicate your whole life to it. So comparing this to some pop singer (remarkable or not) seems to be a bit trivial.

  6. Christopher   November 23, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Wow. That’s unbelievably insulting to Magnus Carlsen. Magnus has absolutely nothing to do with Justin Beiber except that they’re both young, famous, and good looking.

    • Angelina Bouc   November 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

      That’s exactly the point Christopher.


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