Magnus Carlsen became known to the world as a chess artist. Nearly 13 years ago he began a sparkling attacking victory in a Dutch tournament with sacrifices on a single square: first the Bishop, then the Rook. I dubbed him the Mozart of chess in the Washington Post and soon the moniker spread around the globe.
On November 30, on his 26th birthday Carlsen found the same square again, this time to sacrifice his Queen. This artistic stroke won him the World Championship match in New York against the Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin.
Chess artists can suffer when they try to play too creatively. Carlsen knows that. Chess is a sport for him and the results count. “I want to win. No one’s interested in excuses if I lose,” said the late world chess champion Bobby Fischer in 1969. Winning becomes more than flashy combinations. Mind over matter plays a secondary role. Chess makes…