Viswanathan Anand against Magnus Carlsen

Viswanathan Anand against Magnus Carlsen. World Chess Championship. 13th November 2013

A 22-year-old beating a 43-year-old world chess champion was quite the news in 2013, and raised a question in my mind. How could such a young man beat an expert player who had held the title of world chess champion for more than five years? Didn’t experience count for anything?

What I learned, however, is that it’s not the reward, but the journey that is important. I researched the journey of the young chess prodigy, Magnus Carlsen. Based on this research, I compiled a list of 7 important points that one can follow to achieve excellence.

  1. Find your gift: “It’s very important to know your gift,” says Magnus. So you should know what field you are interested in and where your passion lies. What moves you, and makes you want to devote all your time to it? What gives you the most satisfaction and enjoyment? It’s hidden inside you.
  2. Set serious goals: At a very young age, he set himself the goal of playing chess and playing it very well. It’s very important to set goals. Without goals, you are a rudderless ship adrift across the open sea.
  3. Keep your focus: It’s not unusual to get bored with a goal and to drop it, unfinished and unmet. That’s why focus is very important. “I am not the one to grasp the things quickest, but I never stopped learning…” said Magnus [1].
  4. Read books: Time travel is possible, not through a time machine but by reading books. You can learn from the years of experience of others in days. Magnus read a lot of books at a very young age. His father said as soon as a chess book or magazine would arrive, he would read it right away. Book reading is also one of the most important tips Carlsen gave to beginners [2].
  5. Practice, Practice, and Practice: There is no shortcut in life. To master, you must practice. Magnus played thousands and thousands of games to achieve proficiency.
  6. Keep innovating: “Magnus is a product of the computer era”, Anand told media [3]. It is very important to keep yourself up to date and adapt to new technologies and techniques. This is the way to outperform a lot of those people who don’t change themselves over time.
  7. Analyze: Take a break, walk around, analyze the moves of your life, learn from the failures, and plan your next moves accordingly.

Let’s live strategically and do our best!


[1] Chess and the Art of War [02:50 to 03:15]
[2] Magnus Carlsen’s 5 Chess Tips for Beginning Players [00:30 to 00:55]
[3] Magnus Carlsen a Product of the Computer Age…, Hindustan Times

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