Henrik Carlsen must be a very patient man. He has to interact with several journalists — Indian, Norwegian, Canadian, German and of a few other origins as well — even as his precocious son is battling it out to win the ultimate crown in world chess.
He is in no hurry to see his son Magnus being crowned as the World champion.
“I never had great ambitions for him,” he tells The Hindu.
“When he began to play chess seriously, I wanted to see him become a Grandmaster.” Magnus became a GM in 2004.
“Yes, he got his title (GM) when he was really young, at 13, but whatever he has achieved since, I see it only as a bonus. No, I wasn’t overly thrilled when he became the World No.1 or the highest-rated player of all time.”
What about the World title?
“I won’t be disappointed if Magnus doesn’t get it here,” he says.
“You see, he was very keen to qualify for this World championship match with Viswanathan Anand. He was very charged up for the London Candidates tournament (the qualifier for the World championship).
“Magnus felt he was ready now, as he wasn’t keen to be part of the previous cycle of World championships owing to a disagreement with some of the FIDE conditions.”
Though he taught Magnus chess when he was around five, his son hadn’t shown too much interest at the time.
“It was only when he turned eight that he showed some serious talent in the sport,” recalls Henrik.
“The first real indication that he was perhaps not like any other normal player came after a game against Anders Bekker Jensen, who was already an experienced player, at a tournament in Norway in 2000.
“After watching Magnus in that game, people back home started talking about him,” he said.
Now, the entire world is talking about him.
Henrik insists that Magnus has always been a normal kid. “He behaves like any other boy of his age,” he says.