It seems Magnus is not the only member of the Carlsen family blessed with intuition.
Ellen Carlsen, who has represented Norway twice in the European team chess championship, had predicted her younger brother’s first win in Game Five. She had tweeted: “I got a feeling… Go Magnus” and “Maybe Fisherman’s Cove was the recipe for a full point? Crossing our fingers.” (The Carlsens had spent the rest day before the fifth game at Fisherman’s Cove, and not at Hyatt Regency, where they stay on other days).
While Magnus’s intuition produces moves on the board that have always had his rivals gasping, Ellen’s seems to be more of the feminine kind.
“I just had this feeling that he would win,” she told The Hindu shortly before flying home on Tuesday.
“Magnus was feeling well after the rest day and he was happy that he had done well to draw what was a difficult third game.”
Ellen continues to play in tournaments, though occasionally. “I began playing chess competitively only at 13,” she says. “I am now studying medicine in Oslo.”
She has one record though that no one could take away from her. Not even Viswanathan Anand.
“I am the first victim of Magnus Carlsen,” she states proudly. “He started playing against me and I was a better player initially before I became the first player he ever beat in chess. Yes, it’s also nice to note that I am one of the players to beat Magnus; there are not too many of them, after all.”
Fun to be with
Magnus may be one of the greatest geniuses of our time, but at home he is just a normal lad. “He is extremely fun to be with,” says Ellen.
“He has a terrific sense of humour. I like that a lot, but there are also people who don’t. He is into sports, playing or watching, when he is not playing chess. He is quite good at football and basketball.”
There is one more Carlsen sibling (Magnus has three sisters in all) who plays chess: Ingrid. “She is sister No. 3,” Ellen makes it clear.
“She has played in quite a few tournaments, including the World youth championship.”
So is Ingrid the second best player among the Carlsen siblings? “No, I am,” Ellen says emphatically, staring hard at you.
She says she enjoyed her stay in India. “It’s a nice place,” she says. “And I found the weather nice too.”
So what does her intuition say about the rest of the match? “I think it is going to be difficult for Anand to come back from a two-game deficit,” she says. “And I am not sure if the match would even go the distance; I think it might finish in Game 11, provided Magnus doesn’t get nervous as he nears the end, like he did at the Candidates tournament in London.”