Norway's Carlsen: the young chess wizard

Norway's Carlsen: the young chess wizard

OSLO - Determined to dethrone India's world chess champion Viswanathan Anand, Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen admits two weaknesses: not being a good winner or a good loser.

Despite his relative youth, the 22-year-old is royalty in the world of chess - hailed by Russian legend Garry Kasparov as a Harry Potter-type "super-talent".

Since 2010, he has dominated the World Chess Federation's list of top players, with an even higher score than his one-time coach Kasparov.

"You cannot be a number one in the world and be a good loser," the rather austere Carlsen told reporters in Oslo last month.

"I'm not a good winner either," he added.

"I try not to rub it in to my opponents. Unless they deserve it, of course."

A fashion model in his spare time, Carlsen made it to the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013, even before the first game in the World Chess Championship kicks off Saturday in Chennai, India.

If he wins, Carlsen will equal Kasparov's achievement of obtaining the title at the age of 22, if a few months older.

Introduced to chess by his father, Carlsen showed off his genius as a toddler.

At the age of two, the self-taught prodigy knew by heart all the car brands and later memorised the long list of all Norway's municipalities, with their flags and administrative centres.

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