Even his world-renowned trainer would not have imagined that the ‘Kasparov effect’ would make its mark so soon.
Within months of training under former world champion Garry Kasparov, 18-year-old Magnus Carlsen of Norway crossed the 2800-mark in Elo ratings on Saturday with a stunning performance at the 2nd Pearl Springs Chess Tournament at Nanjing, China.
He gained a whopping 29 points and will overtake Vishwanathan Anand as the second-ranked player in the world on the next rankings list to be released on November 1. Carlsen will be rated 2801 behind Topalov (2810) with Levon Aronian of Armenia (2791) and Anand (2788) placed third and fourth respectively.
Carlsen, who started the event on 2772, is only the fifth player to scale Peak 2800 since the Elo rating system was approved in 1970 by FIDE, chess’ apex governing body. Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Anand and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria are the others to achieve this feat. Kasparov attained the highest rating ever of 2851 in July 2000.
In Nanjing, Carlsen finished on eight points out of a possible 10 in the six-player, double round-robin tournament featuring World No. 1 Topalov (2813), No. 6 Peter Leko (2762) of Hungary, No. 7 Teimour Radjabov (2757) of Azerbaijan, No. 11 Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia and Wang Yue of China. Topalov finished sole second on 5.5 points. What has stunned the chess world is that Carlsen won six games out of 10 while only two other players — Topalov (2 wins) and Jakovenko (1) — could register wins.
While taking over as Carlsen’s trainer early this year, Kasparov had vowed to help him become World No 1 by end of 2010. The young Norwegian might achieve that in 2009.
He will get a chance to upstage Topalov when he takes on a strong field including Anand, Kramnik and Vassily Ivanchuk at the Tal Memorial in Moscow from November 5.
Going by his current form, Carlsen could even overtake his teacher as the youngest world No. 1 ever. Kasparov had become the world No. 1 in 1984 at the age of 22.