When former World Champion Garry Kasparov took over as coach of Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen in the middle of 2009, his aim was to guide the 19-year-old to the top spot in the rankings. But even Kasparov would not have thought that his protégé would fulfil his dream so early.
Following some stunning performances in the Pearl Springs Chess Tournament at Nanjing, China, in September and the London Chess Classic in December, Carlsen was on Monday anointed the reigning deity of chess world — the top-ranked player in the January 2010 rankings announced by the sport’s world governing body, FIDE on Friday.
Carlsen, who tops the rankings with a rating of 2810 ELO, leads Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria by five points and India’s reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand, placed third at 2790, by 20 points.
Carlsen, 19, thus becomes the youngest World No. 1, breaking his mentor Kasparov’s record by nearly three years. Kasparov became the world’s top ranked chess players at the age of 22 in 1985 after beating Anatoly Karpov in their rescheduled World Championship final clash.
Carlsen is the fifth player after Kasparov, Kramnik, Topalov and Anand to cross 2800 ELO rating. Now the aim for the Norwegian teenager will be not only to hold on to the top spot in the rankings but also to break Kasparov’s record as the youngest world champion. Kasparov became the World Champion at the age 22 and Carlsen now has three years to achieve the feat.
Carlsen will take his first step towards that goal when he joins seven other players in the Candidates Tournament to be held at the end of this year in Armenia and Azerbaijan.