Magnus goes all in on his 2019 schedule

On Wednesday, Magnus Carlsen played a 24-board simultaneous exhibition in Copenhagen, followed by a two-game match against Denmark’s top young talent Jonas Bjerre. Tomorrow, he will play rapid chess against world-class opposition at Lindores Abbey in Scotland.

Magnus’ schedule has been very heavy the past two months, and with the Norway Chess tournament approaching it begs the question: What is the optimal way to prepare for chess tournaments?

The old-school thinking is that you need plenty of downtime to recover from your last event and get mentally prepared for the next one. In addition, you need time to generate opening ideas and study your own games and those of your closest competitors. The old Soviet champion Mikhail Botvinnik was a advocate of this train of thought, advising only 50 tournament games a year (that’s about five tournaments).

Magnus is set to match that number by August – but success breeds success, and as long as Magnus keeps his captivating form, it’s great that his next event is never more than a couple of weeks ahead – yes, it’s a tiring schedule, but when confidence is high you’re eager to keep momentum.

Here are Magnus’ planned tournaments for the summer:

  • Altibox NorwayChess in Stavanger, Norway (June 3rd-June 14th)
  • Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb, Croatia (June 26th-July 7th)
  • GCT Rapid & Blitz in St. Louis, USA (August 8th-August 14th)
  • Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, USA (August 15th-August 30th)

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Photo credit: David Llada