20 May 2013

Working with Wonderboy

After the little detour for Carlsen on Confidence, let's continue with More Early Carlsen, which was based on GM Agdestein's book about Magnus Carlsen, titled 'Wonderboy'. After writing those posts, I turned my attention to the subject of chess teaching and picked up the book 'The Chess Instructor 2009' (New in Chess, 2008), edited by Jeroen Bosch and Steve Giddins. The book is a collection of 16 essays about -- you guessed it -- chess instruction, primarily for children.

Here I was surprised and pleased to find 'Chapter 15 - Simen Agdestein: Working with Magnus', a short, six-page chapter which summarizes the early material in 'Wonderboy' (New in Chess, 2004), and continues where 'Wonderboy' left off, when IM Carlsen became GM Carlsen. Here, for example, is one anecdote from that chapter.

After Magnus became a GM, Garry Kasparov was in Norway in connection with a film that was made on Magnus and he suggested that Magnus should play fewer tournaments and train more. Kasparov also gave Magnus a little homework: 'Analyze four losses and spend at least four hours on each game.' That meant about 16 hours of work and he was only given five days on the assignment. I suggested we could do the job together, but it just wasn’t so tempting for Magnus and he actually declined an offer from Kasparov of a full time coaching program. He rather wanted to just play and have fun.

Carlsen eventually changed his mind. In another recent post, Kasparov at 50, I noted that one of the ex-World Champion's post-retirement accomplishments was

Training: Carlsen (Sep 2009 to Feb 2010; NB: Carlsen said, 'Working with Garry Kasparov over the last twelve months has been a unique experience')

What was the film and where can we see it? I'll tackle that some other time. At the end of his 'Working with Magnus' essay, Agdestein offered 'three favorite books on chess teaching':-

  • 'My Great Predecessors' by Kasparov
  • 'Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy' by John Watson
  • 'Fundamental Chess Endings' by Karsten Mueller and Frank Lamprecht (also mentioned in 'Wonderboy')

Something tells me that 'Working with Magnus' is not the last word from either GM Agdestein or New in Chess.

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