05 August 2013

Magnus Carlsen Video Interviews

Last week my post about Magnus Carlsen Interviews focused on print interviews. This week I'll cover some video interviews.

The first interview, from a year and a half ago, Magnus Carlsen - The Colbert Report, borders on the silly when the Norwegian GM is challenged to a game of rock-paper-scissors. There is, however, one revealing moment.

(Q:) Do you see the board differently than a normal, average not-genius? (A:) No, not really. I just see the board, the pieces, everything. I think of patterns -- what to do next and so on -- but the pieces in general are just tools for me. (Q:) So they don't talk to you. [laughter] (A:) No, not too much. [01:35]

The next interview, Rainn & Magnus Carlsen get Metaphysical over Chess, also has a few silly moments, but there is one insightful exchange. [See also Rainn battles Magnus Carlsen in CHESS - Metaphysical BONUS!.]

(Q:) Some people view success in chess as you have to be more of a warrior and some people view chess as you need to be more of an artist. Which would you say that you are? Which of those is more true? (A:) I think I'm more of a warrior than an artist. I like to find some kind of art, some kind of beauty, in my games, but the main goal is to win. That's the warrior. [02:20]

During the March 2013 Candidates Tournament in London, the BBC conducted a couple of interviews. While neither of them approached the BBC's usual standards, they are still worth reviewing. Both are linked from a Chess.com forum post: BBC interview with Carlsen 19/3/2013. The first is a radio interview.

(Q:) Jon Speelman said of you, 'He plays on forever, calmly, methodically, and perhaps most important of all, without fear. This makes him a monster and makes many opponents wilt.' Is that how you see yourself? (A:) Being a monster is fine to me. (Q:) You see it as a war. (A:) No, it's just about -- as he says -- to keep the game going. I'm not so concerned with possible evaluations during the game: whether I'm winning or losing. I just try to make the best moves, sometimes the moves that are most unpleasant for my opponents. More often than not, I'm going to get there in the end. [00:50]

The second is a studio interview shared with Agon's Andrew Poulson, who does more talking than Carlsen. Magnus manages to make at least one excellent point.

(Q:) What's the dynamic between you and one of your big rivals when you're a meter apart playing in a match that matters so much to each other? Are you aware of the other person or is all of your focus on the board? Is it like playing a computer for all you care or does the other person matter? (A:) The other person matters. There are certain psychological elements. Sometimes you make decisions that you perhaps wouldn't have made against a computer because you think either for humans in general or for that particular opponent might be difficult to respond to. That's part of what I like with chess. It's psychological warfare at the board. When you play computers you lose that element. [04:07]

The next interview took place just after the Candidates' Tournament: Magnus Carlsen - interview with the new world title challenger. The 'situation you got into' refers to losing two of the last three games, which nearly gave the event to his main rival, GM Kramnik.

(Q:) Do you have the feeling that before or during the tournament you did anything wrong? Anything that could have saved you from the situation you got into? (A:) Probably during the game with Ivanchuk, at some point in the game I was just too casual. After all, I wasn't exactly used to losing. I always thought that if things go slightly wrong I will rectify it by making some strong defensive moves. It was a wake-up call for me, for sure. [12:00]

The final interview is Charlie Rose & Magnus Carlsen.

(Q:) Why do you think you're so good? What is it about your experience, about your game? (A:) I really wish I knew. Maybe I will in 20 or 30 years, when I'm older and wiser. I've spent a lot of time on chess, obviously, and I've developed a feeling for the game. I calculate well, and so on. But there are many others who did the same hours, who have the same dedication, so it's hard to say. What I do know is that the game somehow comes naturally to me. [02:15]

In a previous post I featured a different excerpt from this interview: Carlsen on Confidence. I'm sure we'll see more interviews in the coming months, especially during the title match with Anand.

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