Magnus Carlsen is arguably the strongest player of all time. His dominance is such that every loss comes as a shock. They remind us that even he has his weak moments. In fact, identifying the root causes of his losses holds valuable lessons for all players.
Cyrus Lakdawala’s search starts with a series of Magnus wins and draws to give the reader a feel for how incredibly difficult it is to beat him. The World Champion’s arsenal is awesome: a superlative ability to concentrate and calculate, near-perfect intuition, probably the best endgame technique ever, a wide and creative opening repertoire, a willingness to unbalance the position almost anytime, and last but not least: his unparalleled will to win.
How to Beat Magnus Carlsen has a thematic structure, which, together with Lakdawala’s uniquely accessible style, makes its lessons easy to digest. Sometimes even Magnus gets outplayed, sometimes he over-presses and goes over the cliff’s edge, and sometimes he fails to find the correct plan. And yes, even Magnus Carlsen commits straightforward blunders. Lakdawala explains the how and the why.
This fascinating collection includes the game that put an end to the longest non-losing streak in classical games in chess history. It lasted more than two years and 125(!) games, and ended when Jan-Krzysztof Duda beat Magnus Carlsen at the Altibox tournament in Stavanger on October 10, 2020.
It’s wonderful to have a World Champion who is not just incredibly strong but who is also happy to experiment and take risks. That’s what makes Magnus Carlsen such a fascinating chess player. And that’s why he is the hero of this book. There is no doubt that Carlsen has examined all his losses under a microscope. If he benefits from this process, then so will we.