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Will Magnus Carlsen Break 2900?

User Rating: / 37
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
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Magnus Carlsen's official website

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In January 2013 Magnus Carlsen officially became the highest-rated chess player ever, beating the seemingly unsurpassable achievement of Garry Kasparov (2851). Magnus ELO reached a skyrocket height of 2861. However, after winning Tata Steel Chess Tournament Carlsens February FIDE rating is expected to be 2872, which is another record. Many people have announced a countdown to 2900, eagerly anticipating Magnus to hit that ethereal mark. So, how good are his chances?

Magnus Carlsens rating history

As one can easily see from the graph, Magnus Carlsen is an improving player (sounds funny, right?). His rating tends to grow over time.

Rating trends

Over the last two years Magnus Carlsen has been steadily (!) increasing his ELO, from 2802 in November 2010 to 2872 in February 2013. He hasn't experienced any failures at all. Carlsens performances over this period range from 2826 to 2990. The young GMs last four results are particularly impressive: 2892, 2889, 2990 and 2933. These figures seem to prove that 2900 is a realistic goal for the Norwegian chess genius.

February 2013

Tata Steel Chess, 10/13, Performance: 2933

January 2013

London Classic-2012, 6.5/8, Performance: 2990

November 2012

Grand Slam Final, 6.5/10, Performance: 2889

September 2012

Biel, 7/10, Performance: 2892

July 2012

Tal Memorial, 5.5/9, Performance: 2859

March 2012

Tata Steel Chess Tournament, 8/13, Performance: 2841

January 2012

London Classic-2011, 5.5/8, Performance: 2888

Tal Memorial-2011, 5.5/9, Performance: 2860

November 2011

Grand Slam Final, 6/10, Performance: 2852

September 2011

Biel, 7/10, Performance: 2846

July 2011

Kings Tournament, 6.5/10, Performance: 2866

March 2011

Tata Steel Chess Tournament, 8/13, Performance: 2826

January 2011

London Classic-2010, 4.5/7, Performance: 2828

Nanjing-2010, 7/10, Performance: 2914

Will he make it?

While one one knows for sure whether Magnus Carlsen will break the 2900 threshold at some point or not, certain arguments can be introduced.


a) Chess mastery and ratings tend to grow over time. Hence, rating records are likely to continue being broken in the future.

b) Magnus Carlsen is only 22. Meanwhile, while there seems to be no scientifically verified data on when chess masters usually peak, the most commonly mentioned figures are between 30 and 40. Given his rapid progress, Magnus is quite likely to earn another 28 rating points at a certain stage of his career.

c) Carlsens recent performances indicate that he is already capable of playing at 2900+ level. Now its all about consistency.


The main problem here is the human factor. Unlike a chess engine, no human can keep maintaining a stable performance forever. Theoretically speaking, Magnus can lose motivation and/or interest in the game, or play somewhere off-form, losing a bunch of points. No one is insured against such scenarios.

P.S. Deep below on the left panel of the website you will see a poll titled Will Magnus Carlsens rating reach FIDE 2900?. Feel free to express your opinion; we are interested in it.

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Comments (4)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 11:47 29 2013 .
Hi Natalia, 
I would say 2900 is inevitable for Magnus, it is only a couple of months ago we were asking if he'd break Kasparov's record and he is now comfortably above it. He just seems to get better and better. He is determined, always goes for the win/best result he can and has many years to keep improving. I would not be surprised if he beat 2900 this year. The question of will he beat 3000 - that is more debatable but I believe he has good chances for that too! 
Best wishes
2. Written by Tarjei on 15:11 29 2013 .
It's just a matter of time. It can happen this year, next year or in 5 years, but it will happen.  
For all we know, he will do it during the Candidates tournament. 12/14 is sufficient!
3. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 17:23 29 2013 .
Magnus will do it. I have no doubts. When stating that he wants both the World Championship and to break 2900 shows his force of will.
4. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 07:29 31 2013 .
If someone is insured against maintaining that 2950+ rating performances It is Magnus.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 January 2013 )
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