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The World Champion and the One-Day World Champion's Father

Dresden, 21/11/2008

GM Dominguez and dad of GM Carlsen discuss recent successes

Newly crowned World Blitz Chess Champion GM Leinier Dominguez has not even been back to Cuba since winning his title earlier this month in Kazakhstan. He said he has received tons of support, but not the throngs he would get if his plane touched down on native soil. Henrik Carlsen, father of Norwegian GM and success-laden progeny Magnus, says his son is starting to also realize the pains of the travel schedule of a professional chess player. While Magnus enjoys playing much more than studying, Henrik said that his son is realizing that 200 days of annual travel will not be ideal going forward. "[The amount of travel] is a little on the high side," Henrik said. "You may see a little less of him next year."

Chess fans will, however, be seeing more of Dominguez next year. With his title came invites to the Corus "A" group in January and Linares in February.

"I feel great because I always wanted to play strong tournaments," he said. "I'm very motivated and I will start my preparation." Dominguez has been steadily increasing since the last Olympiad, gaining 70 ELO points and moving up to play first board for Cuba. "We had high expectations. We wanted to fight for the first places in the tourney." A dogged Dominguez has scored +2 in playing every game for his team so far.

Henrik's focus has been on raising a well-rounded child who happens to be several standard deviations better at one activity. The father grew up playing ignominious chess, but now his family will forever remain in the spotlight.

"I'm used to watching the great players from a distance," he said. "Now they're close up. Magnus is part of the circus…If you had told me ten years ago this was possible, I wouldn't have believed it."

He said Magnus likes music, sports and socializing with friends. Besides his chess talent "he is a quite the normal 17-year-old…at home is a normal family atmosphere."

Still, Henrik seems to know that there is always an asterisk next to his definition of "normal."

"I'm starting to get used to this," Henrik said. "Magnus is playing in his third Olympiad already."

Text: Mike Klein
Photos: Georgios Souleidis