Why Magnus Carlsen always late?

In recent world rapid and blitz tournaments, Magnus Carlsen has developed a consistent habit of arriving late for his games. On occasion, he has pushed the boundaries, being tardy for more than 5 minutes, a significant delay considering the fast-paced nature of a 15-minute per side rapid game. It appears that Magnus Carlsen is unfazed by the time constraints, displaying a nonchalant attitude towards time trouble. Despite his late arrivals, Carlsen adeptly maneuvers through his games, defying the odds and establishing a unique trend in the world of chess. The unconventional approach to timing adds an element of unpredictability to his games, sparking discussions about the evolving dynamics within the chess community.

This is not the first time. In the recent Twitch livestream of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz online chess tournament, the seat designated for Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen remained noticeably vacant. In the initial moments of the stream, the event commentators found themselves without an immediate explanation for this unexpected absence. Speculation arose, with some suggesting the possibility that Carlsen might have been confused due to variations in starting times compared to a previous event. The mystery surrounding Carlsen’s empty chair added an element of intrigue to the tournament’s live coverage.

When Magnus eventually settled into his seat to commence the game, the delay was a mere 30 seconds, suggesting a smooth continuation of the match as if the earlier hiccup had been inconsequential. The commentators, lightening the mood, began to jest about the unusual incident, with one expressing the view that it was “bizarre beyond belief.”

However, almost immediately after taking his seat, Carlsen abruptly stood up once more and hastily left the screen. A visibly unamused Nakamura raised his hands in exasperation, coinciding with a commentator’s observation that if anything peculiar occurred in the chess world, Magnus Carlsen would somehow be involved.

This scenario is not unfamiliar territory for Grandmaster Carlsen. It echoes a prior instance during the 2019 World Rapid & Blitz Championship when Carlsen, making a dramatic entrance just as the clocks began, took his time to sip from his water bottle. Subsequently, he proceeded to remove his jacket and meticulously arrange his chess pieces on the board, only making his first move 20 seconds into the match, leaving his opponent hanging in suspense.

Embracing tardiness as a potential new trend in chess contrasts with conventional sports etiquette, where arriving late is often employed as a strategy to unsettle opponents. This tactic is not unprecedented, as witnessed in cricket, where the Indian team captain Sourav Gunguly demonstrated a similar attitude towards the Australian cricketing legend Steve Waugh.

(Steve Waugh with Sourav Gunguly)

Such psychological maneuvers aim to exert pressure on opponents, conveying disinterest in engaging with them. This strategic approach notably proved effective for the Indian cricket team during the legendary Eden Gardens test match, where they secured an unlikely victory despite facing a follow-on. Magnus Carlsen seems to be exploring a comparable trend in chess, as his late arrivals coincide surprisingly with his ability to comfortably convert games into wins. This unconventional strategy introduces an element of unpredictability, reshaping the dynamics within the chess arena.

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