Norwegian pin-up Magnus Carlsen to defend world chess crown in London

Featured Norwegian pin-up Magnus Carlsen to defend world chess crown in London

The classical world chess championship, the greatest prize in the game, will be held in London next year with Norwegian pin-up Magnus Carlsen aiming to defend his crown.

The reigning world champion, 26, will face the winner of a final play-off tournament in a grueling 12-game one-on-one match over three weeks in November, it was announced today.

Two American stars, Fabiano Caruana and the in-form Wesley So, are the favourites to face Carlsen, along with his 2016 challenger Sergey Karjakin.

They are among eight of the world's top grandmasters who will duke it out in a 14-round double round robin at the Berlin Candidates tournament in March for the right to play the champion.

Carlsen is a former child prodigy who has been dubbed everything from the "Mozart of chess" for his symphonic style to the "Justin Bieber of chess", for his good looks and trendy quiff.

In 2004 he became a grandmaster aged just 13 years and 148 days, making him the second youngest ever at the time after Karjakin.

Carlsen, who is in the UK this week for the start of the London Chess Classic, won his first world championship in 2013 before becoming the highest-rated player in the history of chess with a peak rating of 2881 in 2014.

He dominates the international chess scene, but has so far had an up and down year winning in the Isle of Man but also being dumped out of the World Cup and coming close to losing his number one ranking.

Outside chess Carlsen is a keen football fan and has dipped his toes into the world of modelling. For a while he was the face of G-Star Raw, the designer brand, along with Liv Tyler and Lily Cole.

He also has his own clothing range and has been the subject of the critically-acclaimed Netflix documentary "Magnus".

Oslo, in Carlsen's home country of Norway, had been widely-expected to host next year's the world championship but could not reach an agreement with the organisers.

World Chess, the commercial arm of the game's governing body Fide, then turned its attention to London.

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