What Is Magnus Carlsen’s IQ? Unlocking the Mind of the GOAT

Many consider Magnus Carlsen to be the greatest chess player of all time. He was the second youngest player to achieve the title at the age of 13. Since then, he has been the center of many chess discussions all over the world.

Chess enthusiasts consider him one of the best and most intelligent chess players ever. This is when the question “What is Magnus Carlsen’s IQ?” suddenly went viral.

There’s no official IQ test in Carlsen’s name and he hasn’t shown any interest in taking one. Yet, most estimates, considering his games and abilities, gave him an IQ of 190. To put it into perspective, only 0.5% of the world’s population has an IQ score of over 140!

So, what’s it like to have an IQ of 190? To answer this question, let’s first look at some basic concepts about the IQ score.

About IQ Testing

IQ stands for intelligence quotient, which is the standard measure of intelligence. It examines your capacity to identify patterns, think through problems, and visualize spatial patterns to measure intelligence.

Yet, there some are criticizing the IQ testing system because of the following:

  • Some argue that IQ questions are more relevant to people with specific backgrounds and cultures
  • These tests don’t take situational factors into account that can affect someone’s intelligence, such as access to education.
  • IQ questions don’t cover enough areas of cognitive abilities for us to consider it an accurate measure of intelligence.
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Magnus Carlsen’s IQ Controversy

In 2010, a Norwegian newspaper called Dagbladet claimed that Magnus Carlsen had taken an IQ test at Oslo University and scored 190!

Later, the University and Carlsen himself denied the claim. Yet, experts wondered about the possibility of such a high score. They also had doubts about measuring intelligence with IQ tests since they only test certain parts of mental capacity.

It’s indeed been challenging to provide a definite answer to the question “What’s Magnus Carlsen’s IQ?”

However, we can’t help but notice that he’s an incredibly intelligent individual. His exceptional ability to recognize patterns and his strong memory leaves no doubt about his remarkable mental capacity.

Magnus Carlsen’s Game and His IQ

Magnus Carlsen’s chess achievements have been incredible from an early age. He’s won everything in the chess world from the start. He’s so skilled that chess computers have ranked him the world’s top chess player consistently since 2011.

One of his amazing abilities is that he can turn any losing position into a victory. He also finds creative solutions to difficult positions in the game and he’s always unpredictable.

While an IQ score isn’t a sign of skill in chess, Carlsen’s achievements are indicative of his IQ.

Magnus Carlsen Away From Chess

Apart from his big achievements in chess, Carlsen has shown interest in various intellectual fields where he could show off his unique cognitive abilities. For example, Carlsen is an avid reader of the arts and sciences. He also enjoys reading history, philosophy, and psychology.

One of his hobbies is playing poker, which is another thing he has a talent for. He’s also shown interest in learning new languages and studying physics and math, which proves his advanced mental capacity.

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What Others Are Saying about Magnus Carlsen

Those who know Carlsen have all seen his unique mental abilities in one way or another, including opponents, mentors, and family.

His younger sister, Ingrid, spoke about his abilities from a young age and how it was obvious that he had a unique talent, “He’d play with Lego for hours without breaking his concentration, which we thought was exceptional.”

Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik, one of the recognized chess legends and the world champion from 2000–2007, describes how fast Carlsen’s mind works. He said, “Magnus is able to calculate really well and fast and he has this old-school strategic base.”

There’s also Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, who was the world champion from 2007 until 2013 when he lost his title to Carlsen. He sees Carlsen as a “phenomenon, which the chess world is still trying to come to terms with.”

Anand goes on to explain, “Magnus has an incredible talent for chess. He’s able to find the right moves quickly and accurately, and he plays with great energy and creativity.”

Combining everything we’ve heard enough about his remarkable capabilities and fast-paced thinking, it’s obvious that Magnus Carlsen is brilliant. Therefore, it’s easy to deduce that he can score high on an IQ test.

Yet, this leads us to another question: does a high IQ score make a good chess player?

The Relationship Between IQ and Chess

Now, with Magnus Carlsen’s impressive cognitive abilities, you might think that these abilities, including a high IQ, are essential to being a winning chess player. However, it’s important to emphasize that there’s been no clear link between chess and IQ.

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Some experts argue that a high IQ score is a crucial factor in becoming an outstanding chess player. They argue that qualities related to IQ tests like abstract thinking, pattern recognition, and fast processing of information are all required in chess.

Others find the relationship between chess and IQ is overrated. They believe that intelligence alone doesn’t make a skilled chess player, but experience and strategy are factors to consider too.

Magnus Carlsen has his opinion on the matter as well. He says, “I think it’s fair to say that people with high IQs are more likely to be good at chess, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee. It’s just one factor among many.”

Final Thoughts

Although the answer to Magnus Carlsen’s IQ might not be revealed soon, we understand that his success in chess is not only a result of his possible high IQ. His dedication, training, commitment, and ability to thrive have been key factors in his success as well.

He weighed on the correlation between chess and IQ, “I don’t care much about IQ. I think what’s more important is your work ethic and your ability to learn from your mistakes.” This, being said by a chess genius, proves that a high IQ doesn’t make a good chess player. However, it complements his skill set greatly.