What is Magnus Carlsen’s IQ? Is He the Smartest Person Ever?

What is Magnus Carlsen's IQ?

What is Magnus Carlsen’s IQ? Is He the Smartest Person Ever?

Magnus Carlsen, who is only 32 years old, has been the world’s #1 chess player since 2011. He’s known globally as a chess prodigy, having won 125 consecutive games, a record for the longest unbeaten streak in classical chess.

With such impressive accolades, many wonder what Magnus Carlsen’s IQ is. In this article, we’ll provide the answer and take a look at the key events that brought him such acclaim.

Quick Facts

Full Name
Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen
November 30, 1990
  • Chess Grandmaster
  • World Chess Champion
  • World Rapid Chess Champion
  • World Blitz Chess Champion
  • Peer Gynt Prize
  • Name of the Year
  • Chess Oscars
  • Sportsman of the Year
  • Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World
Place of Birth
Tønsberg, Norway
Fields of Expertise

What is Magnus Carlsen’s IQ?

Magnus Carlsen’s IQ is estimated to be 190.

To put this in perspective, Carlsen’s IQ is about 30 points higher than Albert Einstein‘s and about 90 points higher than the average person’s.

Although Carlsen has never taken an IQ test or even finished high school, experts have estimated Carlsen’s IQ based on his incredibly strategic playing style.

What Makes Magnus Carlsen So Smart?

What is it about Magnus Carlsen that leads experts to believe that his IQ is in the 190s?

Magnus Carlsen’s intelligence and success in chess can be attributed to several qualities and attributes that make him smart in the context of chess and beyond. Let’s talk about them.

Pattern Recognition

Carlsen possesses an exceptional ability to recognize and remember complex chess patterns and positions. When he sees an opponent make a particular move, he can quickly recall strategies to counter it. This allows him to quickly assess positions and plan his future moves effectively.

Furthermore, experts have noticed that Carlsen’s ability to recognize patterns extends to his observations of opponent’s habits. As a result of his observation, he is able to predict and exploit their weaknesses in a way that many characterize as psychic.

While it’s unlikely that Carlsen has a supernatural ability to see into the future, his knack for spotting patterns allows him to make remarkably accurate predictions about his opponents’ moves.

Strategic Thinking

Carleson is a master strategist, capable of formulating multiple long-term plans that he can adapt as the game unfolds. This strategic thinking enables him to outmaneuver opponents by mapping out future possible moves.

While strategic thinking helps Carlsen win chess tournaments, we can also assume that this general ability extends to other areas of life, such as problem-solving in everyday situations, decision-making in various contexts, and even the pursuit of long-term goals.


Carlsen’s strong desire to learn has motivated him to seek out new information and ask questions. Although he is known for applying this curiosity to chess in particular, this quality is not limited to the chessboard.

In interviews and public appearances, Carlsen has expressed curiosity about different aspects of life, including technology, literature, and other intellectual pursuits. This curiosity likely contributes to his ongoing growth and success both in and outside the world of chess.


In his approach to chess, Carlsen is highly adaptable, adjusting his playing style and tactics to match his opponent. His adaptability also extends to his mental game. Carlsen remains composed during high-pressure situations, allowing him to make sound decisions even as circumstances on the chessboard shift.

Beyond chess, Carlsen has also demonstrated adaptability to transform from a chess player to a businessman and brand ambassador, making him a multifaceted individual who can thrive in diverse fields.

What is Magnus Carlsen's IQ?
Magnus Carlsen has been the #1 ranked chess player in the world since July 2011.

Is Magnus Carlsen the Smartest Person Ever?

While your IQ is a great measure of certain cognitive abilities, it’s just one element that makes up a person’s overall intelligence. Many high-IQ individuals, for example, have low emotional intelligence and find it difficult to perceive the feelings of others.

True intelligence encompasses a range of abilities, including cognitive, emotional, social, and practical aspects. While a high IQ is valuable, it’s only a piece of the puzzle, and a well-rounded individual often possesses a combination of these diverse intelligences to succeed in both personal and professional life.

Still, we can’t deny that Magnus Carlsen is incredibly smart, and he’s shown this through some amazing accomplishments. While we can’t say he’s the absolute smartest person ever, his IQ is so rare that it’s only found in about one in a billion people.

What is Magnus Carlsen's IQ?
Magnus Carlsen has been competing in chess tournaments since he was 8 years old.

About Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen was born in Tønsberg, Norway on November 30, 1990. His mother was a chemical engineer and his father was an IT consultant. While Carlsen’s parents have said they believed their son was a normal boy during interviews, he exhibited extraordinary qualities even as a child.

For example, at the age of two, when other children were beginning to learn how to match simple shapes like placing a square peg into a square hole, Carlsen was completing 500-piece jigsaw puzzles. At the age of four, he could assemble LEGO sets meant for children 10 years older than him.

Carlsen’s interest in chess developed when he was 7, motivated by a competitive desire to beat his older sister. By the age of 8, he was participating in tournaments. During his early youth, Carlsen played hundreds of rated tournament games and studied three to four hours per day.

Following elementary school, Carlsen took a year off to devote to chess tournaments, later eventually becoming the world’s youngest Grandmaster. Notably, Magnus did not finish high school or attend a university. Although it’s clear that he is very knowledgeable, curiosity and self-study have been the main drivers of his education.

What is Magnus Carlsen's IQ?
Magnus Carlsen has defeated many great chess players, including Ivan Sokolov who earned the title of Grandmaster in 1987, three years before Carlsen was born.

Carlsen-Niemann Controversy

On September 4, 2022, Carlsen lost to Hans Niemann during the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri. Although Carlsen had lost to other opponents in the past, this particular incident was significant because Neimann insulted Carlsen during a public interview, saying that Carlsen should be embarrassed about the way he played.

The next day, Carlsen withdrew from the tournament and later put out a statement accusing his opponent of cheating, causing a stir in the chess community. Shortly thereafter, Chess.com published a 72-page report detailing the findings of an investigation concerning Neimann and cheating in general.

The findings suggested that it was likely that Niemann had cheated in online games, but that there was a lack of evidence that he had cheated in over-the-board (in-person) games. Furthermore, Chess.com uninvited Neimann from their upcoming online event and revoked his access to the site.

During the same month that Chess.com published their report, a piece of bombshell news broke that Niemann was suing Carlsen, Carlsen’s company (Play Mangus Group), Chess.com, the leader of Chess.com, and Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura for defamation, asking for $100 million in damages.

Ultimately, the judge dismissed Neimann’s case on June 27, 2023. Shortly afterward, Chess.com put out a statement that the parties involved in the lawsuit had reached a settlement, also noting that they welcome Niemann to play in their events.

What is Magnus Carlsen's IQ?
Although Carlsen has been a strong player in the chess community for many years, he announced he will not be defending this title as World Chess Champion.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Magnus Carlsen win-loss record?

Carlsen has played 3,372 games, winning 1,436, losing 504, and taking a draw 1,432 times.

Has Magnus Carlsen ever lost 2 games in a row?

Yes. During the 2023 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Carlsen lost to Anish Giri and then again to Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

Back-to-back losses had not occurred for him since 2015.

How do you become a Grandmaster?

The World Chess Federation awards titles to chess players based on their achievements. To become a Grandmaster, players must reach a certain Elo rating and meet specific criteria called “norms,” which are earned by performing well in specific tournaments

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