Chess grandmaster becomes No. 1 in fantasy soccer

<p>
              Liverpool's Mohamed Salah gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
            </p>

Magnus Carlsen is a No. 1 player in both reality and fantasy.

The world chess champion from Norway is showing he has a flair for another game by moving to the top of the standings in Fantasy Premier League, an online soccer competition played by more than 7 million people.

The 29-year-old Carlsen even changed the bio on his Twitter page to reflect his new-found status. It now reads: “The highest ranked chess player in the world. Current (live) #1 Fantasy Premier League player.”

The fantasy game involves picking a squad of 15 players from Premier League clubs who score points through goals, assists, defensive shutouts and a few other elements during each round of games in England’s top division.

Carlsen’s team, which he has called “Kjell Ankedal,” rose to No. 1 in the world on Saturday after Mohamed Salah scored twice for Liverpool in its 2-0 win over Watford. Carlsen picked Salah as his captain, which means he earned double points from the Liverpool forward.

“Since a lot of people are asking about my FPL strategy,” Carlsen told his more than 247,000 followers on Twitter, “mine is the not so groundbreaking one of part stats and part gut feeling.”

It was working well in a game played by 7,190,421 players from around the world this season. Carlsen also did well in FPL two seasons ago, finishing in 2,397th place.

Carlsen became chess grandmaster for the first time in 2013 when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India.