World chess champion Magnus Carlsen close to topping Premier League Fantasy Football table featuring 7 MILLION players
Last weekend's results moved the grandmaster within touching distance of topping the league in the online game which awards players points based on the real-life performances of players in the English Premier League.
Carlsen has been an avid player for years but admits that he has never quite performed as well as this year his team, Kjell Ankedal, look certain to improve on his top score of finishing in the top 3,000 players two seasons ago.Also on rt.com 'The best goal of my career': Watch the brilliant backheel Luis Suarez says is his BEST EVER strike (VIDEO)
His team immediately established itself in the top 1,000 in the early weeks of the English season and has continued to go from strength to strength since then, rising up the ranks on a weekly basis.
Chess reported Tarjei Svensen, who has known Carlsen since he was a child, says that the grandmaster's avid pursuit of English football - tied to his analytical brain - have made him a forced to be reckoned with in the game.
"His ability at fantasy league has been known for a couple of seasons now, but this season has been exceptional and he’s had another good week," Svensen said to The Guardian.
"His rise up the charts is incredible. He had a really good year for a while last season and then he dropped a couple of hundred places at the end of the season, but he was still in the top 1,000.
"It is a similar game, it requires planning and strategy. And he has an incredible memory which helps."
Svenson's team this year is comprised of a mix of established players who most would expect to do well along with a core of promising players from lesser-heralded clubs - many of whom who have had a breakout season in the English top flight.
In addition to standard players like Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Son Heung-min, Carlsen's team also features Sheffield United’s John Lundstram who has had a tremendous season for the Premier League newcomers.Also on rt.com ‘One of the greatest individual goals you will see’: South Korean star Son Heung-min scores SENSATIONAL solo goal (VIDEO)
Despite his fandom of the English game, Svenson says that there isn't a particular team that Carlsen holds dear as his loyalties lie with Real Madrid.
"He is just a huge football fan, he watches everything," he said. "I once went to White Hart Lane with him to watch Spurs. But he doesn’t have a favourite English team, he supports Real Madrid."