Norway’s new six-year-old chess prodigy

A six-year-old Norwegian girl has defeated a chess grandmaster, who claims she is better than top ranked Magnus Carlsen was at her age.

Norway’s new six-year-old chess prodigy
Lykke-Merlot Helliesen celebrating her victory after the game. Photo: Screen grab from YouTube
Lykke-Merlot Helliesen, named after the grape by her wine-loving father, won a simultaneous exhibition match against Simen Agdestein in which he played nine girls.
“She played splendidly! She is much better than that Carlsen was when he was six years old,” Agdestein said after the game, according to the chess website
Agdestein was Norwegian chess champion seven times and is Magnus Carlsen’s former coach. His brother, Espen Agdestein, is Carlsen’s manager.
Lykke-Merlot has been playing chess for six months at a local chess club in her home town of Sandefjord. During that time, she has made remarkable progress, beating many of the best 12-13 year-olds.
According to her mother, May-Brit Park Helliesen, Lykke-Merlot showed signs of intelligence very early in life, tying her father’s ties when she was just three years old. 
”She could tie five different tie knots when she was three or four years old. Including a double-double windsor,” Helliesen told Aftenposten.
It was Lykke-Merlots own choice to play chess.
”She is fascinated by the game. She is fond of playing chess, and has never been pressured,” he mother said. 


Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has suffered his first defeat in more than two years and a record 125 games, while playing a tournament in his native Norway.

Norway chess champ defeated for first time in two years
Magnus Carlsen at the Energy Denmark Champions in Copenhagen in May 2019. Photo: Claus Bech / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
The world number one resigned after when he was a bishop down in the endgame against Polish grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who is ranked a relatively humble number 15 in the world.
But on Saturday evening, 22-year-old Duda managed to do what no one — including the world's top 10 players — had managed to do since July 2018.   
It was Duda's only win of the tournament in Stavanger so far and, as he told Chess 24 afterwards, “I didn't expect to win this game.”
But he was, he said “extremely happy, obviously”.
Carlsen, who is often tough on himself in post-game analysis, offered no excuses. “Extremely disappointing”, he said: “Completely unforgivable”.
Carlsen's undefeated run stretches all the way back to July 31, 2018, when Azerbaijani grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated him. During that time, Carlsen scored 44 wins and 81 draws against his opponents.