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Norway chess champ wins three games blind

Norwegian chess champion Magnus Carlsen, the world's top player, has wowed chess fans by playing three timed games simultaneously while blindfolded.

Norway chess champ wins three games blind
Magnus Carlsen on stage in New York. Photo: Screen Grab
The blindfold forced Carlsen to visualise the moves on his three opponents’ chessboards, a feat made unusually difficult by the fact that the grand master had to play each player out of sequence. 
 
Carlsen's opponents were the hedge fund billionaire J. Christopher Flowers, who is ranked about 1,900 in chess worldwide, Paul Hoffman, the chief executive of the Liberty Science Center; and Gbenga Akinnagbe, who plays Chris Partlow in The Wire. 
 
The half-an-hour video, recorded at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York on May 5 has more than 100,000 hits on YouTube, with chess aficionados everywhere expressing their amazement. 
 
”I don’t like that they call him the Mozart of chess. He is his own man and doesn’t need wacky comparisons to other fields to justify his greatness.” AnthonyAllGood wrote in a comment on the video-sharing site, while Kristoffer Stalberg commented ”No person makes me more proud to be Norwegian than Magnus. I can't even begin to understand how a mind like his works.  Hope to see more of this.”
 
The 24-year-old is currently the highest-ranked chess player in the world. He does not, however, hold the blindfold simultaneous chess title. In 2011, German grand master Marc Lang played 46 opponents in an epic 23 hour session with an epic 25 wins, 19 draws and just 2 losses.
 
Though Carlsen won his games, he admitted to feeling the pressure, mainly due to the short time he had to make his moves.
 
”Now it was really stressful with the limited amount of time,” he said on stage after the game. “With the clock it’s a different matter entirely.” 
 
Dylan McClain, who formerly edited the New York Times' chess column, pointed out on the Chessbase blog that the match was different from most other blindfolded simultaneous games because he did not have to make moves on each board in a predictable order. 
 
“Carlsen had to respond to each board out of order, but depending solely on when his opponents made their moves,” he said.  “Two people who I know were stunned that Carlsen was able to do this were Ashley (he was shaking his head afterward) and Kasparov (I know this through a source and a friend).”
 
 

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CHESS

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.
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