Our first story brought us a wealth of interesting feedback letters, some of
which are so detailled and so interesting that we are holding them back for
later publication. As always we bring you a selection of letters, chosen by
a semi-automatic process that is not dependent on the quality of the messages
– so don't feel insulted if your well-worded and content-filled message
does not appear below, while a number of trivial ones do.
We start with the first report on April 1st and the readers' feedback immediately
after it appeared.
LHC goes online – chess grandmasters worried
01.04.2010 – On Tuesday, at 13:06h
CEST, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland/France
achieved the world's first seven tera electron volt collisions.
It was a great moment in physics, but also a topic of discussion
in GM circles for some years now. There is reason for their concern:
could the LHC generate micro black holes that destroy the earth?
J.C., California, USA
Good one. Now I AM curious how the latest Deep Rybka would play on the CERN
S.H., Kabul, Afghanistan
The LHC story was certainly something for an April 1st joke on a chess scale!!!!
J.L., Puchong, Malaysia
Grandmasters concerned about the Large Hadron Collider? Yeah, April Fool to
V.S., Delhi, India
This definitely is April Fools special!!
K.M.L, Pune, India
Early in the morning on 1st April I wanted to see what spoof you had for today,
and I was a little disappointed. Chukky with his queen variation on chess last
year almost got me! This one is not at all convincing.
M.G., Perth, Australia
LoLs. C'mon ChessBase, the jig is up, I smelt this April Fools a mile away.
M.I., Sydney, Australia
I really liked your article on the LHC – it had me in stitches from start
to finish! Happy April Fools!
D.F., Essen, Germany
You guys gotta be kidding. This (the LHC article) is so obviously an April 1st
hoax. The Russian wooden bit is just a total giveaway too. But why on earth
should such stuff appear on a CHESS news site, for goodness' sake?
A.S., Iasi, Romania
GMs concerned about CERN collider: hihi, nice April Fool's day joke!
April Fool? Nein! How I wish you had a more deceptive and interesting story!
P.D., London, UK
Hahahaha. Good one! Happy April Fool's day.
E.B., Laguna, Philippines
LHC is a joke, har-har! Happy Fool's Day anyway...
E.M., Prague, Czech Republic
I certainly didn't know that April Fools has such a strong tradition in your
country. Nice one tho, I liked the wooden CERN mostly.
J.N., Lesmahagow, U.K.
Hmmmm! wonder what today’s date is?
Is this the most elaborate mixture of fact and fiction you have ever turned
out for the tradition 1 April celebrations? I used to think that the British
were elaborate hoaxers...
J.A.G., Bangor, UK
Ha Ha - Just realised your LHC article is April's fools. Yawn.
Fine joke. Only lack of GM Malakhov, the winner of the last European rapid chess
championship, who is also a physicist.
Visiting my father. Woke up early, and as he's still sleeping tried to keep
quiet. BUT: burst out laughing at the Russian wooden collider. Another masterpiece!
Keep up the bad work!
Hi Fred and team! You have surely tried harder this year. I seriously don't
know which one is a hoax! Fischer or LHC? Well done!
M., Saint-Maur, France
You know what? You guys should go fishing the first of May, for a change...
Good try anyway. Keep it up!
L.K., Chester, NY USA
Those who fear that the LHC will produce black holes that destroy the earth
should simply avoid equity. That way when the end comes, they will have lost
no property. Do not be an owner, just be a renter.
So was it the April Fool's prank?
No it wasn't. Everything said in the article was perfectly accurate: the details
of the LHD experiment and the first collisions, watched live by our group of
friends and associates; the micro black hole discussion amongst grandmasters;
the concern expressed by them; the proposed solution to Fermi's Paradox; yes,
even the wooden Russian collider.
This is Magnus Carlsen, on the way from Biel, Switzerland, to Mainz, Germany,
on August 1st 2008. We were rushing from the 41st
Biel Chess Festival to the Mainz
Chess Classic, and Magnus was supposed to catch some sleep on the train.
But he took such keen interest in the question of the Large Hadron Collider
creating micro black holes that could destroy the world that he stayed awake
for most of the journey. We described the trip and the first round of the Rapid
Chess World Championship in our report.
The above picture was taken on September 11th 2008 at 4:38 p.m. in a restaurant
in Bilbao. At the table you can see Marina and Boris Spassky, Armenian GMs Levon
Aronian and Gabriel Sargissian, Boris Radjabov, GM Teimour Radjabov. The subject
of discussion at the end of the meal, when the picture was taken, was indeed
the Large Hadron Collider and the danger of the micro black holes it might create.
Teimour Radjabov was the person who showed the greatest concern for the possible
dangers of black holes being created and endangering the earth.
The above picture of physicist Vera Spillner talking to Aruna and Vishy Anand
was taken at the Champions Dinner at the Mainz Chess Classic on August 2nd 2008
at 22:08h (thank heavens for the Exif information stored in these pictures).
Vera was explaining how micro black holes could be created by hedron collisions,
but that these posed no danger to mankind. In the meantime she has grown more
critical, but after redoing all her calculations very carefully still thinks
the chances are exceedingly remote.
Yisel Martinez, the girlfriend of Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez, is indeed a
physicist and has, since the reported conversation we had with her at the closing
dinner in Wijk aan Zee on February 1st 2009 at 9:15 p.m., actually worked for
another term at CERN in Switzerland.
The Russian wooden Hadron Collider is real, as you can see in many pictures
provided on this
site. Its builder, Nikolay Polissky, is an artist who trades primarily in
giant, incomprehensibly weird wooden sculptures. His intention in building this
Wooden Hadron Collider wasn't to create something that captures its essence
of the LHC at CERN. It is all explained in this video:
You need to speak Russian to understand all the details of planning and
execution for the LWHC
So that was not the April Fool's joke. How about the second report.
Fischer’s remains to be exhumed?
01.04.2010 – After his death on January
17, 2008 an Icelandic court awarded Bobby Fischer's estate to
his wife Miyoko Watai. Then Marilyn Young, Fischer's "Filipina
live-in partner", filed a claim on behalf of her eight-year-old
daughter Jinky, who she says was fathered by the former World
Champion. Now it appears the case will be settled by the disinterment
of Fischer's remains for DNA testing. Press
R.A., Neodesha, Kansas, USA
I think this joke was in extremely poor taste. Do you really believe Mr. Fischer's
relatives think this is funny?
E.P., France Paris
I hope it's not again on Fischer... Can't you leave the man in peace after his
This better not be April fool! Digging up the dead? That's no joke to his friends
and family. Even if it's true, you should've delayed the report for a later
date. Or at least put up a red label saying 'NNot an April Fool'. Take it down
quick! Otherwise you're in for a torrent of angry mail.
D.J., Aylesbury, England
You were lucky to have the Fischer story as a distractor for your Fools Day
offering. Vera Spillner is real and was at the Kramnik-Anand match and ChessBase
reported her conversations with GMs. I doubt whether the after dinner conversation
of Spassky et al was about the Collider and it is improbable that Radjabov is
"quite concerned" about it, but the real spoof element is the wooden
collider at the end of the article. It does indeed exist but is actually a work
Please do not simply publish a press release as if it is news. If it is April
Fools stuff, it is in bad taste. And do not simply call someone 'the Japanese'
as with Ms Watai. This is deeply offensive and borderline racist. Watch your
Another joke on April 1st about Fischer? Is your sense of humour so retarded
that you can joke only about dead people? You didn't manage to create a story
about Smyslov, but hey, maybe next year...
C.C., Lagos, Nigeria
Your article on the exhumation of Fischer's body reeks of the old 'April Fool'
Was this a tasteless April Fool's joke?
No it wasn't. We received the letter from Samuel Estimo, the lawyer and Counsel
of Jinky Young, who claims to be Fischer's daughter, on March 31st, during a
time when our Internet provider, the German T-Online, had in its infinite wisdom
chosen to take us offline for a period of 42 hours. We were only able to retrieve
and publish Estimo's press release the next day.
Magnus Carlsen's cousin in America
01.04.2010 – Two weeks ago we published
an interview by the German magazine Der Spiegel with Magnus Carlsen,
with a picture that one of our readers found familiar. "He looks
remarkably like my son," thought Professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige
of Lesley University of Cambridge, Massachusetts. After a little
research we discovered that the two are second cousins. Guess
who the American relative is.
Douglas Wiggins, Lowell
Nice April Fool's Joke on Magnus looking like somebody in America, and the possibility
of Fischer body being exhumed! Good one!
Pankaj Daga, London, UK
Geez! Another one! You guys are on a roll. So two stories this year: LHC worrying
the chess players and Magnus & Matt!
Jake C., California, USA
I'll call the bluff. It's another well-worded prank article. Close... but that's
Ching Kim Lye, Malaysia
Magnus & Matt? What an obvious joke! lol.
Roger Bharath, Toronto, Canada
"April Fool's" right?!
Teng Soon,Lim, Malaysia
A real cute one. Too much of coincidence in story but not reflected that much
in their face. Nearly passed by me until April 1 came to mind.
Sergiu Chirila, USA
This is a really good April 1st article. Magnus Carlsen related to Matt Damon
LOL. I bet a lot of people will get fooled. Congratulations ChessBase. This
was a good one. I'm looking forward to reading people's comments on this. Please
publish them, it makes me laugh so hard every time.
James Conway, Christiansburg, USA
Nice try. Nancy Carlsson-Paige is the daughter of John Walter Paige and Margaret
Johnson. Her maternal grandparents are Carl and Cecelia Carlson Johnson –
here the exact genealogy [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~battle/celeb/damon.htm]
Christian Sasse, Vancouver
I love it, well structured! So convincing for April fool's, LOL!!!! Thank you!
Marco Lantini, Italy
WOW! This is an incredible coincidence. was watching this film, "Good Will
Hunting" just last week and said: "OMG, this actor seems to be the
twin brother of Magnus Carlssen!" And now everything is clear thanks to
Vishaal Bhat, Udupi, Karnataka, India
Wow, didn't know they were going to make a film together. I mean Magnus Carlsen
and Matt Damon, with Fischer's Remains no less in a Hadron Collider at that.
Wade Caughlin, Grande Prairie, Canada
HAHA I almost fell for this joke, only took me two minutes to realize it was
April Fools!! Nice One!
I have to admit it looks more truthful that the other April 1st stories you
have published in the past.
Bibek Shrestha, CT, USA
Matt Damon is Magnus Carlsen's cousin? More like father. Hahahaha!!! What a
feeble attempt at April 1. Bobby Fischer's news is genuine though.
Momchil Nikolov, USA
Hahaha, that's a good one. Happy April 1st.
Bhaskar Somanchi, Tampa, USA
I've been waiting for the April fool article. The LHC fears and Fisher's remains
are genuine. So that leaves "Magnus Carlsen's cousin in America" as
Pal G., Avondale, AZ
You had me going for awhile... Good one.
Kemal Budak, Houston, USA
Today, I logged on ChessBase with the expectation of a good April 1st joke,
and as soon as I saw the news about Magnus and Matt I said to myself, "That
is it." An April Fool's Joke should have a convincing aspect. This year
you failed to do this. Next year I will be awaiting a better one. Bring it on!
Donovan van den Heever, Cape Town
April 1st hoax? Almost got me...
Luki Rocamora, NC, USA
It is indeed April's Fool Day, but nicely done!
Dr. Hilmar Alquiros, Aachen, Germany
Bravo! One of the best April Fools ideas ever – hahaha! Wonderful joke.
Andrew Plunkett, Orillia, Ontario, Canada
LHC, Fischer and Magnus and Matt all must be this year's rendition of the April
Fools ChessBase blitz attack. I was ready for you this time.
John Bispham, Cambridge, UK
Nice selection guys!
Rémy Artinyan, Saint Etienne, France
Even if it were not 04/01 it would be hard to believe! Great one!
Shiv Mathur, Mumbai, India
Okay ... last year I guessed them all wrong. Today I'm guessing the wooden LHC
and the Carlsen story. The Fischer one seems to be reported all over ... unless
they all picked that up from your site!
Bret, Normal, IL, USA
A very interesting article that really Provokes a lot of thought. Really, who
would-a thunk that Magnus is really the second cousin of the famous actor? Lots
of people must be shocked over such a revelation HAD to be unexpected. Of course,
we cannot quickly dismiss official-looking articles that make us laugh out loud,
when we take into account suspicious findings that are published on April 1.
Helcio Pacheco, Campinas, Brazil
This year seems like the news about Magnus Carlsen and Matt Damon is the one.
I actually believed in it when I first read! Then I remembered the long ChessBase
tradition on this day.
Indeevar, Bangalore, India
Nice attempt guys:-) Keep the tradition going!!!
Robert Asmussen, Neodesha, KS, USA
Sorry for my mistake. I couldn't believe this story was real. I should have
done a little googling first.
Mike Jaqua, Denver, CO, USA
Tough call this year. Which story is the joke? GMs worried about the LHC? Fischer
to be dug up? Magnus the Magnificent related to Matt the Moronic? I'm gonna
call the last one. The amount of genetic drift needed to have Matt and Magnus
in the same family tree seems too great. But just in case: when they dig Bobby
up, ask him how he feels about the LHC.
Pierre Noizat, Paris, France
It took me the full length of a millisecond to realize that this was your April
Fools' day prank: nice try anyway.
Dean Arvidson, Los Angeles, CA
I thought wait for it, it's sure to come. The physics details in the LHC story
are all accurate, and they wouldn't joke about exhuming Fischer's remains. But
Magnus and his second cousin Matt! A perfect April 1 story, particularly since
Matt's mother's name is indeed Nancy Carlsson-Paige! Well done!!!!!!
Zaki Niaz, Fresno, California, USA
Wow. Chessbase you did it again. This time you almost fooled me with this prank.
Even giving the history of how the two brothers separated and one (Matt's grandpa)
ended up in the US. I have to admit that there's some resemblance between Carlsen
and Damon. Love your site. Keep up the good work. Perhaps next year you can
fool me. Can't wait to see what you guys would come up with.
James Robertson, Seattle, WA
Happy April Fools! At first I couldn't figure out which of your news items was
the joke - Magnus Carlsen being related to Matt Damon, or Fischer's body being
exhumed? After a little thought though, I realized that the Carlsen/Damon story
had to be the joke. Fischer being dug up as part of an intercontinental legal
spat involving hidden gold is obviously more plausible. Nice try with the Carlsen
story, though. Next April I'm sure we'll learn the truth that Fischer actually
retired from chess to become a secret agent and then lost his memory, a la Jason
Bourne. But that won't be quite a shocking as the revelation that his second
cousin was Anna Nicole Smith, also known for her problems with caches of loot
and relatives of questionable parentage.
Steve Goodman, Falls Church, VA
Nice job, guys! You kept it surprisingly plausible until the final joke about
Matt Damon's next movie. Of course, Hollywood would turn that into a film about
a mixed martial arts champion who singlehandedly wipes out a vast international
terrorist organization. With lots of sex scenes and exploding helicopters.
Rick Aeria, Guam
James H., Elgin, IL
There are two stories that could have been made up by the masterminds at ChessBase.
I'm thinking the one about Magnus' cousin is the one though. I can't wait to
read some of the comments you get. Good job!
Big Alex, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I didn´t need even to read to realize that! You guys used to be much more
Lionel Nay, Lynn, Singapore
I am 110% sure it is an April fool joke.
Sanjay Padhee, UK
I am pretty confident that the story of relationship between Magnus Carlsen
and Matt Damon is an April Fool's joke. Matt's maternal grandfather is not Sven
Neel Neelakantan, San Francisco, CA, USA
Nice, very nice... Obviously the "Magnus Carlsen's Cousin" is the
April 1st news report. The other two stories (Fischer's remains and LHC) are
most likely true! Keep up the good work. (To me, the "rat's brain"
report a few years ago is still the best.)
Thiamhee Lai, Penangm Malaysia
This must be April Fools joke. And I think I know where the source comes from.
A few weeks back, some posters commented that he looks like Matt Damon.
Daniel Brandão, Florianópolis
Very, very funny. I could bet this is one more 1st April Jokes, isn't it? Some
time ago that story about Fischer helping other players almost caught me! Anyway,
thank you for citing my name in your pages, I really appreciate that. Best regards
and best luck for all of us in case of an LHC disaster.
Excellent April Fool's story - I was believing it until the Matt Damon part.
Angel Segarra, Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Seems plausible but... Damon is not shooting a movie about a Shogi chess champion.
This isn't a very good prank.
Your persistent follow-up to dumb similarity between Mag and Matt finally ends
up in stupendous hilarity...
First time I've experienced something like this! Excellent choices of photos;
exacerbates the likeness by stating "people in similar poses look similar".
Shivkumar Shivaji, Fremont, USA
The Magnus story is a hoax but I was surprised that the other stories have some
T.D., Pretoria, South Africa
Indeed, a search reveals that Matt Damon is a son of Nancy Carlsson-Paige. Normally
I would not have checked, but the fact that the story was posted on the 1st
of April made me check. So the only April fool stunt was the story about chess
players pondering the inticacies of black holes!
K.N.R., Hyderabad, India
Really I am surprised to see this article regarding Magnus Carlsen's cousin.
Just last week I watched Bourne Identity II (a few months back I watched the
first part), and at the time I was telling my friends that Matt Damon is very
much similar to our number one Magnus Carlsen. They agreed. Today suddenly I
felt very very happy to find that Magnus Carlsen and Matt Damon are cousins.
I thank ChessBase very much bringing this investigative and happy news to chess
players all over the world.
Karl Dunness, Brisbane, Australia
Aaah, guys. Take a few years off from the April's fools....
Carlito Agner, Raleigh, NC
Nice April Fools Day special. But you have made me smarter since you got me
on the Kasparov training one some time ago.
Priyank Shukla, Gainesville, USA
Magnus and Matt are second cousin. Wow, that's a good April Fool. You guys are
I.J.S-I., Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
I must say this time the April fool's wasn't that "fooling". It was
clear that the three news items posted were all a hoax. Maybe next time you
should also include real news.
Paul Ruffle, Westgate-on Sea, England
I'd like to hope that this is your April 1 hoax. If it were to be the Bobby
Fischer story that would be in poor taste.
Actually I think the Magnus + Matt story could also be a candidate for the April
1 hoax. If so well done. I like it. I repeat my hope that the Bobby Fischer
story is not a fake.
Alexander Jablanczy, Sault Ste Marie
Ha ha ha. Nice try the second hoax in as many days. No, the chess player and
actor aren't related, nor do they resemble one another in any way. The date
is April 1st.
Alfonso Ansó Rojo, Zaragoza, Spain
Very interesting! I've just read in Wikipedia: "Matt Damon was born in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Kent Telfer Damon, a stockbroker, and Nancy
Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University.
Damon is of English, Scottish, Finnish, and Swedish ancestry, and is a distant
cousin of actor Ben Affleck." So, is Magnus related too to Ben Affleck?
Frank Dixon, Kingston, Canada
I notice this article was published on April 1. Is this ChessBase.com's April
Fool's joke for 2010!? Ha Ha!
José Montes de Oca, Baní, Dominican Republic
Ha, ha. This year you didn't catch me, guys! Happy fool's day! Very funny: next
film is going to be "Carsen Supremacy"
Brian Theismann, Inver Grove Heights, MN USA
What on earth is going on there? Which of the April 1st stories were pranks?
Brian Esler, Portland, OR
Nice try guys! Read this article on the morning of April Fools day, and made
it nearly all the way through the thing without realizing it was a prank. Just
plausible enough to string me along (the resemblance IS remarkable), but ridiculous
enough so I sure felt stupid when I realized. In my opinion, your best prank
Link: New England Historic Genealogical Society link (provided
by multiple readers)
Chart Knowlton Line of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (PDF)
So this was the April Fool's prank?
Right – everything in the report was fabricated. Naturally Prof. Nancy
Carlsson-Paige exists and is the mother of Matt Damon. But her father was certainly
not "Sven Henrik Carlsen", the brother of Kurt Magnus Carlsen, who
actually is Magnus's father. And so, naturally, Magnus and Matt have not been
in touch with each other, Matt is not starring in a movie about a Shogi champion
who inspires a nation to put aside its differences and unite (as in Invictus),
and he will most likely not be visiting the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø.
Sorry if you are deeply disappointed.