Magnus Carlsen on the Colbert report
As we recently
reported the world's highest ranked chess player, Magnus Carlsen, had, like
President Barack Obama and Beatle Paul McCartney, been invited toe the American
satirical Colbert Report. Yesterday was the day and here is the memorable appearance:
You can watch the full episode of the April 24 Colbert Report here.
The Colbert Report is a spin-off from The
Daily Show that satirizes conservative personality-driven political
pundit programs. The show focuses on a fictional anchorman character named Stephen
Colbert who is a "well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot."
You can watch the show regularly here.
In the Colbert Report Magnus is asked about the way he thinks in chess, his
image as a fashion model and his views on Bobby Fischer. Here is a transcript:
Steven Colbert: My guest tonight is currently
the number one ranked chess player in the world. I'm gonna ask him what the
little horsy does. Please welcome Magnus Carlsen! Magnus, thank you so much
for coming on, honored to meet you – Magnus Carlsen. We're not so different,
you and I, we're both geniuses, number one in our fields and both very young.
Magnus Carlsen: I can say that, yeah!
You are the third youngest grandmaster of all time. And you were the
youngest – aged nineteen – the youngest number one chess player
in the world. How old were you when you started playing?
I was about eight.
Eight years old. And by the time you were thirteen you were a grandmaster.
What was the affinity you had for chess from the beginning?
I don't know. I just started playing, I liked the game and I started studying
But a lot of people like the game. What do you see when you look at a
chessboard. Are you seeing, like, little wooden pieces on a board, or are
you seeing some sort of fouth dimensional tesseracts. Do the pieces turn to
you in your mind and talk to you and say "move me Magnus"? Do you
see the board differently than a normal, average, not-genius?
No, not really. I just see the board, the pieces, everything, and obviously
I think of patterns, what to do next and so on. But the pieces, in general,
they're just tools for me.
So they don't talk to you?
No, not too much, no.
Now you're not just a chess player, you've also done a little bit of
modeling. Jim, do we have those photographs here... That might be
the sexiest chess player I've ever seen.
In Europe, where they love the chess, you're a superstar, right?
Especially in Norway.
Okay, in Norway you've two big sports. You've got chess and... sadness.
It's an indoor sport, chess. Does that help in Norway, since you've got the
Yeah, probably. I guess in Norway when it's cold and dark outside people need
something to do.
Do you have any special moves? Do you psych out your opponent, like,
do you get up and walk around or anything like that?
Yeah, I do sometimes get up and walk around, but...
And that's not to psych out the opponent?
No, that's usually just because I'm bored.
Really, you're so good that you're mostly bored in competition? When
you win, do you have, like, a special move, do you, like, spike the bishop
and go "how ya like me now'"
No, not really, I just try to be as respectful as possible to my opponent.
What do you think of Bobby Fischer? He was our great champion. He went,
er, the crazy. Is there a fear that that would happen, that you would think
about chess too much and you will lose your mind?
No, I mean...
Really? Do you like Fischer?
Yes, absolutely, he was one of the greatest players of all time. It's impossible
not to like his chess. You can say whatever you want about him as a person,
but as a chess player I cannot help but admire him greatly.
Any time I have a guest who is a competitor, I don't let them leave this
building without competing with them. I am a grandmaster of my own, I am the
second-youngest grandmaster of rock-paper-sissors of all time. Would you play
me best two out of three?
Let's be clear here: it's one, two, three, shoot! How are you strategizing
right now, because I got a strategy already, I'm like seeing twenty steps
ahead. And there's only one step...
For me it is a hundred percent random.
I see you have no opening.
[You can watch the memorable rock-paper-sissors
match, in which Colbert is severly
trounced by the chess super-grandmaster, in the video embed given above. Hilarious.]