BBC's Across the Board: Magnus Carlsen

by Albert Silver
10/28/2014 – The first game of the second season of Across the Board pitted World Champion Magnus Carlsen against Dominic Lawson, while Dominic pelted Magnus with questions on whether he felt he might have applied his intelligence to some other field, what does the laziness reputation really mean, and despite this he concluded the show with a spectacular queen sacrifice.

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As a reminder to the readers and listeners, the format of the show is this: On the radio they play a quick rapid game during which Lawson interviews his guest on both chess and other matters. In the first season only one of the personalities was actually a chess player, Hou Yifan, while the others were all noted figures in their fields and all are chess aficionados. The shows are edited, and also bring in GM Daniel King to the commentary booth as he provides a little insight on the flow of the game and his feel for the position.

In this opening episode, Magnus Carlsen was his usual self, combining merciless chess with his dead pan wit, answering a wide assortment of questions. The shows should absolutely be enjoyed live if you can, but if not, the broadcasts are all saved and archived at the web site.

The shows can be listened to live, or later at the website

The game played on the show:

[Event "BBC Radio 4 - Across the Board"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.10.27"] [Round "?"] [White "Lawson, Dominic"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A01"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [SourceDate "2014.10.27"] 1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 g6 3. Bxf6 exf6 4. c4 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. Nc3 Qa5 7. g3 Nc6 8. Bg2 Be6 9. Nf3 O-O-O 10. O-O h5 11. h4 g5 12. a3 Ne5 13. b4 Nxf3+ 14. Bxf3 Qe5 15. Kg2 g4 {After the game, Carlsen commented he was intent on diverting the bishop away from its aim against his king, after which he felt he had free rein of the position.} ({Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that the obvious} 15... gxh4 {was more efficient.} 16. Qa4 (16. gxh4 {gets mated after} Rg8+ 17. Kh1 Qf5 18. Bg2 Qg4 19. Rg1 Qxh4+) 16... Kb8 17. d4 Qf5 (17... Qxd4 18. Rad1 $18)) 16. Be4 f5 17. Bd3 f4 18. Rc1 Bd6 {The pressure on g3 piles up.} 19. Qe1 Rhe8 20. Nb5 Kb8 21. Nxd6 Rxd6 22. Rc5 Bd5+ 23. Kh2 b6 24. Rc3 Bb7 25. Qc1 fxg3+ 26. fxg3 {Here Magnus commented he had more than one way to win, but was going to choose the more attractive of the options.} Qxe2+ 27. Bxe2 Rxe2+ 28. Kg1 Rg2+ 29. Kh1 Rdxd2 $1 {The point is that not only is White going to lose his queen to prevent mate, but even more material after the windmill theme on the board.} ({An example of what happens after} 29... Rdxd2 {is seen with} 30. Qxd2 Rxd2+ 31. Kg1 Rg2+ $1 {and the discovered check is fatal.} 32. Kh1 Rxg3+ 33. Kh2 Rxc3) 0-1

Dominic Lawson - So Magnus, picking up on my introductory remarks, can you see how some of us men think that it is appallingly unfair that you combine extreme intelligence and a beautiful body.

Magnus Carlsen - Um... I think it's actually quite fair since in my early years it appeared to both me and my peers that I had neither

To listen to the full broadcast, visit the BBC Radio 4 website where all episodes are archived.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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