Carlsen blitzes blindfold clock simul

5/29/2015 – Carlsen did a blindfold exhibition in New York, blitzing three opponents in a clock simul, averaging three minutes per opponent. Normally, there is no video available from the conference because it is only open to paying attendees ($5000 admission fee) and a few invited guests. However, the video link has been made available to the public who can see the mindboggling exhibition.

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The full video of the clock simul was not only made available, but edited so as to make it easy to follow.
When you see how they bombarded Magnus with moves and boards in no order it quickly becomes clear
just how much harder this is compared to a normal blindfold exhibition.

As explained by Dylan Loeb McClain: Conducting the event was grandmaster Maurice Ashley as MC, and grandmasters Pascal Charbonneau and Anatoly Bykhovsky making and announcing the moves for Carlsen.

The Sohn Conference, which had its 20th anniversary this year, has become the world's largest investment conference (held at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in New York with about 3,000 attendees), with some of the top investors in the world giving speeches about some of their stock picks and shorts. This year's list included David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, David Tepper of Appaloosa Management, William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital, and Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors, among many many others.

The Sohn Conference was started to raise money for pediatric cancer research and is named after Ira Sohn, who died of the disease at age 29. The conference was started by Ira's brother, Evan, and by Doug Hirsch, who has become in recent years a huge fan of chess. It was his idea to invite Carlsen to give the ehibition.

Naturally, the former chess columnist for the The New York Times wrote an article for the newspaper.

At Sohn Conference, Masters of Moves Recognize the Good Ones

By Dylan Loeb McClain

William A. Ackman, the founder and chief executive of Pershing Square Capital Management, and Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, are used to commanding center stage and charming crowds. But on Monday afternoon at the annual Sohn Investment Conference, they stood transfixed just off the main stage at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, watching something they had never seen before.

After a dramatic introduction of the match to the audience, Maurice Ashley asked, "Magnus,
are you ready for this?" Carlsen in his usual deadpan style replies, "I've never done this
before, so I wouldn't know."

On stage, Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion from Norway, was wearing a blindfold and playing a timed exhibition against three people: J. Christopher Flowers, the chairman of J.C. Flowers & Company; Paul Hoffman, the chief executive of the Liberty Science Center; and Gbenga Akinnagbe, a star of the HBO series “The Wire.” Two grandmasters, Pascal Charbonneau and Anatoly Bykhovsky, made Mr. Carlsen’s moves as he called out to them, while Maurice Ashley, another grandmaster, provided occasional commentary.

Each player, including Mr. Carlsen, had nine minutes to complete the games. Though Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Flowers have competed in tournaments, Mr. Carlsen had little trouble dispatching all three players.

As Mr. Carlsen exited the stage, Mr. Ackman bounded up to him to shake his hand and express his admiration. “It was incredible,” he said. Watching Mr. Carlsen walk away, Mr. Ackman mused, “How does that mind work?”


Click here for the complete New York Times article

After the exhibition, GM Ashley asked the world champion to describe the challenges of this format

A fascinating display and undoubtedly a new spin on a popular format adding a healthy dose of adrenaline to it. Kudos.

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jason art taylor jason art taylor 6/10/2015 12:56
To determine what happened regarding 7:00 wrong board, you have to look from the bigger picture.
tacticachess tacticachess 6/6/2015 02:47
Good observation.
In d4 games its very common to have pawns on d4 and c4 in the opening. Its a very common feel.

When they announced Blacks move as c5 in Board 2 , Carslen automatically replied d5 with lightning feel that
he had already played c4 .

At that moment if carlsen already knew that he has not announced c4 and still if he had the feeling of the pawn at c4 ,
he might have thought that one of the assistants might have already played c4 during the first moves (with their feel).
instead of asking whether he played c4 or not , straight away carlsen announced d5 for blacks c5 move ,
that meant carlsen was highly alert and adpative to the situation.
The feel of pawns at d4 and c4 is very common .
After all Habit is the second nature.
Great Carlsen !
buchaiah buchaiah 6/4/2015 05:19
it is hard to play 9min
mssrclever mssrclever 6/1/2015 03:10
All three of the played like patzers, especially board three. Nevertheless, an amazing feat of short term memory capacity from Carlsen.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 5/31/2015 05:11
eagle-eyed --- Correct!

Magnus never played c4 on board 2, he said board 3.

But if you assume he meant board 2 instead of board 3, then maybe it makes sense.
Otherwise it is a hoax.
elcuba4sho elcuba4sho 5/31/2015 06:08

That's a very interesting point! Makes me wonder how did he know that the pawn was on c4? Neither did he ask! leads me to believe that he somewhat could see!
eagle-eyed eagle-eyed 5/31/2015 04:24
Did any one notice? There was a big blunder right at the beginning! For white's first move on board 3, Magnus shouted "board 3, c4" - and that move was made as white's move 2 on board 2! After a few seconds one of the movers said " bord 3, c4", and white's first move was played on bord 3 as c4. But the mistake wasn't corrected on board 2, the pawn stayed at c4. The player on board 2 then responded 2. ....c5. Magnus was then told that on board 2 black played c5 and it's your move. And the games carried on. Magnus never actually played 2.c4 on board 2, nor was it shouted out. But he carried on playing smoothly anyway! How did he know his pawn was at c4??
Danstacey Danstacey 5/30/2015 10:51
What an amazing display. How does he do it? Does he have a picture in his mind?
tacticachess tacticachess 5/30/2015 03:02
Najdorf might have played 45 board blindfold simul long back in 1947.
But today's Carlsen's feat surpasses all the previous blindfold simuls.
No doubt of it !

Shivering is the only option for his future challengers !

Words should be invented to praise Carlsen !
Sincere salute to you.. dear Carlsen !
tom_70 tom_70 5/29/2015 08:35
The fact that it was timed(blitz) and the board moves were not played sequentially, makes this an astonishing feat. I was getting confused and I was watching all the boards. God only knows how Magnus is able to do stuff like this.
Dylan McClain Dylan McClain 5/29/2015 06:36
To all the doubters, two things that are important to understand about why this was difficult. The moves were not in sequence. That is, Carlsen had to respond to each board out of order, but depending solely on when his opponents made their moves. In every other blindfold simul, the player goes through the boards in order which, believe it or not, makes them easier to keep track of. Two, it was timed and with blitz time controls. 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).
bobbybishop bobbybishop 5/29/2015 05:19
I don't know why people are that impressed. Playing only 3 games against non masters is nothing compared to say Alekhine playing 32! blindfold games in 1934.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 5/29/2015 04:53
I enjoyed that.
Boards 1 and 2 played the opening decently. Carlsen only makes it look easy.
Mindhunterr Mindhunterr 5/29/2015 03:21
The difficulty here was the time aspect. I've played and beaten my brother and father in blindfold simul before... They are beginners and I'm not much better myself, so for Carlsen to do this against three "beginners" (from his perspective) is only impressive in terms of this being blitz. Otherwise, not much to see here tbh, expected result :-/
Dylan McClain Dylan McClain 5/29/2015 02:55
Mr. Pacasi,
They were certainly not masters, but not pushovers either. Mr. Hoffman is rated about 1900, though he has not played in a while. Mr. Flowers takes weekly lessons and is about 1600. Mr. Akinnagbe is more of a beginner, but he played the first part of the game well and Carlsen also had to pause and think a bit in his game.
Mike Pacasi Mike Pacasi 5/29/2015 02:47
Pure marketing for non-advised audiences....His adversaries played like dummies, were like 1300 rating players....or less...
Ajay Annamareddy Ajay Annamareddy 5/29/2015 02:46
Never seen anything like this.. Obviously, we all heard blindfold simul, but seeing those 3 boards like that and all the different moves possible makes me wonder how that is even possible..

Ok, now I get it, they are GRAND M's, I almost forgot..

And, among them, Magnus is even special, BTW
walirlan walirlan 5/29/2015 02:45
Are these games available in pgn?
Congratulations for Magnus! That was great indeed!
alekhina alekhina 5/29/2015 01:36
The hardest in chess is Blindfold play.