Chess meets football, Carlsen meets Guardiola

by Press release
12/12/2023 – Magnus Carlsen is the world number one chess player and Pep Guardiola is regarded as one of the best football coaches in the world who has changed the way football is played and thought about. Guardiola has celebrated numerous national and international successes with FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. In a revealing conversation organised by PUMA, Carlsen and Guardiola talked about the similarities between football and chess and gave insights into their strategies and tricks.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.



Global sports company PUMA, together with Manchester City Football Club and, launches an exclusive talk between two geniuses: Pep Guardiola from the football world and Magnus Carlsen from the chess world. PUMA’s ambassadors discussed unforgettable moments from their careers, elaborated on strategies and tactics in both sports, and shared some tips and tricks with fans.

"I have loved football since I was little. I played it every day. I did not come home from school; I just stayed at the school to play football. Then I came home to play chess. It turned out that I was better at chess, so I continued to do that", said Magnus Carlsen, the five-time World Chess Champion who is currently competing in's Champions Chess Tour.

Pep and Magnus analyzed specific goals and moves, emphasizing the importance of patience, strategy, and adapting to the opponent's actions. Guardiola highlights the significance of controlling the middle in both football and chess, while Carlsen draws similarities between attacking on one side and creating advantages. They also discuss the role of instinct and unpredictability in achieving success.

The conversation delves into the mental aspects of high-pressure situations, emphasizing the need for calmness and adaptability. Both share insights from their respective fields, showcasing the strategic thinking and mastery required in football and chess. "I think the way you have to take defenders away with the attack depends on the movement of the opponent. You must pay attention to what the opponent does in every single movement and react to that. Magnus has two hours to make the next movement. We have a second to react or take a decision", explained Pep.

The conversation concludes with reflections on extended matches, with Carlsen recalling a 7.5-hour chess game (the sixth game of Carlsen's World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2021, which lasted for 136 moves and is the longest game ever played in World Championship matches - Ed.) and Guardiola expressing admiration for such dedication and focus.

Master Class Vol.8 - Magnus Carlsen 2nd Edition

Let our authors show you how Carlsen tailored his openings to be able to outplay his opponents strategically in the middlegame or to obtain an enduring advantage into the endgame.