Chess960 battle: Nakamura vs. Carlsen?

by André Schulz
10/18/2017 – In February, 2018, there may be an unusual exhibition match held between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, playing Chess960 (also known as Fischer Random). The competition is planned for the Hening Onstad Art Center in Bærum, Norway. It's funding is not yet fully secured, but Carlsen's manager is confident. | Photos: Alina L'Ami

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Chess960 with the World Champion

Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura will put on show playing Chess960 next February, Norwegian media site reports. The competition is planned as a supporting program for an exhibition by the photographer Dag Alveng at the Hening Onstad Arts Center in Bærum, a municipality near Oslo, where Carlsen grew up. The exhibition contains references to chess and the photographer himself is obviously also a chess fan — at least he is listed with FIDE, albeit with no rating or tournament history.

Hening Onstad Arts Centre in Bærum, Norway | Google Maps

The idea for this competition came from the former president of the Norwegian Chess Federation, Jøran Aulin-Jansson, together with the artist. The budget for the match is estimated at 3 million NOK, about 320,000 euros. The municipality of Bærum wants to provide half of the amount. The prize money for the two players should also be raised by sponsors.

The competition's funding is not yet secured, but at least Magnus Carlsen is apparently open to the idea, according to his manager Espen Agdestein.

"He will play in a tournament in January, and Magnus likes to play a lot of chess, so this is a good time", Agdestein is quoted as saying.

Nakamura won the unofficial "Chess960 World Championship" as part of the Mainz Chess Classic in 2009, defeating Levon Aronian in a four-game match 3½-½.

"There are no contracts signed yet, but the winner does not get poor",  says instigator Aulin-Jansson, noting that the support of the local government gets the match a long way towards being realized. It's also not certain whether the games will be played in the Art Centre or elsewhere.

Close-up view of Hening Onstad Arts Centre | Google Streetview

The photographer Dag Alveng, born in 1953, exhibits his work in many major museums around the world. His paintings are part of the permanent exhibitions at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Folkwang Museum in Essen, the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, the Stedeijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the museet for velvet art in Oslo and last but not least the Henie-Onstad art center in Bærum. Alveng has also published a series of books and organized numerous exhibitions. Between 1986 and 1996 he shuttled constantly between New York and Oslo. He currently lives in Oslo.


A New York moment

A post shared by Dag Alveng (@dagalveng) on

Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen

Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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