Knight Magnus defeats King Loek

by ChessBase
5/8/2006 – Last week's match between Magnus Carlsen and Loek Van Wely saw all the elements of a battle placed in both a medieval and modern context. The Little Big Man from Norway won the tiebreak, to the delight of the small Dutch village Schagen, also known as "Magnus City". We bring you a big pictorial report by Frits Agterdenbos.

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Looking for Knight Magnus

Report and photos by Frits Agterdenbos

With contributions by organizer/arbiter Aart Strik

Schagen wants Magnus

The match Carlsen-Van Wely was held from 28 April – 1 May 2006 in Schagen, 65 kilometers north of Amsterdam, close to city of cheese, Alkmaar, in the province North Holland, The Netherlands. Schagen is a small city with about 17,000 inhabitants.

In 2003 and 2004 Schagen organised the Dutch Junior Championships. In 2005 they were organised again, but as additional event there was also a four player rapid tournament with Magnus Carlsen and three talented Dutch juniors: Erwin l’Ami, Jan Smeets and Daniel Stellwagen. It was a battle of the real kind with blood, sweat and tears.

In 2006 Schagen again organizes the Dutch Junior Championships, but this will be the last time. This year the organizers decided to invite Magnus Carlsen again, to play with Loek Van Wely, a training match to prepare for his match with Aronian.

So from the organizers point of view the Carlsen-Van Wely match is an additional event, while the international chess community will anti-symmetrically consider the match as the main event, and the Junior Championship being additional. A bird flying over a tulip field will have a different view on it than an individual tulip in the field.

North Holland in red

Why on earth did a small town like Schagen get the idea to invite Magnus Carlsen? Because Magnus is named Magnus, and for no other reason! To understand this one has to go back in history.

History books tell that Schagen was founded in the year 334. The books give different names for the town, like Villa Scagha, Scagon or Scagan. In 1249 the town is called Scaghen. According to tradition the first Heer van Schagen (Lord of Schagen) was the legendary Knight Magnus. He is described as a terrible giant with a tremendous club, who conquered in 1219 the Egyptian city Damiate during a crusade. Because of Knight Magnus Schagen for many years was called Magnus Veste (Magnus City). This famous knight, living in the Middle Ages, became a symbol in Schagen. Therefore a statue has been made. We expect a big one following the rules of symmetry. But where do we find the statue?

Schagen is also the residence of the Magnus Chess Club, which was founded in 1953 and was named after Knight Magnus. So Magnus Carlsen was invited to play in Magnus City. It was a big job by organizer Aart Strik, who started looking for Magnus in 2003.

The Magnusstraat (Magnus Street), with a rook-shaped corner turret on the right

Final standings

The four game match was played according the coming World Championship matches time control (2hrs/40 + 1hr/20 + 15 min/rest + 30 sec./move for the last period). In the additional four game blitz tiebreak the time control was 5 mins + 2 seconds a move.

The match was drawn 2.0-2.0. The tiebreak blitz match was won by Carlsen with 3.5-0.5

Introducing the players

Loek Van Wely (33 years), Elo 2655, is sixfold Dutch champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). In June he will go for number seven. Recently (12-16 April) Loek won the Foxwoods Open in the States. Once he was with in the world top 10, with a rating of 2714 Elo. In 2005 he played board one in the Dutch team which won gold at the European Team Championship in Goteborg. Loek Van Wely is also known as King Loek.

Magnus Carlsen (15 years), Elo 2646, is generally referred to as a prodigy, wunderkind (sorry Magnus, we mention it again). Fresh in the memory are his 2-0 blitz game victory over Anand in Reykjavik and his qualification for the World Championship finals. The Little Man from Norway has wide interests. Though Magnus is not someone who easily gives opinions, even when he is asked, he certainly seemed happy coming to Schagen again. He clearly enjoys the personal attention the Schagen organisers give him. At the same time he is happy he is relatively unknown in the city, so that he can walk around without being bothered by people. And maybe, just maybe, he just likes the idea to be once a year in Magnus City.

Schagen is a beautiful, green city – see for yourself

Farm at the Oudedijk (Old Dike)

Slot Schagen (Castle Schagen), where the second part (blitz games) were played. The castle is also the playing venue for the Dutch National Junior Championships U20 28 April – 6 May.

The Match

The first game was the first game Carlsen and Van Wely ever played against each other. Loek won it. Henrik Carlsen, Magnus' father: “In this game Magnus made an untypical miscalculation by playing 13…Bb4. When he played 20…Qe8 he realized that 13… Bb4 was a mistake. He had thought he had an attack on e5”.

Magnus and father Henrik arriving in the playing hall. Henrik: "One of my most important tasks is to get the right orange juice for Magnus".

Waiting for Loek, as chief arbiter Aart Strik hits the gong for game three.

Van Wely and Carlsen analysing their third encounter
which ended in a narrow escape for Loek: draw.

Spectators Marion Van Wely and Henrik Carlsen watching game 4.

Henrik: “I think the best chess countries are The Netherlands and Spain. For Magnus it is important that in The Netherlands, contrary to Spain, the non-smoking conditions are good”.

The typical posture of a modern-day grandmaster...

... and the demeanour of his older, more experienced colleague

The Tiebreak

Loek and Marion van Wely arriving at Slot Schagen for the Blitz tiebreak

Technical Meeting before the start of the tiebreak blitz games, with Loek Van Wely, Henrik Carlsen, Magnus Carlsen and Aart Strik

The blitz games in Slot Schagen

During the blitz games Loek Van Wely looked tensed and uncertain, too tired to concentrate and to take fast decisions. After giving away a winning position Marion said angrily: “Even a 1500 player would have won this position”. Loek: “Stop it, how do you think I feel?”

The score is 0-2 when Loek Van Wely offers a draw in the third game, giving up the match

And after this third game the Carlsen-Van Wely battle was decided, and no fourth game was necessary. That is what the organizers thought. But both players wanted to play game four. As Loek Van Wely stated: “For the sake of symmetry we must play it. Four games in the match, four games in the tiebreak.” The spectators enjoyed it.

Magnus gets a kiss by long distance swimmer World Champion 2005 Edith Van Dijk, who is doing sponsoring for DSB Bank.

At the prize giving organizer/chief arbiter Aart Strik (middle) presented both players an artwork made by artist Frea May

On the left the artwork for Magnus, at right the one for Loek (a case of symmetry)

Aart Strik explains the ideas underlying the artworks: In the two almost identical artworks many lines are converging. Not only that flower fields as shown here are typical Dutch, it’s also a fact tzhat since last year there is a tulip with the name of “Magnus Carlsen”. The deep red colour in this painting is similar to the named variety’s one. In a bird’s-eye view fields sometimes might be seen as chess board squares, so placing chess figures on such a chess board can’t be seen as strange.

For people who know the chess world, the King is not in question: it must be “King Loek”. But what about “Knight Magnus”? Coincidently, a chess figure representing both a knight and a (chess) knight may be found in a chess set known as the “Lewis chess men”.

This is a detail of Frea May’s artwork for Magnus Carlsen

Lewis chess knights (with traditional chess kings)

Knight Magnus

Big names often get small statues. We found Knight Magnus between the towers of Slot Schagen. We expected a giant statue, so at first we overlooked this one. The tourist office confirmed this statue is Knight Magnus.


Official tournament sites:
DSB Bank and Deloitte

All the games of the match for replay and download

Frits Agterdenbos, 46, lives in Heemstede, not far from Amsterdam, and was one of the leading chess photographers in the eighties. From 1979–1991 his pictures appeared in several magazines, including New in Chess, Schakend Nederland, Inside Chess, BCM, Chess, Europe Echecs and Schach. In 1984 his Dutch book “64 Schaakportretten” (in English “64 Chess Portraits”) was published. In 1991 he “retired” as a chess photographer to finish his studies and in 1997 he received a diploma as an insurance mathematician (actuary). Since 1998 he has been self-employed, working under the company name “Acturix”, which is his actuarial consultancy firm.

In 2005 he picked up his old passion, becoming again a chess photographer, and publications show he still knows how to handle his camera. Now he combines his insurance job and chess photography. You will find his photos on,, and, and many more websites and magazines. You can contact him under f.agterdenbos(at) (insert "@" at the appropriate place).

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