Magnus Carlsen: Do "yunomi"?

by Macauley Peterson
1/18/2019 – "Yunomi" is the name for a traditional Japanese pottery teacup, but now also a new magazine about photography, art and design. The chess connection is not only that GM Yannick Pelletier helps coordinate the new bi-annual publication helmed by his wife Marie Boyard, but the inaugural issue features a story and photo spread on World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

A Classical Guide to the French Defence A Classical Guide to the French Defence

This DVD gives you the key to start out with the French Defence. GM Yannick Pelletier is a specialist of this opening, and believes that the most efficient way to understand its ideas, plans, and typical structures is to study classical lines.


"I'm usually occupied with chess all the time"

"Yunomi" is a new magazine for "home, art, design and "lifestyle" that is "centered around acclaimed artists and creatives from a vast variety of fields, who share their working process and expertise."

Editor-in-Chief Marie Boyard is a photographer, but also a chess player with a peak rating over 2000. She played various open tournaments until 2013 and participated at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul for the team of Luxembourg.

The name, "yunomi", refers to a traditional Japanese teacup and the bi-annual publication is inspired by Japanese minimalism. There is a double entendre in English — "you know me" — which I was surprised to learn was a happy coincidence. GM Yannick Pelletier, the Project Coordinator, says that only after coming up with the name, did the pair notice the very fitting symbolism for the magazine's brand.

'Magazine' is not really the right word to describe the tome — nearly 200 hefty pages showcasing film (not digital) photography along with light text presented by various authors — which is more like a journal or coffee table book. 

Given the chess background of its creators, it is anything but a coincidence that Magnus Carlsen is the target of Boyard's camera in a short profile titled "Learning Creative and Critical Thinking".

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen in July, 2018 | Photo: Marie Boyard

The profile provides a nice introduction to the World Champion for a general audience, but there will not be any surprises for a chess enthusiast who has followed his career. Carlsen tells how and when he learned chess and found himself reaching for the heights of the sport. Of some interest is how he struggles to articulate his creative process:

"As long as it somehow works, I'm even hesitant to elaborate on it partly to avoid jinxing myself. I'm usually occupied with chess all the time. Having focused so much on chess for 20 years, positions, questions and ideas just pop up even when I do other things and during sleep." 

Honouring the creative process is a theme of Yunomi, along with celebrating timeless photography. "For us, art is a significant segment of our daily routines and surely is best when shared", writes Boyard in the magazine's preface.

More excerpts of the Carlsen profile may be found at

The inaugural issue is available in select shows and exhibitions in Paris, London, Berlin, Luxembourg and Switzerland, and also in the Yunomi Shop for EUR €25 with free worldwide shipping. The 2019 issues are planned for May and November.

magazine page


Macauley served as the Editor in Chief of ChessBase News from July 2017 to March 2020. He is the producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast, and was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.


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