Magnus Carlsen is shock player at club meet

by Albert Silver
4/26/2014 – Picture a club, which has an important chess match against a rival in the first division. The rival team has spent a considerable sum by bringing in heavy artillery to ensure it is the one to that comes out on top: GM Vladimir Georgiev. His opponent is undecided yet, but on a spur of the moment decision, an unexpected club member decides to take up the challenge.

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By all accounts, the match between two Norwegian teams Stavanger and Nordstrand would have gone unnoticed by most, but for that spontaneous gesture by the world champion.

“It was quite an impulse decision, and I was a bit surprised myself. I was in Stavangar on Thursday, and I'm a member of the club there. We talked a little bit about what it means, and the opportunity arose to both meet a grandmaster, and help the club a little”, he explained.

Magnus Carlsen's surprise choice to sit down and play, to the delight of his club mates,
was soon picked up by the press. The full article can be seen (in Norwegian) at

Magnus is essentially a member of the club because he has a number of friends there, and the club never tried to get him to represent them in their team events. He is so far above the level, and busy, that it is almost unthinkable. Just having him on the roster, and showing up from time to time is more than enough to boost the prestige of the club. Another factor that needs to be emphasized is how much he stands to lose should he have an off-day. Not only would his record rating be jeopardized, but the news would make the front pages everywhere. None of this served as a deterrent to the world number one, who asked to play.

After the luxurious settings of elite tournaments or the five-star treatment in India for the epic match against Anand, this was a serious throwback to the lighter, less weighty times as they played in a casual club setting, with players and spectators milling around right next to the players as they played. On the floor below, a man was celebrating his 85th birthday to loud singing and cheers, easily heard during the games.

None of this bothered Carlsen, who was quite calm. “It's just nice. I was here and played fourteen years ago, and have not been back since. It's a bit the same way today, and it's nice. I know everyone here, so it's just fine.”

[Event "NOR-chT qual"] [Site "Oslo"] [Date "2014.03.22"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Georgiev, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2881"] [BlackElo "2553"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2014.03.22"] [EventType "team-match"] [EventRounds "1"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2014.03.28"] [WhiteTeam "Stavanger"] [BlackTeam "Nordstrand"] [WhiteTeamCountry "NOR"] [BlackTeamCountry "NOR"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. d3 Bc5 8. c3 O-O 9. a4 d5 10. axb5 axb5 11. Rxa8 Bxa8 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Re1 b4 14. Qc2 f6 15. Nbd2 Kh8 16. Ne4 Be7 17. h3 Na5 18. Ba2 b3 19. Bxb3 Nxb3 20. Qxb3 Nb6 21. d4 f5 22. Nc5 e4 23. Ne5 Bd5 24. Qd1 Bd6 25. Bf4 Nc4 26. b4 g5 27. Bh2 f4 28. Nxc4 Bxc5 29. Nd2 Bd6 30. Nxe4 Qe7 31. Nxd6 Qxd6 32. Re5 h6 33. h4 gxh4 34. Qh5 c6 35. f3 Qf6 36. b5 Ra8 37. Re8+ Rxe8 38. Qxe8+ Kh7 39. Qd7+ Kh8 40. b6 1-0

As to Georgiev, who never in his wildest dreams expected to face Magnus Carlsen, “It was very fun to play against the world champion. I was not expecting it this morning. I was a little too optimistic along the way, and after that he outlasted me.”

As it turned out, Magnus Carlsen’s win over Georgiev was decisive in Stavangar’s close 3.5-2.5 victory over Nordstrand.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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