Magnus Carlsen plays Handicap Simul: Live Video from New York

by André Schulz
9/21/2016 – On 22nd September, 11.30 EST, Magnus Carlsen is ready for another challenge. In a handicap simul in New York the World Champion will play against ten users of his "Play Magnus App" and guests of the Liberty Science Center. Each of Carlsen's opponents will have 30 minutes on the clock, just as Carlsen, who, however, has 30 minutes for all his games. You can follow the simul live on the ChessBase website.

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Play Live Challenge

The handicap simul is organised by Carlsen's company Play Magnus and advertised as "Play Live Challenge."

The Liberty Science Center hosts the event which might turn out to be a tough physical challenge for the challenger. After all, Carlsen has only 30 minutes for all of his games and will probably have to move quickly from board to board. However, the physical fitness of the Norwegian is well-known.

The Liberty Science Center, a science museum in in New York. (Photo: Google Street View)

The simul starts at 11.30 EST (Eastern Standard Time). The whole event will probably last about 2.5 hours and after the games the World Champion will analyse with each of his opponents.

The event is organised in cooperation with the Norwegian media group Verdens Gang (VG). VG shows the games live and simultaneously offers analyses and comments - in Norwegian. Right now VG still shows adverts which is occasionally quite funny. In one clip you see, for instance, how Carlsen throws chess pieces at the Grim Reaper.

Magnus Carlsen throwing with chess pieces

In addition, "Play Magnus" offers a live video from the event which you can watch here on the ChessBase website. Fabiano Caruana and US-author Paul Hoffman will be guests in the studio.

And these are the opponents of Magnus Carlsen:

Isaac Wiebe, Canada, BORN 1994, FIDE 2017
About me: I started playing chess just for fun at age 6. I started studying chess tactics when I was 13. At 15, I qualified for Scholastic Chess Nationals, representing Manitoba in 2010. After 2012, I took time off chess to pursue my undergraduate degree in computer engineering. In 2014 I got back into chess, and was on a mission to become a Canadian National Master (2200+ rating). My Canadian rating went from 1520 in August 2014 to 2220 in January 2016.

Play Magnus is a very unique training tool which I enjoy using. Whenever I am trying out a new opening, I will run a variation by Play Magnus first, to make sure I know the opening theory especially well Play Magnus has enhanced my tactical abilities as well. I especially love watching Magnus Carlsen play against the app, because he shows everyone how to combat such a dynamic style of play. I cannot wait to meet the greatest player of my generation in Magnus Carlsen. It is an honor to win the Play Magnus Live Challenge.

Vedic Panda, USA, born 2001, FIDE 1778
My name is Vedic Panda. I am a high school student chess player from Alpharetta, Georgia. I am currently am a freshman at Cambridge High School as well as an active chess expert. My main interests are to get all 95+ in every subject in high school, become a chess national master by the end of 2016, and help my high school chess team get 1st in the High school team state championship. I am currently a chess expert (over 2000 USCF).

I started playing chess in 5th grade (2012) and have always been regarded as a late starter chess wise by my grade rivals. Recently though at the start of February 2016, I have gained over 100 points (No where near in comparison to Magnus) and recently crossed 2000 and 2100 although I have recently dropped to 2000. I feel very excited to meet one of my chess idols, THE Magnus Carlsen. THE Mozart of chess.

I believe that playing strong players is the best way to get better at chess, and the fact that I have the opportunity to play the strongest chess player ever is a dream come true. It was always a dream for me to meet a super gm and the fact that I am going to meet and play against the best chess player in the world is a great opportunity that I hope will improve my chess in more ways than I thought possible.

Emil Hartveit, Norway, Born 1989, FIDE Unknown
I'm 27 years old and I live on Osterøy, an island outside Bergen in Norway. I currently work at a factory here on Osterøy as a QA inspector. My interests are mainly sports. I'm a complete sports junkie and watch almost anything on TV, especially if there are any Norwegians competing. Football is my main interest, and I especially follow my local fourth division team Valestrand Hjellvik FK closely. Chess and poker are the two sports I play mostly, if you can classify them as sports.

I of course follow every tournament Magnus plays, especially if they're broadcasted on Norwegian TV. My personal experience with chess is purely recreational. I've never competed in a tournament of any kind and I'm not a member of a chess club. I play a little with friends just for fun, but I mainly play against Magnus at 8 years old on the Play Magnus app. A couple of games a day on average, I would say. I find that a couple of games of chess help me relax after a long day at work, I get to lock everything else out for a while and just focus on the next move. To win the Play Live Challenge 2016 and to get a chance to actually meet Magnus and play against him is of course a huge honor.

I never even thought of the possibility of winning this competition because I thought you had to be really good at chess to win. I thought that playing Magnus at higher levels would score you more points and therefore a better chance of winning, so I really didn't see myself as a contestant for the prize. It will be a lot of fun meeting him and though we all know the outcome of the game I'm really looking forward to see him in action and play against him. Frankly I think I would have a better chance against Usain Bolt in a 100 meter sprint than I do here, but as I said I'm really looking forward to it.

Moshe Inoyatov, USA, Born 1994, FIDE 1622
My name is Moshe Inoyatov, I have lived in Forest Hills, N.Y. for my entire life. My family moved to the U.S., from Tajikistan, in 1993 and had me one year later. I guess it was the old Soviet heritage and Jewish religion in our blood that made my father, Rosher, a huge lover of chess, and what lead him to pass his passion of the game onto me (his only son).

Being born in the U.S. Chess never caught my interest in early childhood days, but by age ten my dad insisted I learn and taught me how to move the figures. Sometime around when I was eleven, I was at my cousin’s house for the afternoon and he insisted we play a game of chess. My cousin is two years older than me and had more experience in the game at the time. He won the first three games swiftly, but by the fourth game he accidentally blundered his queen and I happily took it off the board. He told me it was a slip of his hand, but wanting to win I refused to give it back. After a bit of arguing, my cousin looked up to me and said “Fine, I can beat you with or without my queen, play on!”. I did and needless to say that was the first time I ever beat him.

However it was from that instance that my competitive personality for the game developed. Every Saturday afternoon, my dad and me would sit down and play a few games. After he’d win he would go over some of my mistakes in the post-game analysis. I was thirteen when I first beat my dad, and it felt great! I wanted to feel it again, so I kept playing with him and winning. At eighteen I went to college and majored in biology. It was at that point where I really started to use chess as a constructive outlet from all the heavy studying that was required (especially after the Play Magnus App. came out). It was also around this time that I started looking into chess literature and analyzed some of the greatest games in history.

I am currently enrolled in a rigorous competitive Doctoral Program of Pharmacology at Touro College, and I truly believe that it was chess that gave me the right attitude to trust my calculations that I make on my exams and even in life. Meeting the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, means the world to me; for the past four years I have been watching his games in awe and wondering how his brain thinks like an engine and sometimes even better! By meeting Magnus, I am hoping to gain some of his knowledge and attitude towards the game, which is precisely what makes him a hero in my eyes.

Soeren Marx, Germany, born 1997, FIDE Unknown
I was born on February 7th 1997 in Würzburg, Germany, when I was 10 years old, my family moved to Mannheim. Currently I'm studying law in the third semester at the University in Kiel. In my free time, I like to go to the gym, being with my girlfriend or playing online chess.

I started playing chess only in 2014, after reading an article about Magnus Carlsen in the German magazine "Der Spiegel" called 'Carlsen der Große'. The article and Magnus Carlsen himself fascinated me so much that on the same day, I looked for a chessboard in our house. Shortly after, (probably just a few days later) I installed the Play Magnus App on my phone and played it daily. After a while, I started playing online chess as well.

It's hard to put it into words what the Play Live challenge and meeting Magnus Carlsen means to me, but probably I can summarise it as the biggest dream I had for the last 2 years coming true, since Magnus Carlsen is my idol and a person I look up to in many more ways than chess.

Ivet Sala Samarra, Spain, born 2000, FIDE 1500
My name is Ivet Sala Samarra, and I am 16 years old. I live in Matadepera with my family, turning one week at my mother’s home and one at my dad’s home. I have got two little sisters. I’m actually going to start the sciences and technologies baccalaureate, so in two years I want to start studing a career at the university (but I really don’t know what career).

In my free time I like to do art things and artistic crafts, I really like art and design. I also like to do mathematics, to solve difficult problems and to learn different and new mathematical topics. I appreciate the logic there is into the mathematics, and I also really like to do mental calculations. I like to read too, read about something interesting about I can learn. I do sport too, like hockey or gym. In my free time I hang with my friends, we go shopping, to the cinema... I am also trying to learn computer programming. I adore dogs; and do something that scares me, what it can be an adventure for me. And of course, in my free time I play chess.

I was introduced into the chess world by my sports teacher when I was 13 (the 1st high school year). I had never played chess, so I was the worst in my class. Chess was very important in the final mark, like another sport, so I had to dedicate a lot of time to approve. I was improving until I became the best in my class. In the third year I was the best in my class, so my teacher encouraged me to participate in the city tournament. Some class partners and I have participated in the tournament, but I lost all my games and I returned back home so sad, but with a proposal: next year I’ll do it better. And that’s what I did. On summer of 2015 I downloaded “Play Magnus App” and I started playing against him, dreaming that one day I could play against the real Magnus and meet him. When summer have finished I get back to school, and I was better playing chess. With Magnus’ videos and lessons, I improved so much. So I get on the city tournament again, I was the only girl, but what a surprise: I won all my games and I won the competition! After winning this tournament, I was classified to the Catalonia Championship, but I haven’t finished it because I was on Final Course trip.

I try to play chess every day, I really like it, and I try to be better every day. I play with different applications, and I often read some parts of a chess book, or I sometimes see YouTube videos. And meeting Magnus means a dream for me! I always wished that one day I meet him and play against him too! To see how he plays with my own eyes! He is one of my favourite public figure, and the possibility of meeting him is incredible for me, I already can’t believe that’s true! Thanks again for that possibility, it means a lot for me.

Gustav Gudbrandsen, Norway, born 1964, FIDE 2257
I'm 52 years old from Oslo, Norway. Married and two sons. I work as Head of archives at Norwegian Institute of Public Health. I like to read, watch TV, be together with my family. I have been in chess clubs for 41 years. FIDE-master from 2003. Not very active in the last years. It will be an adventure and a memory for life to meet the world champion in the Big Apple.

Michael Dimitriadis, Austria, born 1966, FIDE 2027
My name is Michael Dimitriadis and I was born 1966 in Graz, the second biggest city in Austria. My father was born in Greece, came for studying to Austria, met my mother here, married her and became Austrian citizen since then. I grew up in Graz and during my college time I developed great interest for mathematics, which had it's brightest moment when I participated in 1985 at the International Mathematic Olympiad in Finland and made a bronze medal. Later I added informatics to my interests and finished my education in 1991 as Master of Technical Mathematics at the University of Technology in Graz.

Immediately after finishing university I started an employment at Infonova (then a small company but now having more than 300 employees and being part of Bearingpoint) and worked the last 25 years there as an expert for database issues. I am married since 1994 to Silvia and I am father of two sons, Philipp and Georg.

I learned the basics of chess at the age of 7, but my main activity then was playing soccer during my free time. I started playing soccer in a team very late with 14 and played with several clubs up to the age of 30, with my highest engagement being in Austria’s fourth division. After finishing soccer training on a regular schedule at the age of 30, I started playing chess on a more serious basis and also joined a local chess club.

I played several tournaments a year, while nowadays I reduced this number to one or two, with the intention to become more active again. My top FIDE ELO-rating was 2150, but currently it shrinked a little bit and is close to 2000. So chess is definitely my main interest now, while i'm also watching several TV-series and like it a lot to listen to audiobooks.

The first time my attention came to Magnus, was when I read about a young guy who crushed his higher-rated opponents and was trained by Simen Agdestein. I knew about Simen Agdestein before, who was a soccer player of the Norwegian national team and a great chess player, which I found very impressive. From then on I followed Magnus progress in tournaments and later world championships as a fan, which is easy these days with all the broadcasts in the Internet. I started participating in the Play Live Challenge without really expecting to have a chance to win something.

But when I saw that I could gather a lot of points at the lower levels I spent half a year competing with an American guy in playing thousands of games against Magnus at the ages from 5 to 7. I began dreaming of meeting Magnus Carlsen in person, who obviously likes both activities I spent most of my leisure time, chess and soccer, but got disappointed when I did not appear in the list of winners of Play Live Challenge 2015. I continued anyway to play against the app but my appearance in the winner’s list of the Play Live Challenge 2016 came as a big surprise. I can't wait to meet Magnus in person, sitting (maybe standing) on the opposite side of a chessboard. I look forward to some memorable moments with my chess-hero, I am sure I will not forget for the rest of my life.

Polina Karelina, Bahamas, born 2001, FIDE 1650
I was born in Ukraine and I have lived in the Bahamas since I was 4 years old. I have been playing chess since I was 5 years old, but due to scoliosis I sadly had to stop when I was 11. I had surgery last year so I'm feeling great now. I became interested in playing chess again after the surgery.

Of course, it isn’t easy returning to a sport after taking such a long break. I found out about the PlayMagnus app, and decided to try it out. Having the option to choose the different age levels was very nice since I wasn’t sure what level I was on. I noticed I started making progress and winning against higher ages. It brought my confidence back. I played my first tournament after the break in January 2016. I want to become a professional chess player. It is an amazing opportunity to play the world champion.

Andrew Grojean, USA, born 1990, FIDE Unknown
Andrew Grojean is a social media manager for a digital marketing agency in Kansas City, MO. He began playing chess at the age of eight and entered (and won) several local tournaments as a kid. However, it was only until after college that Andrew began playing chess regularly. Andrew finds chess relaxing, so he makes sure to play a game or two every night. With nearly 900 games against Magnus in the Play Magnus app, Andrew is looking forward to taking on the real deal.

On winning the Play Magnus Live Challenge: "I'm ecstatic to have won the Play Magnus Live Challenge this year. Magnus has been an idol of mine for several years and I cannot wait to meet and play him. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to play against a grandmaster, let alone the greatest player of all time. My goal will be to represent amateur players well and play a good game for as long as possible. I can’t wait to tell my future kids and grandkids about the time I got checkmated by Magnus Carlsen."

Last year, the Play Live Challenge took place in the Marshall Chess Club:



Complete dashboard of the PlayMagnus Challenge at VG...

Play Magnus...

Website of the Liberty Science Center...

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


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