Magnus Carlsen takes on the Vishy Anand best games quiz

by Sagar Shah
11/23/2019 – Chess is spread all over the city of Kolkata! Amidst the hoopla of the opening ceremonies, IM SAGAR SHAH managed to do a small quiz with the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi and Erwin l'Ami. The quiz dealt with the best games of Anand's chess career (because the players were in India and Vishy will turn 50 in a few days!) and the players had to guess Anand's best move and also the opponent in the game. Magnus Carlsen impressed one and all with his memory! Check out how he and the others fared!

Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen 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.


The super GM challenge!

The opening day is when you find the participants in the most relaxed frame of mind. Not affected by losses yet, nor tensed about winning the event, you are able to get the best out of them when it comes to interviews. That's the reason why I prepared a quiz for them! What was the topic of the quiz? Well, when Amruta and I visited the Tal Memorial in 2018, we decided to ask the players if they recollected the gems from the games of the great Mikhail Tal. Now that the players were in India and also Vishy Anand would be celebrating his 50th birthday, it looked obvious to ask them to recognize some of Anand's gems! I managed to get four players to solve these positions — Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi and Anish's second Erwin l'Ami.

Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen holding the sheets of paper in his hand and trying to think about the answers! | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour

So which were the positions that were given to them and how did these players fare? Well, we will put down these positions here. Try your hand at them and then have a look at how these super GMs performed! 


Magnus and Vidit were the best performers scoring 8.0/9. But the ninth position was the one that no one could solve! Magnus was very impressive because he could remember not only the move (that he could even work out by looking at the position), but he also knew the name of the tournament and the year in which it was held! Now this is simply tremendous! 

The 'Magnusificent' memory of Carlsen

For Anish there is no form of structured learning related to such games

He picked up a position some time ago from social media, one from a conversation and so on! Well, it just goes to show how many different ways of improving at chess exist!

Vidit was super quick for the first six positions and then found the going slightly tough!

Erwin l'Ami does well on the Anand's test!

Players and current standings


A photo for posterity — all ten players in front of the national library | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 11/26/2019 08:07
Not a fair test, Sagar is giving various hints to various players. All players should be subjected to the same conditions. Carlsen's score would be much higher without the hints.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 11/25/2019 06:58
I could do five, recognize six positions. Mediocre player.
PauloSunao PauloSunao 11/24/2019 05:45
Simply incredible to see how hard GMs M. Carlsen and Vidit work to be so Great chessplayers. It is not just a gift, but hard work, intuition and knowledge of chess positions ! Congrats to every body: very amazing :)
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 11/24/2019 12:14
Magnus did two championship matches against Vishy, he then must have studied Vishy's games more than other players did. But still, the last championship match against Vishy is already a certain time ago and the memory of Magnus is quite impressive.

As for Vidit, Vishy is a big insipartion in India, but nevertheless, Vidit's performance at this quizz is incredible. Even though Vishy is a big insipration in India, Vidit did not have the same material incentive to study Vishy's game as Magnus did. Very impressive.
Lilloso Lilloso 11/24/2019 07:11
A very pleasant article. M. Carlsen and Vidit G. are simply incredible in their answers.
albitex albitex 11/24/2019 03:31
The game problem n.9 is: Anand - Beliavsky, 1-0, Groningen PCA 1993. The Anand move is: 20. Ndxe6
neerajs neerajs 11/23/2019 10:56
Well done Sagar for doing the hard work and compiling this! Fascinating watch for Vishy's fan! I am trying to remember another game of Vishy v Kramnik at rapid chess. 'gold coin shower' equivalent! Does anyone remember it?Neeraj Sharma
MJFitch MJFitch 11/23/2019 06:14
Game 6 of the Championship Move 26 could have been one of those positions if Vishy had found Nxe5!!