Magnus pounds The World in RAW Chess Challenge

9/12/2010 – It was the chess spectacle of the year. Tens of thousands of spectators joined three strong grandmasters to play the world's highest ranked player Magnus Carlsen. The event took place in a penthouse overlooking New York City, with GMs Maurice Ashley and Garry Kasparov commenting, and Hollywood actress Liv Tyler dropping in. We bring you pictures and the annotated game.

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The setup in New York was Magnus Carlsen sitting alone in the penthouse of the Cooper Square Hotel in New York City, with a spectacular backdrop of the city, playing on a regular chessboard. After he had made a move his opponents, sitting in a different room, would advise the Internet audience what to play. These had a minute to cast their votes, and when the move was decided a "butler" would execute it on Magnus' board. We gave you the exact rule details in our introductory piece.


This is what the match looked like to the Internet audience


Magnus in the penthouse room executing a move


His opponents Judit Polgar, Maxime Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura ponder in their cubicles


The Internet participants cast their vote by clicking on a move proposal

Carlsen,Magnus (2826) - The World [E62]
RAW World Chess Challenge New York, USA, 10.09.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6. The decision to play this over 2...e6 was decided by a 51% vote. 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3. Magnus chooses a solid continuation, a wise choice since two of the advisors are very sharp players. 4...0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.0-0 e5 8.d5 Ne7 9.e4 c6. This was Nakamura's move – Lagrave suggested Nd7, Judit Ne8. 10.a4 Bg4 11.a5

11...cxd5. This was a critical move, suggested by Judit and Maxime Lagrave. Nakamura, who thought this was a mistake, suggested Qd7. Magnus said that after this he felt he had a good position which was quite easy to play. 12.cxd5 Qd7 13.Be3 Rfc8 14.Qa4 Ne8 15.Nd2 Qd8. Exchanging queens would give White a favourable endgame. Judit and Maxime recommended this move to avoid it, Nakamura proposed 15...Nc7. From the faces of the three advisors you could tell that they were not happy with the position. At this stage Deep Fritz already gives White an advantage of two whole pawns. 16.Qb4 Nc7

Here Magnus' left brain suggested 17.f3 or 17.h3, while his right brain wanted 17.Nc4. His corpus callosum selected the latter. Fritz would have gone for 17.f3 with a +2.67 advantage. 17.Nc4 Na6 18.Qxb7 Rxc4 19.Qxa6 Rb4 20.f3 Bc8 21.Qe2. White is a clear pawn up and has excellent winning chances. But The World can breathe a sigh of relief: it is not getting completely crushed. 21...f5 22.Qd2 Ba6 23.Rfc1 Qb8 24.Na4 Rb3 25.Rc3 Rb4 26.Rca3 f4 27.Bf2 Bh6

At this stage Kasparov was predicting 28.g4 with a very comfortable position and an easy win for Magnus. It was here he started betting with commentator Maurice Ashley how long the game would last. Kasparov thought it would be over very soon. To his surprise Magnus took one of his options for extra time and started thinking . Then to Kasparov's dismay he played: 28.Nb6!? It turned out that Magnus wanted to give the audience something exciting to see, rather than grind out a victory after 28.g4. 28...fxg3 29.Qxb4 gxf2+ 30.Kxf2. Polgar suggests 30...axb6, Nakamura 30...Bc8, Lagrave 30...Bf4. 30...Bc8. Later Magnus said he was slightly worried about 30...Bf4 with some play against his king. Now he was relieved. 31.Rb3. Around this stage Kasparov stopped complaining about the missed chance 28.g4 and gave his young student the praise he deserved: it is clear that Magnus is a fighter and prefers an interesting game to a pragmatic win. 31...axb6 32.Qxb6 Qa7 33.a6 Kf7 34.Qxa7 Rxa7 35.Rb6 Ke8 36.Rxd6. Kasparov and Ashley explaind that the "rook and three pawns against two bad pieces" meant it was over for Black. They started betting again how long the game would last. 36...Bf8 37.Rb6

37...Nxd5. A tricky move suggest by all three coaches. 38.exd5?? Bc5+ 39.Kg3 Bxb6 would be winning for Black. But of course Magnus, as you may have heard, is a pretty strong player and not going to fall for something like this. 38.Rb8! Bc5+ 39.Kg3 Ne7 40.Bh3 Kd8 41.Bxc8. At this stage Liv Tyler, who is Magnus' current partner in the G-Star promotion, was chatting with Maurice Ashley. She was amazed at the cracking action as Magnus lopped off the bishop. Liv told Maurice that she loved chess and played it years ago in a little chess shop in New York. She also described their photo shoot in Florida, where it was 100 degrees, but Magnus had stayed "cool as a cucumber." She thought he looked "amazing" in the playing venue, in front of the New York backdrop. 41...Nxc8 42.Rc1. "Resign, resign, resign, resign", Garry kept chanting. He had a third bet running with Maurice. 42...Rc7

43.Rxc5! Here Magnus, who was alone in the room, reached over to his right to pick up the white queen. The spectators watching him on video understood why. 43...Rxc5 44.a7 And here Polgar, Vachier and Nakamura all stood up and, after glancing at each other, resigned for The World. It was clear that after 44...Ra5 45.a8Q Rxa8 46.Rxa8 Black was an exchange and a pawn down, without the ghost of a chance to save the game. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Maurice 'n Liv – GM Maurice Ashley provided entertaining commentary during the match


The winner with his trophy: Magnus with Maxime Lagrav, Hikaru Nakamura, Judit Polgar,
Maurice Ashley and Liv Tyler, Magnus's partner G-Star model


Garry Kasparov, who has trained Magnus, joins him and Liv


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is interviewed by MTV


Judit Polgar, world's strongest female player, gives her views


Hirkaru Nakamura, currently the highest ranked grandmaster in the US


Magnus with a new look and in great spirits


The photographers need their session with the model and actress who played the
Elf maiden Arwen Undómiel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.


The chess champion and the Hollywood star – spokespeople of G-Star

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