Magnus vs Norway – with a little help

by ChessBase
5/9/2014 – On Thursday World Champion Magnus Carlsen played a very special game of chess. He took on the entire Norwegian nation, from a shopping center in Oslo via the Internet. Three experts (grandmaster) proposed moves, the nation voted on them. At three points the opponents were allowed to consult a computer. The game has been described and annotated in a video by Daniel King.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Magnus got one minute for each move. Three Norwegian grandmasters – Simen Agdestein, Jon Ludvig Hammer and Leif Erlend Johannessen – would make recommendations, and then Norway would vote online. The opponents had five minutes for each of their moves. There was a special rule: three times during the game Magnus' opponents could consult the computer – specifically the chess engine Houdini.

Now let us get to the game, which is commented in the following video by GM Daniel King:

Here you can replay the moves at your own leasure or download the game from our JavaScript player:

[Event "Carlsen vs Norge"] [Site "Oslo, Norway"] [Date "2014.05.08"] [Round "1"] [White "Norge, VG Direkte"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B56"] [BlackElo "2881"] [Annotator "Robot 3"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "NOR"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. f3 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Nd5 Nxd5 9. exd5 Nb8 10. Bd3 O-O 11. Be3 Nd7 12. O-O f5 13. c4 a5 14. Nd2 Bg5 15. Bxg5 Qxg5 16. Qe2 Nc5 17. Bc2 Bd7 18. b3 b5 19. f4 exf4 20. cxb5 Rae8 21. Qc4 Qe7 22. Nf3 Qe3+ 23. Kh1 Ne4 24. Bd3 Nf2+ 25. Rxf2 Qxf2 26. Qc7 Re7 27. Qxd6 Rfe8 28. h3 Re1+ 29. Nxe1 Rxe1+ 30. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 31. Kh2 Qg3+ 32. Kg1 Qe3+ 1/2-1/2

The game lasted just over four hours and ended in a very tricky draw

Magnus with Oddvar Brå, the man in the red mask who executed the moves for Norway

The shopping mall location, broadcast live, together with the game

There are a number of videos from the event on the VG site, showing the action as it
happened – all commented in wonderfully eloquent Norwegian

Always up for a prank: we are told that Magnus occasionally voted on behalf of his
opponents, who were probably reluctant to give up a queen for nothing...

After the game Magnus was asked if he was most impressed by the play of the grandmasters, the public or the computer. With a cough and a sly smile the World Champion replied: "Houdini really impressed me, but I was also impressed by the efforts of the people." At the end of the game he had to decide whether to risk playing for a win with some "fireworks" but decided to go for the draw.

Magnus has agreed to play a revenge match, but the next time with the white pieces. In this game he was fine with the one minute he got per move, except that when the computer found an unexpected resource he would have liked to think longer. So he has proposed a new rule for the next time around: each time the opponents consult the computer he should get some extra time – perhaps a time wild-card he can use whenever he needs it.

The newspaper report on the event is here on VG

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register