Three million view chess players playing soccer

by Albert Silver
1/26/2015 – When we published the pictorial by Alina L'Ami with her pictures and comments, we were confident it would be a success with the readers since the photos were fun, varied, and plain good, with her revealing comments. What was not expected is that one of the images from the article was then reposted on a social network where it instantly became viral.

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It started at Imgur, a giant online image hosting service, much like Instagram and others, where people post images of a wide variety and comment on them with any and all. How big is it? According to the latest numbers in January 2015, it is the 38th most visited site on the internet.

As it is, one of the images use in the first part of the pictorial was then posted on Imgur, with the title, "The top chess players in the world, trying to play soccer..." Though this image was also posted at the official Tata Steel Facebook page, this crop was unique to the ChessBase article.

With millions of images posted online every day, with subjects such as "Mantis Shrimp is smarter than me", there was no reason to think anything of it, except then it was taken up by another social network, Reddit.

As Alina herself commented when it was mentioned to her: "Nerd Alert!", and of course she is correct. Reddit is both similar and different than Imgur. Everyone sees everything, while upvoting items they like, and commenting freely, but there are many specialized groups where repositories of photos and other material can be found.

Want to find colorized historical images from long ago? Reddit is your place to go.

Reddit is a hugely popular site, that counts over 174 million members

The very same day the Imgur image became a topic in Reddit, it also became the number one item there.

The result is that today, the Imgur image of Ivan Saric, Magnus Carlsen, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave playing football, in an image that made the sport look far more dangerous than it is, went viral.

It is right now, two days later, the most viewed picture on Imgur with over three million views.

Who would have guessed?




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.
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aurrvellis aurrvellis 12/22/2015 03:53
what's the point then?
bernard38 bernard38 1/29/2015 03:07
It's not a question of being sensitive or not, what I dislike is not the picture in itself (I think the pic is made with talent) but the reason why this photography is popular: because it confirms the stereotyped image that is associated with chess players.
In one of the schools where I teach chess, some of my pupils confessed me that they were mocked because they played chess. Millions of people saw this photography, but it's not for the good reasons; I personally don't care that they have this opinion about chess players, what I am criticizing is the fact that it's presented here like "good news". (Apology for my English).
daftarche daftarche 1/27/2015 07:57
seriously MVL with those clothes and glasses and gesture is perfect example of a nerd.
enanos7 enanos7 1/27/2015 12:20
I think the picture is funny. That's it. True, they look awful, but it's hilarious. Everybody realises it is the caption. May be some people will use it maliciously, but who cares!
tom_70 tom_70 1/26/2015 11:01
People need to quit being so sensitive. I would gladly take some funny pictures playing soccer if it would make me a world class chess player.
drgibbon drgibbon 1/26/2015 11:01
@bernard38 Don't worry too much, places like imgur and reddit poke fun at just about everything (here's an example: https://i.imgur.com/oWtmRUa.jpg). The pic is pretty funny, and I'd like to think the guys could laugh at themselves and take it in their stride :)
steveroark steveroark 1/26/2015 08:57
If you read most of the comments, the internet really sided with the chess players. There's no question the picture makes them look a bit silly, but top comments on all sites posted are saying things like: I'd like to see soccer players play chess! or links to magnus playing against soccer stars. Aside from a couple of unsurprising trolls, I think the internet was very kind to our beloved chess masters
bernard38 bernard38 1/26/2015 07:43
Why do you seem satisfied? Don't you see this photography is used to ridiculize chess players? Hence the popularity of this pic, unfortunately... Just look again at the picture while forgetting who is playing soccer... see what I mean?
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