Zuckerberg and Gates to attend World Championship

by Albert Silver
10/29/2016 – FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced Wednesday that tech guru Bill Gates and social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg will attend the World Chess Championship in New York next month. “Gates and Zuckerberg have agreed to attend the match. I don’t know whether it will be at the opening or one of the later games,” he told TASS in an interview. This announcement emphasizes once more the widespread interest in the World Championship in New York.

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“I am still waiting to hear back from [US President Barack] Obama, [presidential candidates Donald] Trump and [Hillary] Clinton. At the very least, I haven’t had a refusal,” Ilyumzhinov added.

This should not come as a particular surprise in view of the well—known interest both these giants of the digital age have displayed in chess, and notably Magnus Carlsen himself. Needless to say, their visit is also very much a result of the location of the 2016 World Championship to be held in Manhattan in New York City, which is clearly an important step in trying capture a much wider audience as well as international media.

The Fulton Market in the Seaport District in New York will be the official venue

Although the two moguls are among the first high profile visitors to announce their intention to visit the World Championship, one can be certain they will hardly be the last, and one can expect a veritable Who’s Who to circulate through the venue throughout the match.

Silicon Valley’s love affair with Magnus Carlsen in particular is well documented, and the Norwegian has been invited their on several occasions, from exhibitions, to being named Honorary Chairman of the First Move chess program, a program backed by Silicon Valley companies and figureheads.

The board members of First Move with a million-dollar check for the Magnus Carlsen Critical Thinking Grant

In 2014, Magnus Carlsen appeared on the Norwegian broadcast network NRK in a talk show that brought in Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The two played a very quick and highly publicized bullet game that made headlines around the world.

Bill Gates had no illusions, and said the result was a foregone conclusion


The highest rated player against the richest man on earth: 79 seconds

Around the same time, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, also showed interest, though with no intention of facing the World Champion at the board. In his case it was for a one-on-one lesson with Carlsen, to learn chess from the best.

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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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