My game with Magnus Carlsen
On January 16, 2014, Magnus Carlsen, the newly crowned world chess champion and the highest rated player in history, paid a visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, to give a talk and play a ten board simultaneous exhibition. His ten opponents were basically chosen randomly, by taking the first ten employees to respond to an announcement email, and I was lucky enough to be watching my inbox at the time!
Carlsen walked from board to board making his moves. When he got to each person's board, that person would have to make his move right then so as not to slow down the event. This gave us very little time to think, as Carlsen pretty much played his moves instantly, and it got worse as players lost their games and he had fewer and fewer boards to visit. One player joked in email the day before that we should spread the tables far apart so Carlsen would have to spend more time walking!
photo by Umesh Nair
Carlsen went 10-0 with only one close game, against the highest rated player (2168) among us. I had no chance in my game, but thoroughly enjoyed it. What I wanted most was to have some real play (as opposed to blundering early and being done from the start) and to make him think at least once in the game, and as you'll see in my game notes, I got both wishes! The wish I didn't get was to mount an attack against him, but it was actually very educational seeing how he snuffed out any possibility of an attack before I could even dream of it.
I'm a software engineer at Google and a writer on the side. My writing projects include a novelization of the life of Joan of Arc and a daily haiku site where I've been posting one new haiku a day since July, 2010. You can find all my writing online through my home page, www.FreemanNg.net. I play chess online at Chess.com under the (brand new) username...LostToCarlsen!