6 Ways To Beat Magnus Carlsen

6 Ways To Beat Magnus Carlsen

| 52 | Fun & Trivia

This Sunday (Dec. 14), "10 fortunate members will earn the right to challenge World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen in an online simultaneous exhibition," according to FM Mike Klein's press release.

But I wouldn't call them "fortunate," exactly.

Sure, they'll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to face one of the best players in chess history, and bragging rights that they've pushed pawns against someone who could go down as the all-time greatest.

But the games themselves? They might not be as handsome as Magnus's modeling portfolio. 

Usually, simul games against Magnus Carlsen end badly for the challenger -- "nasty, brutish and short," as the philosopher Thomas Hobbes would say. 

There are some ways, though, you can improve your chances of winning, unlikely as they are.

Don't forget to watch the Magnus Carlsen simul live on on Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time (1 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. GMT). GM Irina Krush and IM Daniel Rensch will provide live commentary. 

Let us know in the comments and on Facebook your own ideas on how to beat the world's best player.

6. Be A Wizard Fabiano Caruana

Despite his striking resemblance to Harry Potter, I think it's safe to assume that GM Fabiano Caruana is indeed a mortal human being. Having supernatural powers sure wouldn't hurt, though, when playing against Carlsen.

Caruana is one of the very few chess players in the world who might not need magic to beat Carlsen. 

While Magnus maintains an excellent +13 -6 =7 lifetime score against the world number-two, it’s been a lot closer in the last year.

In 2014, Caruana is a respectable +4 -5 =2 against Carlsen, including a win in their most recent decisive game during Caruana’s amazing 2014 Sinquefield Cup:

If, however, you are part of the 99.999999986 percent of the world that ISN'T Fabiano Caruana...well, good luck. 

5. Appeal To A Higher Power

Whether you turn to religion, spirituality, the mathematical structure of the universe, or the chess goddess Caïssa herself, you'll need help from some higher level of existence to defeat Carlsen.

Just make sure your higher power isn't Stockfish.'s cheating-prevention team will make quick work of any computer-assisted players.  

4. Blindfold Him

via imgur

How do you get Magnus Carlsen to blunder a piece? Make him play without looking at the board.

In the 2010 Amber blindfold tournament, Carlsen scored “only” 6.5/11, good for third place. But he did uncharacteristically lose four games of those 11, including a one-move knight blunder against Ivanchuk:

Carlsen won’t be playing this simul blindfolded, unfortunately. But maybe you could hope he spills his famous orange drink on his monitor...


...or he gets distracted by some popular YouTube videos.

3. Play The Sicilian (If You Can)

Magnus Carlsen's tournament chess record as White is an astonishing +145 -37 =94 since 2010. 

That's not exactly the most hopeful stat for his would-be vanquishers in our simul, but at least the record tells us which opening we should try.

Nine of Magnus's losses as White since 2010 have been against Sicilian defenses, compared to a relatively paltry four losses as White in the Ruy Lopez.

So you should probably play the Sicilian if Magnus lets you. If you can also play as well as seven-time Russian champion Peter Svidler, that would be a plus.

Here's a beautiful win by Svidler against Magnus where the Russian starts off with a Sicilian and then tosses in a brilliant exchange sacrifice:

2. Play A Younger Magnus

The real Magnus Carlsen just turned 24 and is playing some of the strongest chess in history. Let's face it, you have a slim-to-none chance of beating him now.

But wouldn't it be great if you could play Magnus when he was a little younger and less formidable?

Unless you've invented a time machine, there's just one way to do it: on the Play Magnus smartphone app.

The app includes a custom computer engine that simulates Carlsen's playing style at any given age, starting at age 6.

You should be able to defeat the youngest versions of Magnus, but be careful as he gets older. IM Daniel Rensch did not have much luck against the tween Magnus:

1. If You Can't Beat Him, Join Him

via blogspot

If you are lucky enough to play Magnus this Sunday, let's face it: you're probably going to lose no matter what you do.

But the game likely will be one of the best chess learning experiences of your life.

For everyone else, you will also have the chance to learn chess from Magnus Carlsen.

According to FM Klein's press release, "Carlsen will be creating several video lectures just for the community."

So even if you lose to Magnus in the simul, you can join him for some world-champion-level insights on his upcoming videos.

How would you try to beat Magnus Carlsen? Let us know in the comments.


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