You vs Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen! | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

You vs Magnus Carlsen

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Last week, one of my students, whose USCF rating is around 1000, asked me: "What will my rating be if I beat Magnus Carlsen 8-2?"

Don't laugh, the kid is just 10 years old and he was not going to do it in 30 days. Besides, he has a predecessor. 

As the story goes, during one of Mikhail Tal's lectures an unknown amateur asked him: "If I beat Fischer 10-0, what score can I expect if I play you?" The Magician's reply was instant: "If you beat Fischer 10-0, I won't risk playing you!"

At some point all chess players ask themselves the question: "What would happen if I played the world champion?"

Some of them get their wish granted.

But for most it just remains a dream, so they can only guess how it feels to capture Carlsen's pawn or (gasp!) check his king! 

Today you'll get a virtual opportunity to play the world champion (well, sort of). I am going to offer you a set of positions from Carlsen's last three official tournaments. In these positions Carlsen's opponents had to find the best move to beat him or just to survive. Some of them were up to the task and some of them failed.

Test yourself and see if you would have a chance vs. Magnus if you ever played him.

Let's check your results:

  • Fewer than two correct answers: You can still beat Carlsen! Get the "Play Magnus" app and beat him at the age of five!
  • 2-4 correct answers: Try to sign up for a Carlsen simul. If he makes a tactical mistake, then you'll be able to take advantage of it!
  • 5-7 correct answers: If you play him blitz with the time odds 5-to-1, you'll have a chance!
  • Eight correct answers: The test was for club players and not for masters and grandmasters!
  • More than eight correct answers: Play Magnus in blitz and make an illegal move. If he misses it, claim a win!

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