Magnus Carlsen Checkmates Bill Gates in 12 Seconds

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 1/24/14, 1:45 PM.

Magnus Carlsen only needed 12 seconds on the clock to checkmate the second richest man in the world, Bill Gates. As we reported earlier, Carlsen was to meet the founder of Microsoft, billionaire and philantropist as guests in the talkshow Skavlan. The show was recorded on Thursday and part of it was a game of chess, which didn't last very long.

Image: NRK/YouTube

For this blitz game, played in a studio in London, Carlsen was given 30 seconds on the clock against 2 minutes for Gates. The American billionaire opened with 1.e4, but didn't start the clock. Carlsen positioned his pieces, then started his own clock and played 1...Nc6. It was soon over:

Here's a video of the game, which was posted earlier today on Youtube and has been watched over 77K times already!

Gates had 1 minute and 10 seconds left at the end, while Carlsen still had 18 seconds left and so only used 12 seconds. (In fact he lost about 2 when he tipped over a pawn on move 2, and it seems he also needed about 2 seconds to stop the clock!) Obviously the difference in strength was so huge that chess fans won't be that surprised, but for the rest of the world “Magnus Carlsen Checkmates Bill Gates in 12 Seconds” probably sounds quite astonishing!

Norwegian TV channel NRK posted a report on the show and the game, where it says that “Carlsen had to admit that he had to break one of his own principles, namely not to use cheap tricks to win.” The world champion was obviously referring to the move 7...Ne5, which wasn't correct but did bring him a very quick checkmate.

In the TV show Carlsen also spoke about teaching Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chess, a week before. The Norwegian felt that “[Zuckerberg] was much better after an hour.” To the question whether he's friends with Zuckerberg on Facebook, Carlsen replied: “No, I do not accept everyone on Facebook!” 

Skavlan is a Norwegian-Swedish television talk show hosted by Norwegian journalist Fredrik SkavlanPrevious guests in the show include Michael Palin, Sinead O'Connor, Wyclef Jean, Judit Polgar, Bruno Mars, Ruby Wax, Robbie Williams, Jon Bon Jovi, Richard Dawkins, Kevin Costner, Will Smith and David Guetta. Carlsen had been a guest in the show more than once before.

186983 reads 99 comments
23 votes


  • 3 years ago


    I think some of you folks are overestimating your chances with 2 min. vs. 30 sec. for the world's best player (LOL)! He lives and breathes chess and you don't--he would smash B players and lower in < 30 sec.

    @jxiao Re1 provides a square to escape for the K after Nf3+, Qh2+.

  • 3 years ago


    OMG, what a waste and desappointment, Does he really play chess? A friend said a good point, others Masters were all busy playing serious chess, and he is wasting time on others entertainment stuffs.
    I would like to see news about someone that beat some high lvl computer, instead of this kind of "a 30 yo guy won  a competition to a 5 yo kid" ( talking about their chess lvl, no offense)

  • 3 years ago


    6 hours ago (according to the article) the video had 77k views. It's up to 238k now! Maybe, just maybe, one day it'll match Bill Gates' net worth.

    A chess enthusiast can dream.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Maybe Bill Gates will become better at Chess after he goes home and practice playing on his brand-new (iMac & iPad Air)... ;)
  • 3 years ago


    novice question... can some explain why Re1 is such a great move please?

  • 3 years ago


    9. Re1 would have made Carlsen think, "What the !@#$??" but he played 7... Ne5 probably to trick Black.

  • 3 years ago


    was fun but i bet anyone who knows a bit of chess cannot be mated in thirty seconds....carlsenor no carlsen....

  • 3 years ago


    lol nice one.

  • 3 years ago


    Of course it won't be an interesting game if you match a beginner versus Carlsen and of course many of us could have hold the position longer, that is true.

    But neither of these were the point of the event. It was just a fun match and probably both contrahents felt honored by each other. Who does not want to play versus the great MAGNUS CARLSEN? And of course beating world's richest man( alas, being superior to him!) is a most singular joy!

    The idea is probably the very same likesigning autographs to each other, but with some extra fun and the nice side effect of giving us something to talk about ;-)

  • 3 years ago


    Oh Bill.. What a silly loss.. ;P

  • 3 years ago



    It is true Magnus only had 30 secs, but Magnus can move very quickly. He would probably checkmate Gates quickly.

  • 3 years ago


    pyrojkl, Re1 would win if Nakamura was playing white. Nf3+ Qxf3 Qh2+ Kf1.

  • 3 years ago


    Re1 winning lol

  • 3 years ago



    No, the king has a flight square, so threats are gone.

  • 3 years ago


    hahaha captaincheckmate

  • 3 years ago


    titust, take note that Magnus had only 30 seconds, i myself am quite sure i could last longer, not sure if i could beat him, probably would be losing but win on time. 30 seconds is no time at all, and it takes time to checkmate someone, though as i said i would probably be losing.

  • 3 years ago


    Interesting to watch.

  • 3 years ago


    Amazing play. No chance for Bill Gates.

  • 3 years ago


    @titust No, Re1 would only delay the loss one turn.

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