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Let It Rainn Chess.com Members At Magnus Carlsen Simul

Let It Rainn Chess.com Members At Magnus Carlsen Simul

The first ever Chess.com event to feature World Champion Magnus Carlsen will include nine Chess.com members, a celebrity, and a ChessKid!

The simultaneous exhibition takes place this Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern (GMT-5), 10 a.m. Pacific, and will be shown live at Chess.com/TV.

IM Danny Rensch and GM Irina Krush will host, on location! You can either watch online or see the commentary in person at the USCF K-12 Grade Nationals in Orlando.

There were several ways to qualify for the 11-member field. Eight players got in by winning their daily qualifier, and one kid got his seat by playing about 1000 games and winning the ChessKid.com contest

Chess.com offered direct invitations to one celebrity (scroll down to see who) and one member for excellent sportsmanship during the qualifier.

Let's meet the fortunate few who will challenge the highest-rated player of all time!

Rainn Wilson, the actor most famous for his role as Dwight Schrute on the American version of "The Office," is also a huge fan of chess.

You may already know that from his web series "Soul Pancake," where he once interviewed Carlsen from the back of his van and revealed that he is a "total chess geek."

Rainn Wilson (photo: David Shankbone, Creative Commons 3.0 attribution).

Here's the "Metaphysical Milkshake" with "the worst Norwegian accent ever."

And here's the actual game they played. Carlsen took one minute to Wilson's five.

In the simul, all players will start with 25 minutes and a 25-second increment per move. Carlsen will not receive any time advantage.

Here are the 10 non-celebrity members, who will be on one of the biggest stages of their lives:

Caleb Petersen, Chess.com username "CP6033


His Canadian rating is 1589. "Rather sad I know, however I live in a very, very rural area and only get to chess tournaments every three months, and my rating is still provisional. I've never lost rating points at a tournament so far. For the most part I play and train on Chess.com and with books."

Petersen is 14 years old and has been playing chess seriously for about two years -- and he has been playing on Chess.com for nearly that long. 

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


Why does he want to play Carlsen? "Bragging rights and the once-in-a-lifetime experience to try to at least be a slight challenge for him."

His favorite player is Levon Aronian, and he will be playing from Clifford, Ontario, Canada.

Rajarishi Karthi, Chess.com username "cool64chess"

His FIDE rating is 1960 and Karthi has been playing for six years, five on them in tournaments. He started using Chess.com in April 2014.

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


He is 16, and doesn't have a favorite player. He will be playing from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India (the home of Viswanathan Anand -- amazingly he wasn't picked as a favorite!).

CM Stepan Osinovsky, Chess.com username "stepanosinovsky"

Osinoksky was our first qualifier and is rated 2241 FIDE. He is 29 years old and has played chess since the age of four! He's been on Chess.com for the last two years.

Why does he want to play Carlsen? "Because it's once-in-a-lifetime chance to play against the world champion. Sure it's something not ordinary."

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


His favorite player of all time is Mikhail Tal and he will be playing from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Reginald Martyr, Chess.com username "Darkcloudy"

Martyr doesn't have an over-the-board rating. He explained that his home country, St. Lucia, is not a member of FIDE.

He is 19 years old and has also been playing chess since he was four, but began taking it seriously at age 11. He's been on Chess.com for six years.

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


Why does he want to play Carlsen? "I'm excited to play him because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play one of the greatest players of all time."

His favorite player is Judit Polgar, and he will be playing from his hometown of Gros-Islet, St.Lucia.

IM Andrew Tang, Chess.com username "penguingm1"

Tang is 2421 USCF and 2316 FIDE. He is 15 years old and had played chess for a little over 10 years, 2.5 of them on Chess.com.

Why does he want to Play Carlsen? "I'm excited to play Magnus because he is clearly the best player in the world and my favorite player."

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


He will be playing from Plymouth, Minnesota.

IM Kacper Drozdowski, Chess.com username "Kacparov"

Drozdowski has a FIDE rating 2472, the highest of any qualifier. He is 18 years old and has played chess for 13 years. 

He's been on Chess.com for nearly six years -- long enough to still be one of the few with an @chess.com email address. (No, before you ask, we don't give those out anymore Laughing).

Here's his favorite game from qualification (he played from his phone during college classes!):


Why does he want to play Carlsen? "The game will show me how much I still have to improve."

Unsurprisingly, his favorite player is Garry Kasparov and he is currently on the chess team at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he will be playing the simul.

NM Grant Xu, Chess.com username "jbj"

Xu is rated 2329 USCF and is 17 years old. He's been playing chess for eight years, seven of them on Chess.com.

Why does he want to play Carlsen? "I enjoy Magnus's playing style and it will be cool to say I played the best player in the world."

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


His favorite player is Capablanca and he will be playing from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

Itzhak Solsky, Chess.com username "solskytz"

Solsky, 42, is rated 1942 FIDE. Also a skilled pianist, Solsky has been playing chess for 37 years, and joined Chess.com six years ago.

Why does Solsky want to play Carlsen? "Because he's not ready for my opening preparation. If only Anand knew..."

Solsky was awarded a wildcard spot in the simul for good sportsmanship. Late in a qualifier he was playing the leader, who lost his connection. Solsky, down a pawn, resigned rather than win on time.

Here's Solsky's favorite game from the qualification tournament:

Solsky's favorite player is Capablanca and he will be playing from his home of Brussels, Belgium. 

Mate Manfay (the perfect chess name!), Chess.com username "Mtmnfy"

Manfay is 2241 FIDE (the exact same as Osinovsky!). He is 27 years old and has been playing chess for 20 years. He's been on Chess.com for more than two years.

Why does he want to play Carlsen? "Playing against the world champion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am very excited about it."

His favorite player of all time is Anatoly Karpov. Although he is Hungarian by birth, Manfay will be playing the match from his home in London, England.

Here's his favorite game from qualification:


Our final qualifier is from ChessKid.com

Superstar ChessKid Powell, fishing on Lake Powell! His ChessKid and Chess.com name? "LakeMonster" of course!

Powell is rated 1788 USCF. He's 12 years old and learned chess when he was six. He's been on Chess.com for four years and ChessKid.com for two years.

This spot went to the ChessKid who played the most live games on ChessKid.com in the last week. Powell played more than 600 eligible games. His mom said that he played 12 hours per day for the first four days, then 18 hours a day for the final three! Powell is homeschooled and promised he would make up his work over Winter Break.

Why does he want to play Carlsen? "Magnus has been my favorite player my whole life and it would be the greatest honor to play him."

Here's his favorite game from qualification:

Remember to watch the Magnus Carlsen simul this Sunday (Dec. 14) at 1 p.m. Eastern (GMT-5), 10 a.m. Pacific, live on Chess.com/TV.

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