Magnus Carlsen Scores 68-2 In German Simul

Magnus Carlsen Scores 68-2 In German Simul

| 18 | Chess Event Coverage

More than 100 years ago a newspaper birthed the Tour de France, and now another venerable European periodical has brought us the largest Magnus Carlsen simul in years.

"Die Zeit," the esteemed German weekly, celebrated its 70th anniversary this past weekend by sponsoring an event for the world champion and chess fans alike. The Hamburg-based newspaper is the most widely read in the country and also features a chess column.

(All photos courtesy IM Georgios Souleidis)

Carlsen's roster of opponents matched the inception of the first edition: 70 games for 70 years. In post-event interviews Carlsen admitted to having newfound respect for the energy required of large-scale simul givers.

GM Magnus Carlsen, man of the people? Two weeks ago he played chess on the shores of Venice Beach, California.

Prior to the matches, the champion invited prognosticators to visit his Facebook page to guess the final score, with the winners getting an autographed Play Magnus set (his app helped sponsor the event). As you might guess, of the nearly 3,000 responses, most were in the high 60s, with a few predicting a perfect score.

When the last hand shook Carlsen's, the final score read 68-2 (two games drawn, one lost). Readers of this site surely know who had the 68!

That three percent success margin was a little lower than the chance to just get a seat: 1400 applications were received for the 70 games, so just making it to Hamburg was a five percent lottery. Recall that in late 2014 he played a smaller simul on this site (against some titled players and with a clock), where the win percentage of the masses was nine percent (one win from 11 games).

The odds of participating in Hamburg were perhaps even longer, as at least one seat was reserved for retired footballer Felix Magath, who reached two World Cup Finals as a player and managed Bayern Munich to two Bundesliga titles.

Part-time chess player Felix Magath took his chances against part-time footballer Carlsen.

At least one member was among the lucky few. Hamburg resident "stormcrow76" blogged about his game. He bravely hung on to his weak d-pawn, then his weak e-pawn, but Carlsen finally broke through via Black's g-pawn:

You're probably wondering who was lone player who scored the full point against Carlsen. That honor went to Jens-Erik Rudolpe, FIDE 1981, who is also an accomplished chess author of historical events. Looks like he has more fodder for his autobiography.

Black got a dream King's Indian setup with much more pressure on the g-file than he endured on the c-file. The clever regrouping 43...Nf5 sealed White's fate, as after that the amateur was able to finally break through.

Carlsen also gave a fascinating interview with "Die Zeit" in anticipation of the event. Here's some highlights:

  • Like the news team, he does not yet know where the world championship will be, but still suspects it will be in the U.S. as promised.
  • Playing in Norway is not an advantage for him, as his results show often show.
  • Carlsen's happiest moment in chess was winning the Norwegian Under-10 Championship.
  • He's competed in Germany more than any other country in the last year (Grenke, World Blitz and Rapid, this event).
  • The Play Magnus app has been downloaded in every country except North Korea and South Sudan.
  • He plans to watch next month's Candidates' Tournament from Norway.


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