Magnus Carlsen Wins 10 But Loses 1 In Simul

Magnus Carlsen Wins 10 But Loses 1 In Simul

| 71 | Chess Event Coverage

Playing at amazing speed, GM Magnus Carlsen crushed 10 opponents but was defeated once in a simul on Sunday. 

In what was the first-ever event to feature the 24-year-old world champion, Carlsen played nine members, a celebrity, and a ChessKid. The final score was 10-1.

The Norwegian played from his hometown Oslo while commentary was provided by GM Irina Krush and IM Danny Rensch from Orlando, Florida, where the USCF K-12 Grade Nationals were held.

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 600 live games in one week and winning the contest offered direct invitations to one member for excellent sportsmanship during the qualifier, and one celebrity: Rainn Wilson. Best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the American version of "The Office," Wilson is an avid player on

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

Sunday wasn't his best day, though: Wilson was the first to lose! He made an early mistake, and never really got into the game. At the end it seemed that he was losing his queen, but in fact Carlsen was giving checkmate.

“Bg4... It's an old trick and then it's not only that you lose a pawn but your whole position is in disarray immediately so that's unfortunate,” said Carlsen in his post-simul interview with Rensch.

You might remember that Carlsen was once interviewed by Wilson from the back of his van in his web series "Soul Pancake". Asked about that interview, Carlsen said: “The interview was more at a metalevel that most are which was a nice change of pace.”

Carlsen expectedly won most of his games rather smoothly. An example: ChessKid LakeMonster had the guts to play the Berlin (!) against the world champ, but was treated to a rare sideline and quickly lost track:

Powell emailed us this photo the next day and wrote to FM Mike Klein: “Thank you for the opportunity to play Magnus Carlsen. It was best day of my life. I look forward to reading more articles by you and seeing you at big chess events.”

Carlsen did not hesitate when asked which game he liked the most. “No question, the queen sac against IM penguingm1. I thought at least I'll have very good compensation, his pieces have very little scope, I have the a-file... There seemed to be very little risk and it was going to be fun, so I thought why not?”

Here's that game:

The time control for all players in the simul was 25 minutes and a 25-second increment per move. Carlsen did not receive any time advantage, and didn't need one either: he played at amazing speed and was up on the clock on all boards, finishing with more than 25 minutes in most games.

He admitted that he might have played too fast, because in one game things went wrong. member CM stepanosinovsky will be able to tell his grandchildren that he once beat World Champion Magnus Carlsen on equal terms!

The 29-year-old player's real name is Stepan Osinovsky, and he's FIDE rated 2241.

CM Stepan Osinovsky, username "stepanosinovsky"

Osinoksky was's first qualifier and when asked why he wanted to play Carlsen, he said: “Because it's once-in-a-lifetime chance to play against the world champion. Sure it's something not ordinary.”

Well, winning isn't either!

Carlsen about the sequence that started with 20...dxc3: “Yeah, I completely missed that one. Well done. After he sacrifices the queen I think it's very difficult for me. It's a typical motif but this cxb2 just skipped my mind. I should have taken more time.

“It's typical for simul play. But I had more time on all the boards, so I could have spent a little more time here and there. Really congratulations to him, he played a very good game.”

In the longest game of the simul, member CP6033 had good chances to make a draw. As Carlsen said: “I thought it was draw. I think he could have defended better later on, for sure.”

E.g. on move 46 Black seems reasonably OK, but he shouldn't trade rooks.

You can find all games of the simul here.

The simul was an opportunity for Carlsen to promote his PlayMagnus app a bit more. Rensch, who interviewed him, asked whether he feels it's important for a champion to promote the game. “Yes, I believe it's a duty to bring chess to more people. Because... it's a great thing!” replied Carlsen.


Rensch revealed that he has "beaten all ages, but keep[s] on losing to Magnus at 12,” to which the Norwegian smiled: “I know, it's really annoying.”

Carlsen sometimes plays his own app: “Usually I play at ages 20-24 with varied success. Sometimes when I'm feeling bad and I really want to punish myself I play against Magnus 12 or 13 and lose miserably still!”

Rensch also asked the world champion what inspires him.

Carlsen: “What inspires me still is creating something special, creating something that I can get creative satisfaction from... that is very important. That, you know, just learning more about chess, about the art of chess, and winning obviously, that pushes me forward.”

IM Danny Rensch and GM Irina Krush commented live from Orlando, Florida. About 100 spectators attended in person (photo: Christine Vancott).

A question from a USCF member in Orlando was whether Carlsen felt he had a chance to beat Emanuel Lasker's record of keeping his world title for 27 years. Carlsen gave an answer he probably did not expect: “I really don't hope so, for others’ sake! It's gonna be miserable in 27 years if I'm still world champion so let's hope it's not gonna happen!”

Another USCF member duly asked whether Magnus wanted to donate 100 rating points to him.

Carlsen: “No, I think for me 100 rating points are much more valuable than for him. Maybe in 20 years!”

Rensch ended the interview by asking “which Jedi” Carlsen wanted to be, and again the answer was unexpected: “I haven't seen Star Wars yet. It's my thing. I haven't seen Lord of the Rings either. I am saving that for in 27 years, when I'm not world champion anymore!”

You can find all games of the simul here.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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