Well Done, Magnus!

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 12/26/13, 12:36 AM.

The following story was sent to us by one of our readers, with the simple accompanying text: For my friends and for chess lovers.

Five years ago – in the autumn of 2008 – I was working as a photographer at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. A boy came up to me and asked with a noticeable accent: ‘Could you tell me how to get out of here?’ ‘I’ll show you,’ I replied and started to go with him out of the press area. I knew who he was but pretended I had not recognized him. On the way out we chatted a little. I told him I was from Hungary and my 15-year-old son had collected 1800 FIDE Élő points. Of course at the time the 18-year-old kid I was talking to had collected nearly 2800 points and was among the four best chess players in the world. He mumbled something like ‘Well done’, adding that Hungarian chess was very strong compared to the small size of the country. ‘And you’ve added your homeland, Norway, to the map of chess,’ I thought.

When we got to the area open to the public, the boy stopped at a stall selling chess clocks, books and the drawings of the greatest players in the history of chess. To his surprise, among the pictures of Jose Raul Capablanca, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and others he found the picture of a young man, who was no other than himself, Magnus Carlsen! As he could not remain anonymous any more, I asked him to pick one of the drawings of the chess icons and allow me to take a photo of him with the picture. Carlsen thought for a while, and then chose his own picture. I think with this choice he was telling me that I was taking a photo of a future world champion. He did so modestly, without showing off, but at the same time fully aware of his mission. Strangely enough, when I saw the look in his eyes in the viewfinder of my camera, I started to believe him.

I have never sold or given away this photo as it symbolised his promise for me. And at the end of October – a couple of days before his 23rd birthday – Magnus Carlsen kept his promise. With his brilliant play and unquestionable superiority, he became the 16th (classical) chess world champion, thus making history.

Let us now celebrate together, and let this photo be a Christmas gift for everybody to enjoy. Let it be a present for the children learning the moves, and for their fathers, uncles and grandfathers teaching them. For dilettantes and for professionals. For blitz chess hyenas, for the players in cafes, for those playing in subways to make a living, and for those playing in the thermal pools of baths. For chess trainers, journalists, players with any qualification, and for real amateurs. For internet players, for the keen chess players in parks and squares, for disabled players, and for the girls and women becoming better and better at playing every day. For those who love this game and for those who do not like it (yet). As the motto of FIDE says: GENS UNA SUMUS (We are one people.).

I let this photograph go now. I do not mind if my name is not shown under it. This photo has fulfilled my dream: to catch the moment when a great champion is looking back at us from the past and at the same time the look in his eyes is reflecting the present and anticipating the future.

I cannot and would not like to sell this moment.

László Fodor

12687 reads 57 comments
28 votes


  • 3 years ago


    nice story :)

  • 3 years ago


    wow...nice story...i still remembering the past while i'm reading this story beacause and for those who do not like it (yet).this line on that article is realy so true...coz b4 i realy don't like this game but now on i'd bcome chessaddict..Laughing

  • 3 years ago


    So those Budapest guys play nude chess?   Surprised

  • 3 years ago


    Beautiful story. It reminds me of one ( about 4 at that time) kid here named Alekhine proudly displaying his picture with Westley So. in the Public market in Escalante city.

  • 3 years ago


    yep. They do actually play in thermal pools at the big bath-houses in budapest, at least. I have played myself at one such place. It was a very nice experience.

  • 3 years ago


    it made me wonder which photo Magnus would have chosen if his own had not been there...

  • 3 years ago


     "...and for those playing in the thermal pools of baths."


    : D

  • 3 years ago


    brilliant portret and a beautyful story.  Thank you.

  • 3 years ago


    He coud not find his way out? A 2800 player. One of the smartest men in the world. I wonder if I could have found my way out.Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Thank you very much for sharing, Mr. Lazlo! Great picture and story!

  • 3 years ago


    Great portrait László. Thanks for sharing the story and picture, Peter and László Fodor.

  • 3 years ago


    If reading that doesn't make you smile I don't know what will. Very cool. Thank you Laszlo Fodor.

  • 3 years ago


    lucky shot!! World Champ in the making... captured beforehand!!

    Priceless masterpiece!!

  • 3 years ago


    the story is like a promising variation that wins in the end...what a very inspiring story of magnus...

  • 3 years ago


    Thank you for two wonderful Christmas gifts - the great photo and equally great story! Best share of the year!!

  • 3 years ago


    King Carlsen ; one the greatest kings ever in the world by intellectual talent..........hail king Carlsen.......

  • 3 years ago


    Ain't we waxing lyrical... But not that bad.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice picture and story, but a little dramatic, no?

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for sharing, really great!

  • 3 years ago


    Great story! Love it...

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