Carlsen schools chess hustlers in Washington Square Park

– in run up to championship match against Karjakin


Bobby Fischer, America’s most successful chess player, contested a fair number of chess blitz games in Washington Square Park, Manhattan. Usually, the games are timed at five minutes per player, per game; although five minutes can be reduced to two, or even one minute, upon mutual agreement by the players.

When a competitive chess player visits New York, it is likely there is an inclination to play the game in the park. There is vigorous chess activity that is ongoing, almost on a 24-hour basis, in Washington Square Park in the summer months. Added to that, the park is famous. It is a haven for chess hustlers, average players, American master chess players and American and foreign grandmasters. The park was featured in the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. In the film, Laurence Fishburne played the renowned chess hustler, Vinnie Livermore. Quite simply, it is the most popular outdoor meeting place for chess activity.

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen (left) and his challenger for the title Sergey Karjakin. It’s the first time two players who have come of age in the computer era are fighting for the title; this represents a generational shift in chess.
World chess champion Magnus Carlsen (left) and his challenger for the title Sergey Karjakin. It’s the first time two players who have come of age in the computer era are fighting for the title; this represents a generational shift in chess.

Norwegian grandmaster and reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen is in New York City getting set for his championship title match against Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin which begins November 11. We were not surprised, therefore, that during a visit to the hallowed Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan recently, the world champion made a detour to visit Washington Square Park.

Among others, he was accompanied by his manager Espen Agdestein, and American model and actress Liv Tyler. Carlsen has referred to his manager as a decent chess player. However, when he came up against the rulers of the game in the park, the chess hustlers, he lost miserably. It’s tough to beat the chess hustlers in New York City’s parks. Naturally, Carlsen took over.

He did not readily appear familiar to his opponents. One player told his story: “… I didn’t know who it was. I was just playing. I tried to win, but when I saw him make a move, already I knew it was like… you know… he’s a very strong player. In like 10 moves, he checkmated me.”

Most people are trying to complete a defensive castle within 10 moves, but Carlsen went straight for the kill, and succeeded. He said when his manager got crushed, he needed to “restore the honour of Norwegian chess.”

The World Chess Championship Match will be contested at the historic South Sea Seaport in Manhattan, and will last for two weeks. It pits the charismatic Carlsen, 25, against Karjakin, 26. Karjakin will enter the match as a decided underdog. Twelve games will be played. The player who first reaches 6.5 points, wins the match (a win = 1 point; a draw = ½ point; a loss= 0 point).  Chess enthusiasts will be able to view the match online.

The last time a World Championship Match was held in New York City was in 1995, when Garry Kasparov played Vishy Anand on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center.

Chess puzzle

Solution to last week’s puzzle

Dariusz Świercz vs Vitaly Meribanov, Belfort, 2005









White to play and win

White played: Bh4+

Chess game

Here are four games from the Millionaire Chess Tournament which were played in New Jersey, USA, from October 6 – 10. Polish grandmaster Dariusz Świercz won the tournament.

White: Dariusz Świercz

Black: Rauf Mamedov

  1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Na6 7. O-O c5 8. d5 Nc7 9. a4 Bg4 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Rxf3 a6 12. a5 Nb5 13. Ne2 e6 14. dxe6 fxe6 15. f5 gxf5 16. exf5 e5 17. c4 Nd4 18. Nxd4 cxd4 19. Bg5 d5 20. cxd5 Qxd5 21. Qe2 Kh8 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. Be4 Qf7 24. Raa3 Rac8 25. Rab3 Rc7 26. Kh2 Bg5 27. Rb6 Qg7 28. g3 Be3 29. f6 Qd7 30. Rf1 Qa4 31. b4 Qd7 32. h4 Qf7 33. Rf5 Qb3 34. Rh5 Bg1+ 35. Kh3 d3 36. Qg4 Qa2 37. Qf5 Qh2+ 38. Kg4 Qe2+ 39. Kh3 Qh2+ 40. Kg4 Qe2+ 41. Kh3 1/2-1/2.

White: Qibiao Wang

Black: Jeffery Xiong

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Be2 c5 7. c3 Qb6 8. Qc1 Bf5 9. Nbd2 Nbd7 10. Nh4 Be6 11. O-O Rac8 12. Qb1 cxd4 13. exd4 Nd5 14. Bg3 Bh6 15. f4 Ne3 16. Rf3 Nf5 17. Bf2 Nxh4 18. Bxh4 Bd5 19. Rf2 e5 20. Bg5 Bxg5 21. fxg5 exd4 22. c4 Be6 23. Qe4 Bf5 24. Qh4 d3 25. Bf3 Rce8 26. g4 Be6 27. Ne4 Bxc4 28. Kg2 Bd5 29. Nf6+ Nxf6 30. gxf6 Bxf3+ 31. Kxf3 Qd4 32. Kg2 Re2 33. Rf1 Rfe8 34. Kh1 0-1.

White: Gawain Jones

Black: Dariusz Świercz

  1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e6 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 d4 7. e3 c5 8. exd4 cxd4 9. d3 Nc6 10. Re1 Nd7 11. Ba3 a5 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Nbd2 Nc5 14. Ne4 Bd7 15. Qe2 Rfd8 16. Nxc5 Qxc5 17. a3 Rab8 18. h4 h6 19. Ne5 Be8 20. Bh3 b5 21. a4 bxa4 22. bxa4 Rb3 23. Bf1 Nb4 24. Bh3 Nc6 25. Bf1 Nb4 26. Bh3 Qc7 27. Rac1 Rc3 28. Qe4 Na6 29. Rxc3 Nc5 30. Qf3 dxc3 31. d4 Rxd4 32. Qxc3 Rd8 33. Qe3 Nxa4 34. g4 Qc5 35. Qg3 Qb4 36. Re3 Nc5 37. g5 h5 38. Kh2 Qd2 39. Bg2 g6 40. Bc6 Bxc6 41. Nxc6 Rd3 42. Qb8+ Kh7 43. Qf4 Rd7 44. Ne5 Qd4 45. Qg3 Rb7 46. Rf3 Kg8 47. Nc6 Qd1 48. Qf4 a4 49. Ne5 Qd6 50. Kg2 Ra7 51. Qf6 Qe7 52. Qf4 Qd6 53. Qf6 Qe7 54. Qf4 Qd6 1/2-1/2.

White: Lazaro Bruzon Batista

Black: Levy Rozman

  1. c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Nge2 d6 7. O-O e5 8. b3 g5 9. f4 gxf4 10. exf4 e4 11. d3 d5 12. Ba3 Re8 13. dxe4 dxe4 14. Qxd8 Rxd8 15. Rad1 Re8 16. Bh3 c6 17. Nd4 Ng4 18. Bxg4 fxg4 19. Rfe1 e3 20. Bc1 Na6 21. Bxe3 Nc5 22. Bf2 Bd7 23. Nde2 Bxc3 24. Nxc3 Rxe1+ 25. Rxe1 Ne6 26. Ne4 Kg7 27. f5 Nf8 28. Nd6 1-0.


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