Audacious Fox

Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight, was one of 15 people who were recently invited to the United Nations for the chance to play chess against Norwegian chess grandmaster—and currently the world’s number 1 ranked player—Magnus Carlsen. The result, while unsurprising, was nonetheless entertaining to read. Mr. Roeder (slight language warning):

The event was a “clock simul,” short for “simultaneous exhibition with clocks,” in which each of us “challengers” sat at our own boards while Carlsen, the “exhibitor,” darted around the room, rarely taking more than a few seconds to make any move before moving on to his next victim. We each had 30 minutes to make all our moves, but Carlsen’s clocks constantly ticked away at every board, putting him at a nominal disadvantage. […]

In retrospect, I blundered — unbeknownst to me at the time — on my 12th, 13th and 17th moves. Others too, I’m sure.

This was always going to happen. But as I sat shroudless, Carlsen did break my heart. By move 12, he’d pushed a pawn down his right flank, which caused me all sorts of problems, and my king was the equivalent of a sitting duck on the opening day of hunting season. But my own pawn, my little pawn that could, was on the march. My pawn made it two squares from the end of the board, where it could become a queen. And it would soon defend my extant queen, which on the next move fled down the board to put Carlsen in check — I put Magnus Carlsen in check! I confess that for precisely 1.5 seconds I thought, “I am going to fucking win.”

Carlsen then easily defended, parried … and destroyed me.

(Hat tip, CBD)