Chess champ Carlsen surprised local players

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CORRECTED: The organizers and participants at a chess match between a Stavanger and Oslo club were surprised when none other than Magnus Carlsen, Norway’s new World Chess Champion, showed up in their humble surroundings at Lambertseter in Oslo on Saturday to join the action. Carlsen admits it was an impulse on his part.

“I was in Stavanger on Thursday and we talked about how I was a member of the (Stavanger) club and what that means,” Carlsen told newspaper Aftenposten. “And then this opportunity turned up to both meet a grand master and help the club.”

There could hardly have been a bigger contrast from the first floor of the farm complex, where an 85th birthday party was also being held, to the lavish surroundings and huge media coverage of the world championship action in India last fall. Carlsen sat down at a long table, played against grand master Vladimir Georgiev and won, with Stavanger ending up beating Nordstrand of Oslo by a point and moving up to the elite league.

There was no advance word that Carlsen, back in Norway after lots of international travel, would play, and spectators got a rare chance to closely watch Carlsen in action. Georgiev was also surprised and ended up with the experience of a lifetime. “There are probably lots of people who would pay a lot to play against him,” Georgiev told Aftenposten.

Even though he lost to Carlsen, he claims the game “was great fun and something I absolutely hadn’t expected when I got up in the morning. I got a little too optimistic along the way and made a mistake, and then he rolled over me.”

Gisle Bjugn of the national chess federation (Norges Sjakkforbund), was also surprised by Carlsen’s appearance. “It’s of course just wonderful that he’ll show up like that for the club and his fellow players,” Bjugn said. “It was also entertaining for the public.” staff