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Great Carlsen Documentary

Most of you have probably already seen that there is a great Norwegian documentary on Carlsen available here.

But for those that have not, I would say it is worth a shot. Talking about shots, here is Hammer at work. Pay especial attention to the background:

That looks like a lot of Quality Chess books to me :-).

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  1. Csaba
    November 6th, 2013 at 12:42 | #1

    Yes but Carlsen was solving a position from Fundamental Chess Endings by Gambit 🙂

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    November 6th, 2013 at 12:43 | #2

    Which is also a fantastic book!

  3. Nikos Ntirlis
    November 6th, 2013 at 13:37 | #3

    If i am not that blind, i see GM 10 close to the top of the stack, right? 😀

  4. Jacob Aagaard
    November 6th, 2013 at 13:46 | #4

    @Nikos Ntirlis
    I have a feeling that is the Spanish book. Sorry!

  5. Matt
    November 6th, 2013 at 13:48 | #5

    I suspect the inclusion of all the books in the shot was deliberate attempt to confuse his opponent’s team. The Tarrasch is simply one opening I definitely do not see Carlsen (or Anand for that matter) playing!

  6. Nikos Ntirlis
    November 6th, 2013 at 14:48 | #6

    Yeap, i feel the same as well, but you never know! Kasparov (the former Tarrasch guru) is advicing Magnus, right? And yes, Jacob is right, it is definately the Mikhalevski book.

  7. Indra Polak
    November 6th, 2013 at 15:07 | #7

    How can you confuse your opponent in this way? Maybe this was the stack of books that were less important and for that reason stacked on a place that normally is occupied by cups and glasses. The closed books would also not worry me; the ones that are open on pages are much more likely to be under investigation.

  8. Jacob Aagaard
    November 6th, 2013 at 16:15 | #8

    I think he was looking at them for his own joy actually.

  9. Jesse Gersenson
    November 6th, 2013 at 16:30 | #9

    The photo makes a convincing argument for easy-to-read-at-a-distance bindings. With that in mind, the book at the bottom of the stack, white with a blue rectangle, is most recognizable. Simple geometric shapes are easy to spot!

  10. KIA Fan
    November 6th, 2013 at 18:40 | #10

    I see Experts on the Anti Sicilian out there!

  11. November 7th, 2013 at 02:02 | #11

    A bit silly to use Carlsen’s familiarity with Botvinnik Capablanca, Avro 1938 as the illustration of Carlsen’s prodigious ability to recall chess games. Any chump knows the Botvinnik game — it is one of the five or ten most famous games ever! And Carlsen initially guessed Nottingham rather than AVRO. Carlsen’s quote is something like “Smells of Botvinnik Capablanca. Was that in Nottingham?” If recognizing that game and pawn structure is the sign of a true chess genius then please send a film crew to my house. Obviously Carlsen is indeed a genius with a prodigious memory– I’m only saying the documentary did not show the best illustration of that fact!

  12. Jacob Aagaard
    November 7th, 2013 at 10:32 | #12

    In the 60 Minutes piece a few years back he guessed that the famous London tournament was 1856, to which I went wtf. Every bunny knows it is 1851.

    Another documentary with Susan Polgar wanted to illustrate how a chess player can remember a position if it has structure, but cannot if it is random. So they drove a van passed where she was sitting outside a cafe with a position on the side. She could remember the first one. But again it was close to fake. The position was after 18 moves in Kasparov-Karpov, NY 1990, 2nd match game. One of the most memorable positions from the match; not least because this is where Kasparov improved on theory with 19.f3!. So not only was the position famous; it was also chess theory.

    Journalists generally want to tell a certain story and then set it up. Yesterday one of the three ship yards in Britain closed (Portsmouth). The BBC was continuous about how this ended 500 years of ship building history. To call it inaccurate would be kind. Portsmouth returns to the state it was 10 years ago. That’s the true story. Eventually, the story did change to say that no politicians, not any of the opposition either, accepted that it was anything but a commercial decision. I obviously have insider knowledge and know a lot more about this than Joe Public. So, I could hear how they sensationalised the story. It was an engineering decision and an easy one. And it was known more or less ever since Portsmouth opened that it would not be permanently.

    The true story was about the scale of redundancies; twice as many as expected. BAE did handle it well with their employees and very few were angry. Still BBC managed to track down all of them it seemed and got them to say some nonsense that this was about buying off Scotland before the referendum, when the real story there is that the Ministry of Defence has paid 100 million pounds for restructuring the Glasgow ship yards, because BAE did not want to gamble on the referendum, but restructuring the yards for building the next generation of ships is needed. Everyone acts like it will be a “no” and cross their fingers. At the same time the SNP shout “scaremongers” when obvious facts are presented – such as: should Scotland leave the UK, we will not be building the UK’s navy vessels in the future.

    The whole thing is f…ed up to be honest. There is a serious debate about independence. We are not all in agreement on what to vote in the office. But our arguments are far sounder than what the BBC likes to report…

    So, this little trick of chess positions with the intention to impress non-chess players does not annoy me. The main story is actually true!

  13. Phille
    November 7th, 2013 at 10:56 | #13

    In “The secrets of spectacular chess” the authors write that many chess players can identify famous games just by reading the most famous move + move number. I thought: “Just move number and move, without position, quite unlikely …”. Then they brought a few examples and I actually recognised 90% of them. 😉

  14. Remco G
    November 7th, 2013 at 15:30 | #14

    Such famous moves as …Qg3, or …Bh3, or Rxd4 or …Rxa3 don’t even need a move number.

    A coach once caught me out though when I knew …Bh3 was the answer in that famous position, but I didn’t actually know why. Oops.

  15. KIA Fan
    November 7th, 2013 at 17:35 | #15

    Remco G :
    Such famous moves as …Qg3, or …Bh3, or Rxd4 or …Rxa3 don’t even need a move number.
    A coach once caught me out though when I knew …Bh3 was the answer in that famous position, but I didn’t actually know why. Oops.

    All I can say is… Shirov

  16. Stigma
    November 7th, 2013 at 20:15 | #16

    30…Qxh3+ and 24.Ba7 are among my favorite moves ever. But what’s up with 29…Bxh2?!
    We are geeks, aren’t we 🙂 (I admit I had to look up the exact move numbers).

  17. Martin Matthiesen
    November 8th, 2013 at 00:29 | #17

    Averbakh-Kotov, Karpov-Unzicker and Spassky-Fischer ?

  18. SovietSchool
    November 8th, 2013 at 01:21 | #18

    This is agood game , I can’t remember the move numbers but how about
    Bg4-e6 !! Bb2-a3!! Bf5-d7!! An old school favourite.


    And famous due to one move. C7-C8=R !!

  19. Ray
    November 8th, 2013 at 08:31 | #19

    🙂 🙂

  20. Stigma
    November 8th, 2013 at 12:45 | #20
  21. Jesse
  22. Jesse
    November 9th, 2013 at 00:33 | #22


  23. KIA Fan
    November 9th, 2013 at 11:19 | #23

    Magnus started with the KIA!
    Okay they transposed to a Fianchetto Grunfeld and KID which I myself do against this and I always used Boris Avrukh’s 1.d4 for studying it.
    But Vishy surprised him with a line not mentioned in the book.
    If there are many games in this line in the Match then can we consider a revised edition of Boris Avrukh’s 1.d4? 🙂

    P.S. So maybe one of the Quality Chess book Magnus used maybe is 1.d4 by Boris Avrukh to transpose to this?

  24. The Lurker
    November 13th, 2013 at 22:44 | #24

    Is the Berlin Wall book in the stack? MC played that today.

  25. wok64
    November 13th, 2013 at 23:07 | #25

    This is almost as easy as 12.Qd1 1-0 🙂
    We are really weired …

    Reminds me of the old joke: Two old men are sitting in a train. One of them says: “12” and both laugh. The other one says “23” and they burst out in laughter again. This goes on for a while until one of the other passengers asks what they are doing. “We´re old friends and we know our jokes so well that we assigned numbers to them. now we only have to tell us the numbers to make us laugh” explains one of the old men. “Great idea” replies the passenger, “how about this one: 18”. When the old men don’t laugh he asks: “Isn´t 18 a good joke?”. “For sure it is” explains one of them “but you also have to be able to tell it in a funny way!”

  26. Ray
    November 14th, 2013 at 08:01 | #26

    @KIA Fan
    KIA? Wasn’t it a Réti?

  27. KIA Fan
    November 14th, 2013 at 10:17 | #27

    The Lurker :
    Is the Berlin Wall book in the stack? MC played that today.

    I have the book and they were following one game from that book and Anand deviated on the 14th move
    In fact two days ago Caruana – Grischuk at the ETCC was going on with the same line except that Caruana played g4 at one point

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