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The New Yorker is an American magazine published nearly every week containing articles and commentary
on many subjects and topical events. In March 2011 one issue contained an interesting article on Magnus Carlsen and chess generally, which can be found at www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/03/21/the-princes-gambit The article begins by describing tournament chess,the use of computers and the transmission of moves over the internet. It moves on to discuss Carlsen’s fortunes in the 2010 London Chess Classic, which he had won the year before. He needed to win his 6th round game against Kramnik, having earlier lost two games. The description of the game is surprisingly exciting given that it uses only prose and no chess notation. Kramnik appeared to be winning for most of the long game but missed a winning move and had to settle for a draw. There are comments on the rivalry and possible ill-feeling between the two players.There is a description of Carlsen’s lifestyle and a brief history of his life from starting to play chess at the age of 8 through winning junior tournaments, having tuition from top coaches, playing over 7000 online games and beating Karpov at blitz at 13 to becoming world number 1 after being trained by Kasparov. Even then, he would have preferred to be a sports star.Following  that  is  a  history  of  chess,  including  its domination by the Soviets in the pre-Fischer era and the impact of the coming of computers such as  Deep Blue, which, it is argued, has altered the way humans play the game. The article then describes Carlsen’s fortunes  at  Wijk  aan  Zee  2011  and  ends  with  his preparation for the Monaco Ambertournament 2011.This is an illuminating description of the highest level of chess and the life of one of its top stars.

Ron Jones  

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