Chess Player Says He Plays ‘Chess, Not Figure Skating’

REDEMPTION: “I don’t think I play a bold game,” world chess champ Magnus Carlsen said, in response to a reporter’s question, on his first day at the Carlsen-Gyrus chess tourney at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds. “We play chess, not figure skating.”

“Marko” is a discoverer that has been dating a Carlsen fencer whom he is also tutoring. “I feel responsible for both him and the girl,” the Norwegian said. He was at the fair to pick up a fresh new chess board — much more colorful than the 10-year-old board that he uses for his previous four World Championship events.

“Maybe her name is Cossette,” he said in reference to his wife, Kati — chess’ version of Sandra Bullock, who played the ambitiously named Maddie in the 1996 movie “Speed.” “I like to think of my chess as clever.”

Meanwhile, Carlsen will be tested in his fourth title bout. Vladimir Kramnik, the world’s top player, is going for his fifth championship crown, which he last won in 2005. Carlsen’s poor recent run in major exhibitions — the past four have pitted him against Kramnik — means that his best option is to consider a surmountable victory, rather than a surmountable loss. “I feel stronger than the year before,” he said.

Asked to compare the modern chess federation, which exerts heavy control over the game’s Olympic status, to the federation of Socrates, who argued that the intelligence of the mind is superior to the intellect of the body, Carlsen replied: “Socrates was anti-hierarchical. Today, it seems so Hegelian to do that, to concentrate on the institution and not let the people decide.”

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