In an exhibition chess match for a TV show, world champion chess player Magnus Carlsen beat Bill Gates in just 9 moves and 80 seconds.
The truth of the matter is that the game was over much earlier than that.
By playing a tricky defence as black, Carlsen caused Gates to make a disastrous move three that basically sealed the game.
Here’s how the opening went.
Bill Gates started with a very traditional King Pawn opening (Bobby Fischer referred to this opening as ‘The best by test’).
Carlsen then responded in a slightly unexpected manner by moving his queen knight out (rather than a more normal and symmetrical king pawn response, which an amateur like Gates likely would have expected).
Gates then responded fine, developing his king knight.
That’s when Carlsen got a little tricky and advanced his queen pawn, attacking Gates’ unprotected king pawn.
And then here’s where Gates committed a huge blunder. He advanced his king bishop to protect his king pawn.
Now to understand why this move is so awful, we’ve made a diagram explaining what a strategic disaster this is. You see, while his bishop is in fact protecting his king pawn, his bishop is now hemmed in with virtually nowhere to move.
His bishop is also blocking his own queen pawn, which prevents a forward move of that pawn to attack the center. And because he can’t move his queen pawn forward, Gates is blocking the development of his own queen bishop.
So in one move, he puts his bishop on a horrible square, blocks his own pawn, and blocks his other bishop. A complete tactical and strategic disaster.
From there the game was lost. There’s just no way to come back from ceding that much tempo and position that early on.
From then on, Carlsen just toyed with Gates. First he developed his own king knight.
Gates then took Magnus’ queen pawn, which Magnus to responded in half-a-second by retaking with his own queen.
Gates then developed his knight, and Carlsen responded by moving his newly developed queen to the rim of the board, bearing down directly on Gates’ king side. Note that Carlsen was moving so fast that the camera shots weren’t even coming to pan into the board after Gates moved.
Gates then castled, ominously moving his king closer to Magnus’ queen.
Magnus then calmly developed his bishop, further clamping down on Gates’ king side.
Gates then pushed his king rook pawn one higher, attacking Magnus’ bishop. But instead of moving his bishop out of attack, Magnus moved his knight closer to gates, a very ominous sign that Gates was falling into a trap.
Gates took Magnus’ bishop with a pawn (gaining a temporary material advantage!) to which Magnus responded directly by taking back with that knight.
Then Gates made an utter blunder, using his king knight to take Magnus’ black night on the center of the board. That gready move allowed Magnus to get the easy checkmate by bringing down his queen.
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