23-year-old bests billionaire Gates at chess in 9 moves

by Reuters

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Wow, that was quick," Gates said.


Being the richest guy in the world and a computer magnate doesn't necessarily make you a stellar chess player.

Bill Gates learned this the hard way when newly crowned world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, of Norway, beat him handily, in a mere nine moves - in front of an audience, no less. The speedgame took place during a popular Norwegian-Swedish talk show hosted by Norwegian TV presenter Fredrik Skavlan. It will be aired in Scandinavia on Friday.

The 58-year-old Microsoft founder was challenged to a gameduring the talk show to be shown in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The pragmatic Gates was under no illusions. He said before the match that the game had "a predetermined outcome."

During the brief game, Gates, in suit and tie, did his best against the Carlsen, 23, in shirtsleeves.

No doubt Gates' young employees defer to him in his Seattle headquarters, but Carlsen had no problem showing up the powerful inventor-philanthropist.

Carlsen might have been a tad nervous, however, going up against the multibillionaire given he knocked over one of his chess pieces and scrambled to put it right.

Gates laughed as he pondered a move and uttered, "Oh, shoot" when he knew the jig was up.

He good-naturedly gave Carlsen his due at the end of the match: "Wow, that was quick," Gates said, and then smilingly shook Carlsen's hand.

Asked if he ever felt intellectually inadequate, Gates quipped, "When I play chess with him."

Gates, whose net worth was estimated this month at $78.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was even given a slight advantage. He had 2 minutes to make his moves. Carlsen had 30 seconds. Carlsen won the game in 1 minute, 20 seconds.

The chess champ bested defending champion Viswanathan Anand of India last November, and the matches that resulted in his first world title were covered round-the-clock in Norway.

Carlsen is known for standing up and walking away from the board during games.

"I just feel that if there is not too much to think about, it's better to walk around a little bit, maybe get some drinks, some food to get some energy and also to get the blood flowing a little," Carlsen has said.

At least he didn't get up for a snack and drink during his short bout with Gates.

The boyishly handsome Carlsen - a grandmaster since age 13 -- is a veritable rock star in the world of chess. He has done some modeling for a clothing line and has earned the nickname "the Justin Bieber of chess."

Let's hope the similarities end with their stylish haircuts, and Carlsen confines his speedy antics to the chessboard.



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