Chess grandmaster takes on 11 opponents, all at the same time in Jersey City

Lauren Glassberg Image
Thursday, September 22, 2016
World Chess Champion defeats 11 opponents to earn title
Lauren Glassberg has the latest details.

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- When you are a grandmaster in chess, you can beat a lot of other players. But what happens when you take on 11 opponents all at the same time?

That's what the world chess champion did Thursday in New Jersey.

Magnus Carlsen may not look like a chess master, but indeed the 25-year-old is the world's best.

And in a challenge of a different sort, he's going head to head with 11 other players, in an event being held at the Liberty Science Center and broadcast all around the world.

"It's more challenging..only 30 minutes, three minutes per game, so it's going to be difficult," Carlsen said.

A bit aerobic for him and mentally taxing on his competitors..the pressure, the skill, the speed, with the world looking on.

"We value thought at this institution, that's what science is about, what chess is about," said Paul Hoffman, CEO of Liberty Science Center. "That's why I'm wearing a shirt 'Chess Rules', not as in rule, but in rules! Chess is great, we want to bring chess to all schools, all skills important in life."

The 11 folks playing Thursday earned their spots by competing on a chess app called Play Magnus, as in play the world champ. They're from all over the world and their ages range from 8 to 50.

"I started like playing when I was in 5th grade, pretty late but I think I've climbed really high, really fast though," said Vedic Panda who is 14 and from Atlanta.

His mother came along for moral support.

"I still have a dream that he is going to beat the king of chess. I'm a dreamer," said Smita Panda.

In the end Magnus defeated them all. And in an earlier, friendly tag-team match he also beat the top American player, Fabiano Caruana, who's from Brooklyn.

But winning, as Fabiano explains, isn't what chess is all about.

"In chess you do lose a lot and it's spar of chess and life in general, you're going to lose and you have to climb back from it," said Fabiano.