Well Done, Magnus!

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 26-12-13 00:36.

The following story was sent to us by one of our readers, with the simple accompanying text: For my friends and for chess lovers.

Five years ago – in the autumn of 2008 – I was working as a photographer at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. A boy came up to me and asked with a noticeable accent: ‘Could you tell me how to get out of here?’ ‘I’ll show you,’ I replied and started to go with him out of the press area. I knew who he was but pretended I had not recognized him. On the way out we chatted a little. I told him I was from Hungary and my 15-year-old son had collected 1800 FIDE Élő points. Of course at the time the 18-year-old kid I was talking to had collected nearly 2800 points and was among the four best chess players in the world. He mumbled something like ‘Well done’, adding that Hungarian chess was very strong compared to the small size of the country. ‘And you’ve added your homeland, Norway, to the map of chess,’ I thought.

When we got to the area open to the public, the boy stopped at a stall selling chess clocks, books and the drawings of the greatest players in the history of chess. To his surprise, among the pictures of Jose Raul Capablanca, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and others he found the picture of a young man, who was no other than himself, Magnus Carlsen! As he could not remain anonymous any more, I asked him to pick one of the drawings of the chess icons and allow me to take a photo of him with the picture. Carlsen thought for a while, and then chose his own picture. I think with this choice he was telling me that I was taking a photo of a future world champion. He did so modestly, without showing off, but at the same time fully aware of his mission. Strangely enough, when I saw the look in his eyes in the viewfinder of my camera, I started to believe him.

I have never sold or given away this photo as it symbolised his promise for me. And at the end of October – a couple of days before his 23rd birthday – Magnus Carlsen kept his promise. With his brilliant play and unquestionable superiority, he became the 16th (classical) chess world champion, thus making history.

Let us now celebrate together, and let this photo be a Christmas gift for everybody to enjoy. Let it be a present for the children learning the moves, and for their fathers, uncles and grandfathers teaching them. For dilettantes and for professionals. For blitz chess hyenas, for the players in cafes, for those playing in subways to make a living, and for those playing in the thermal pools of baths. For chess trainers, journalists, players with any qualification, and for real amateurs. For internet players, for the keen chess players in parks and squares, for disabled players, and for the girls and women becoming better and better at playing every day. For those who love this game and for those who do not like it (yet). As the motto of FIDE says: GENS UNA SUMUS (We are one people.).

I let this photograph go now. I do not mind if my name is not shown under it. This photo has fulfilled my dream: to catch the moment when a great champion is looking back at us from the past and at the same time the look in his eyes is reflecting the present and anticipating the future.

I cannot and would not like to sell this moment.

László Fodor

12676 x gelezen 57 reacties
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  • 3 jaar geleden


    a larger than life question,How long will he dominate the chess world?longer than Steinitz or Lasker?Surprised

  • 3 jaar geleden


    I would have chosen Bobby Fischer if he was alive and didnt suicide chess. He probably would have been better than Magnus Carlsen (no offense) if he had the technology to study with, better players, and didnt commit suicide on chess. >:

  • 3 jaar geleden


    ok.i just didn't like the story and the photo.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Nice story, I would have chosen Vishy for he is not only a great player but a gentleman, HE WOULD NOT WIN AT EVERY COST, for there are things far more important than winning. Can we say the same about Magnus?.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Magnus is my champion.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    I would have picked Capablanca

  • 3 jaar geleden


    @PhilipN: Thanks, it was hard for me to imagine such scene. Seems like fun, I guess I'd give it a try... if in Budapest.  Smile

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Thank you Peter for sharing your experience with the future world champion at the time; I would of pick Alekhine but that is me.:)

  • 3 jaar geleden


    I really appreciate your sharing this picture with us. Thank you.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Thank you very much for sharing, Laszlo. I hope some day that you shall meet him again so you may give him a print of this photo. It has a real historical significance but beyond that, told you a lot about his personal grace and his quiet self-confidence.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    This is a one of a kind story. Thank you Mr. Laszlo for sharing this very intimate memory with all of us about this magnificent chess player.

    Happy Holidays to you and everyone here at Chess.com

  • 3 jaar geleden


    How beautiful and such a wonderful thought and gift to all of us! Thank you Lazlo!

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Great story and thanks for sharing it, Mr Lazlo

  • 3 jaar geleden


    "I think its pretty cool to have that attitude."

    I agree.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    thank you for that story

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Einstien said : Never idolize anyone.


    However when you see real king you say all hail king carlsen......this guy will live throughout history and like Kasparov and Fisher before him is already on of the all time greats of chess......Euclid, Archimedes, Newton , Gauss,  Einstien and so on ......kings that will live on  due to talent......so it is in that spirit that we say All Hail King Carlsen......he is not for this time alone he is for all of history........

  • 3 jaar geleden


    Great photo and nice story. Thank you Laszlo F.

  • 3 jaar geleden


    If you believe Magnus's own telling, he wasn't that focused on the WCC in particular until a year or so ago. It surprised me to hear that too, but who am I to disagree?

  • 3 jaar geleden


    There is a problem with this article. Carlsen has said that he doesn't care about idolizing chess personalities but only for the game of chess itself. That's not to say that he doesn't have the appropriate respect for past champions. He answered so when asked who his favorite chess player was. He said he didn't have a favorite and was only interested in the games played before. He doesn't mention names of favorite teams in other sports either. I think its pretty cool to have that attitude. I think that is why he didn't pick someone else's portrait (just as he refuses to name favorite chess players in interviews). And, that is why this article is strangely contrary to his attitude. Not criticizing, but food for thought?

  • 3 jaar geleden


    For those of you who are asking about chess in thermal baths, this picture should explain it--it's a representation of what I'm told is very popular in certain parts of Europe.


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