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Take your chance - challenge the chess champion

Now SAS travelers has a unique opportunity - to challenge the Norwegian world chess champion, grandmaster Magnus Carlsen! With the app Play Magnus, you are able to play against Magnus at different levels - aged 5 or now, at age 25.

Magnus Carlsen travels a lot. In fact, you’ll find him on a plane about 200 days of the year. He often sleeps on his flights. But when he’s not sleeping, he plays chess against himself on the Play Magnus app.

Magnus Carlsen

Born: 1990 in ­Tønsberg. Grew up in Bærum, west of Oslo
Age: 25
Education: High school
Career: Made his ­international breakthrough as a 13-year-old in 2004 and became a chess grand master the same year.
World champion in 2013 and 2014.
World champion in rapid chess in 2014 and 2015. World champion in blitz chess in 2009 and 2014. 
Right now: The movie Magnus was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in April this year and was released in theaters in the fall. 

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“Sometimes I play against Magnus aged 23,” Carlsen, now aged 25, says. “And I don’t always come out on top.”

Carlsen is called the Mozart of chess. He has been playing the game since he was five years old. He was only 13 when he became a chess grandmaster, the third youngest person ever to achieve that level. Carlsen’s exciting style of play is also making chess tournaments appealing to a wider audience than has been the case in recent years. It’s the speed, the drama and the breathtaking moments.

He’s modest, though, and says that you, too, can become a better player if you have a good opponent to practice on.  And what better opponent to hone your skills with than Carlsen himself? SAS travelers can now do just that – play against the grandmaster. SAS has teamed up with Play Magnus to offer the chess app on the SAS App that is used by a million travelers. 

The Play Magnus app will also soon be available in the onboard entertainment system on SAS’s intercontinental flights. And if you think Carlsen is too intimidating an opponent, you’ll be able to play against other travelers on your flight.

“We also want to look into the possibility of travelers on different intercontinental flights playing against each other,” says Eivind Roald, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing at SAS.

”If you want to improve, it’s important to have an opponent that's your equal or better,” Carlsen says. “In the app, you’ll meet Magnus at various levels. You can play against me aged five or how I play now.”

It’s worth noting, though, that the average player of Carlsen’s app loses to the eight-year-old Magnus.

“With a few days of chess training online and some good opponents, it won’t take long for you to be good,” he adds. “You don’t need any experience to play Magnus aged five in the app. Don’t be afraid of me. If you’re afraid, then you’ve already lost. You have to believe in your own ability and not double check everything. Then just hope for the best.”

Text: Inga Ragnhild Holst 

Magnus Carlsen as a child - try playing against him in the app Play Magnus!

Q&A with Magnus Carlsen

Late, early or on time? Book or Ipad? Here is your chance to learn more about Magnus Carlsen.

See the Play Magnus Live Challenge

The world’s best chess player Magnus Carlsen was in New York to challenge selected chess players. But will anyone have a chance against the grand master?

Read more about Magnus Carlsen

Find out what he does to stay in top shape, read more about his way to the top and check out his favorite places in the world.




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