Carlsen visits Brooklyn’s IS-318!

Magnus Carlsen (back) with National Champions, IS-318. Photo by Elizabeth Spiegel.

Magnus Carlsen (back) with National Champions, IS-318

Magnus Carlsen made a pit stop at newly-crowned national champions IS-318 and heightened the celebratory mood in New York. IS-318 is the first middle school (6th-8th grade) to win the National High School Championship (9th-12th grade). Carlsen was in New York on business and stopped by the school.

From the photos there was a lot of excitement in the room as Carlsen signed lots of autographs and settled in to play the blitz games with the championship team. According to onlookers Carlsen won 4-0 and afterward remarked that “he knew the players were good, but not THAT good!”

Justus Williams taking on his first 2800-level player in Magnus Carlsen. Photo by Elizabeth Spiegel.

Justus Williams taking on his first 2800-level player in Magnus Carlsen.

Carlsen attempts to hold off James Black, Jr. Photo by Elizabeth Spiegel.

Carlsen attempts to hold off James Black, Jr. The world’s top-ranked player finally broke through on the queenside.

James Black Jr. watching Carlsen-Barayev blitz. Photo by Elizabeth Spiegel.

James Black Jr. watching Carlsen-Barayev blitz.
Photos by Elizabeth Spiegel.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC profiled the school on her show and while she still repeated the tired “geek” analogies, it was welcome recognition for a deserving program. Good showing IS-318!


  1. Pic #1 is a classic! I am sure sure Justus’s rating just shot up by a 100+ points simply due to this experience and opportunity to match wits with the potential world #1. Also, it is great to see such great confidence exhibited by Justus. Congratulation Justus! I am sure you will get your rematch.

    1. Magnus is already #1, but many peg him to be a future world champion. He will certainly be a contender for many years to come. However, it is possible that Justus may be a GM before Magnus becomes World Champion. If that happens, then that picture will really be a classic.

      1. At 14, Fischer was a world championship candidate player. That has never done replicated since. He was the strongest 14 year old there ever was. At 14, Fischer could beat 50 of Justus Williams’ at a simul with a 4 minute handicap of 5 minute game.

        1. We’ll never know for sure, but of course it makes for a interesting debate. Not sure Fischer could beat 50 2300-rated players at 5:1. A better question was a 14-year old Fischer vs. 14-year old Carlsen.

  2. Congratulations to the team and the entire school for such a marvelous accomplishment. Hats off also to Magnus for “Dropping Over for a Visit”. Even playing some games! Wow!! It is just great to see. We are watching this story thanks to the teams great play and Rachel Maddow for covering it.

    Congratulations to the Team, The Teachers, and the School ! Way to Go!!

    ACME Pawn Pushers

  3. I give Carlsen a ton of credit for this. I’m a big fan of Kasparov, but I was a little disappointed when he gave a simul a few years ago and of course he beat everyone, but he then went on a rant about the organizers failing to make sure all participants were under 2000 rating. This is because one of the participants came too close to getting a draw. I don’t think Carlsen is that kind of personality.

  4. Fisher unquestionably was the best player of his time. However, I saw an interview where he was asked to compare himself to some of the modern day top players. He struggled with the question, but said it’s hard to make the assessment, because there’s so much theory and instant information that’s available nowadays. During his time, it’s plausible that he would be able to beat 50, 2300 strength players with 5 to 1 time odds, but it’s really questionable that he would be able to accomplish the same today. However, after you review his “Game of the Century” knowing he was only 13, all you can do is shake your head in admiration. To steal a phrase from Daaim, we need to move on because “there will never be another Bobby Fisher. “

  5. hmmm…..I’m a big Bobby fan but…

    Here is a wikipedia article on players who have beaten Bobby Fischer.

    The article includes tournament play, blitz play and simultaneous exhibitions. I think we would all agree that Fischer was at his best in the early 70’s, yet he lost in simuls to one guy who is still to this day “only” a Master, another guy who finally became an International Master 11 years after he beat Fischer in that simul, and a guy who was called a “local champion” whose name doesn’t appear anywhere on the net. And there is a list in this article of about 60 players who beat him in the year 1964 in simuls. Most of those names are also too obsucre for the internet. And in 1964, Fischer was 21, a long way from 14.

  6. these kids are talented no doubt, but Fischer level…….. . there will never be another Fischer yet in the world…….no body not even Magnus is at Fischer’s level (at around that age)

    i do believe Fischer is the greatest player ever, yes even better then kasparov

  7. I agree that Fisher was a brilliant chess player and until someone else comes along and repeat what he had accomplished, he should be referred to as THE GREATEST of all time. Going 11-0 in a US championship and from the age of 14 he played in eight successive us championship and won them all . that iis just breathtaking!

    1. I would agree with you on that. He was the best / most innovative for his time I would say. Players that came later had the benefit of analyzing his style / games.

  8. Super- GM Magnus Carlsen if you read TheChessdrum, here’s a message I ‘d like for you to read. The next time you visit The Big Apple, my son Joshua Colas (age 14), would love nothing more than to have an opportunity to learn a thing or two from you in a blitz match.(He is currently 2516 FIDE Blitz). During your recent visit to New York you had played two of the talented THREE at IS -318, but did not get a chance to play him. I sincerely hope that you would make his dream come true the next time you come to the BIg Apple. thank you.

  9. ^
    I just saw those results!! The Bobby Fisher 70th Birthday Blitz Tournament was a great one for Josh, finishing 4th with a 2516 blitz rating just behind IM Farai Mandizha who now has a 2602 blitz and ahead of several GMs and IMs!!

  10. Justus played very well I thought! Lasting into the endgame w/o dropping any material against a 2800+ player is an accomplishment in itself!

  11. On other sites, I’ve seen people make mention that Justus beat Magnus Carlsen in a different blitz game that may have had no standard time controls at all. Evidently there were more than a couple games played in that visit.

  12. “Hanging” with Carlsen into the endgame is fantastic; drawing is stupendous but to defeat him is nothing short of magnificent/spectacular! One for posterity!

  13. There’s an irony here. Judging from Justus’ statements, he prefers to play against positional players. It’s ironic to consider that the World’s #1 ; the purely positional Carlsen, may be a more favorable match-up from Justus’ POV then say one of the other World Championship level players. Some of them play with a largely contrasting style to that of Carlsen.

    Also, I hate to go negative on the world, but I would be interested to know what percentage of the World’s population even thinks its in the realm of possibility that a 14-year-old African-American can win a casual chess game against the World’s #1 player. It’s funny that this game took place in 2012 because its sort of apocalyptic…

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