Whereas it is one thing of a idiot’s recreation to match gamers throughout completely different eras, the present Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen has a great case for being the best participant to ever reside. He is been a Grandmaster since 2004, grew to become world champion in 2013 (a title he is efficiently defended in three championship matches since), and his peak classical ranking of 2882 is the very best in historical past (his present FIDE ranking is 2847). And final week, on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, he and grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura determined to lean into the memes by enjoying a gap that has now been dubbed the Double Bongcloud.
There are numerous explanations for the place the Bongcloud nomenclature got here from, but it surely’s been round since not less than the 90s and appears inextricable from the rise of web chess. There have been rumours that former world champion Bobby Fischer performed on-line within the 90s, and would use this opening to display his superiority (thanks, Guardian). As that means, the joke with the Bongcloud is that it is such a foul transfer you’d must be stoned out of your thoughts to even attempt it.
The transfer follows the usual opening of White pushing their king pawn to e4, Black responding with their king pawn to e5, after which White’s king strikes to e2. Which appears like this:
Let’s not get too into the weeds on chess concept however that is as unhealthy because it will get: exposes the king, blocks improvement of different items, prevents castling… it is a stinker. It may be performed as a type of disrespect to 1’s opponent, however the Bongcloud’s sheer daftness in a recreation the place gamers memorise openings referred to as issues just like the Sicilian Dragon, the Nimzo-Indian defence or the Ruy Lopez means it is also turn into a good-natured joke, skewering the chess world’s occasional tendency in the direction of pomposity.
Carlsen’s opponent on this recreation, Hikaru Nakamura, is a superb participant himself and recognized for humorous chess-based web shenanigans, together with enjoying the Bongcloud and really profitable in massive matches. Which is the mandatory context for Carlsen selecting to open towards Nakamura with the transfer, which sees Nakamura immediately crack up, earlier than selecting to reply in-kind. After which neither participant can comprise their laughter as they shuffle items on the best way to a draw.
Right here we’re, within the 12 months of our lord 2021, with two of the best gamers on the planet opening towards one another with a Double Bongcloud. Some chess grandees do not take too kindly to such stuff occurring within the recreation of kings: British grandmaster Nigel Brief right here means that “some Twitch era openings” are “an insult to chess.”
Mike Basman used to shock by enjoying 1.e4 g5!? Though not fairly as stable because the Berlin, not less than this took management of the f4 sq. & ready an prolonged fianchetto. It was extremely provocative, however not an insult to chess – not like some Twitch era openings I might identify.March 17, 2021
To cite the Dude: that is simply, like, your opinion man.
A lot of the chess grandmasters once I was studying the sport had been very critical figures certainly, however that was additionally chess in an period the place it was transitioning to the pc age. The sport now could be virtually unrecognisable from the 80s and 90s, and the variety of codecs and curiosity that on-line play has given rise to is unquestionably some kind of golden age. If the worth of that’s the present era of grandmasters making just a few jokes in minor tournaments, I am fairly certain chess can climate that.
Actually going by the response of Hungarian grandmaster Peter Leko, who was on commentary duties, and could not suppress his personal laughter by the tip. “Is that this referred to as Bongcloud yeah? It was one thing like of a Bongcloud enterprise,” he chortled in disbelief.
As if it wanted to be mentioned, this recreation was a lifeless rubber: each gamers had already certified for the match’s subsequent stage. When Leko refers back to the Berlin stuff he is speaking a couple of high-level play that appears to safe an early draw, i.e. the type of play one might need anticipated to see.
As an alternative, Carlsen and Nakamura snigger, transfer their kings round slightly, and primarily go for a derp draw. They each had a success of the Bongcloud, laughed their asses off, and peaced out. It is a far cry from Bobby Fischer versus the world however, each infrequently, that is no unhealthy factor.