Saturday, January 22

The ‘maitre d’ who played with Magnus Carlsen


  • Guillermo García, Spanish chess master, had the honor of playing a game with the Norwegian champion while preparing for the Dubai World Cup at the hotel in Cadiz where he works.

Moving the chess pieces masterfully is not within everyone’s reach. Much less sit at the board to try to stand up to him, at least resist, first of all a world champion like he is Magnus carlsen, which these days defends title, tables in between, against the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in the final in Dubai.

This is the story of Carlsen, of how he prepared the way to revalidate the title of world champion that he has held since 2013 in Andalusia, last October, but also of Guillermo Garcia, hotel maître d ‘and Spanish chess master, who had the pleasure at 48 years of playing a game against the Norwegian phenomenon. Who won? It is the least important because until the arrival of Carlsen Garcia he had played more than 500 simultaneous games with the clients of the Royal Hideaway hotel in Sancti Petri and had not lost a single one. “It is not that true either. I would rather say that I was never defeated by an adult client, although I always offered the children the possibility of tables ”, he explains. William, introduced to the art of chess by his father, Guillermo Garcia Martin.

It all started in Huelva when the main protagonist of this story was a child. “‘Do you want to study chess?’ My father asked me. I had no idea that there were books, or anything. At that time there was no internet and my father managed to find bookstores in Huelva where to find texts on the subject and also a club where I could grow as a chess player. ” The boy became a teenager and the local Huelva press spoke of a phenomenon on the boards, that he was going to figure and they immediately saw him as a candidate to one day face the Kasparov and Karpov, the two emerging figures of the 80s of the last century.

The Scandinavian phenomenon was established in October in Sancti Petri where he studied with his analysts the duel against Nepomniachtchi, between walks on the beach, paddle tennis and watched Madrid matches on TV.

Magnus carlsen nor had he been born. Attracted by the good weather, by knowing the Cadiz sunsets and knowing that he would have no problem watching his games on TV. Real Madrid del alma, a team that is still attracted by the white statistics of goals and results, arrived in Sancti Petri, at the hotel of William, cautious when explaining the life of Cádiz Carlsen so as not to break the privacy of a client of your establishment.

Carlsen I walked along the beach, played paddle tennis and also soccer. “He doesn’t do it bad at all,” he starts William very insistently. “And yes, yes (laughs while speaking). It’s very Real Madrid.” He settled in with his team of analysts, six people in all. There were only a few days left and you had to try to find escape routes to defeat a Nepomniachtchi, which resists and scrambles on the board (four boards so far).

“At the age of 19 I was already a national teacher but then I made the decision to put chess aside after having been champion of Spain at school, which would be something like the Spanish sub 16 title,” he says. Guillermo Garcia. And he did so after being one of the volunteers who helped in the World Chess dispute, in the victory that Kasparov achieved before Karpov in Seville in 1987.

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“Now I have returned to chess and also to simultaneous games; 20 at a time.” Influenced by the great Netflix series ‘Lady’s Gambit’, William created the project ‘Maître’s Gambit’ to play with the guests of his hotel. “It was impressive to see how Carlsen he sat in a simultaneous game, when really he should have been the one to act as master. “There were several movements, but without winners or losers. Until the two sat face to face; William with white. Quickplay. Up to 22 movements. “Later, when analyzing the plays in the ‘module’ I saw that I even had an advantage.” The ‘module’ is a computer capable of defeating the best of mortals and that if used by a person who has no bloody idea of ​​chess beats the best of mortals. Carlsten. “Misused would be something like doping in our sport.” Who won? The answer remains in the air.




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