Arch rivals Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri combined yesterday to break a rule in chess – the convention that White goes first! The exhibition game was played to highlight the fight for equality on the eve of today’s United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Here at chess24 we’re marking the day with a 12-hour Banterthon with Grandmasters Jan Gustafsson, Loek van Wely and Jan Smeets, where Black will start first in all of the games.
First things first – the #MoveForEquality campaign isn’t claiming that White moving first in chess, a convention only firmly established in the second half of the 19th century, is racist. It’s simply using the symbolism of chess to draw attention to a social issue. As Magnus puts it:
This rule was never about race or politics, but we can break it to send a message to everyone who believes that colour should grant advantage in chess or in life.
Starting with the black pieces is an interesting challenge in chess, since the colour of the pieces dramatically changes our perception of chess positions. Giri comments:
It's difficult to change your mindset in a chess game with a different start, but if we can change our minds in a game we can surely help people change their minds in real life.
There will be plenty of opportunity to try it out in our Banterthon from 9am to 9pm CET:
Everyone is very welcome to watch, and if you’re a Premium member you can submit a custom challenge where Black plays first! To do that:
Then just enjoy the show, and if you’re picked you’ll automatically be taken to the game.
Anish Giri teased us on Tuesday:
Guesses included Singapore, Thailand and…
But then on Wednesday it turned out Anish was in Oslo, Norway, since he was spotted in The Good Knight chess pub, playing against Norwegian no. 2 Jon Ludvig Hammer:
What was going on? Well, yesterday we got a teaser for the big game:
And today we finally got the full story:
Check out more details at the #MoveForEquality website.
We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines. Some components of our site require cookies or local storage that handles personal information.