Pacquiao faces Magnus Carlsen in virtual chess challenge
MANILA–Manny Pacquiao lasted 27 years fighting the best boxers in his generation. Now his goal is to last more than 52 moves against reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen — or more precisely, the Norwegian’s 10-year-old version.
Pundits predicted a tough “but winnable” time for the boxing legend who is known to play long nights on the chess table in between training camps and Senate duties.
The cross-over fund-raiser, dubbed as the Magnus Carlsen Celebrity Charity Challenge, will be held 1 a.m. Saturday Manila time.
Pacquiao will challenge an app based on the skills and range of Carlsen when he was 10 years old. The match will last two minutes.
“I can’t wait to see how the legendary Manny Pacquiao does against a 10-year-old me on the Play Magnus app. I wasn’t world champion back then, but I was already playing decently so it’s going to be hard,” said Carlsen.
Pacquiao, who just announced his retirement from boxing to focus on his presidential campaign, said: “I am very much excited to play Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion. This is something that doesn’t happen every day and I will be placed in a different arena this time around,”
The 30-year-old Carlsen, who is also current world champ in blitz and rapid chess, will act as commentator, according to the organising All Play Media chief Tony Aguirre.
Aguirre said the farthest an opponent reach in the ongoing challenge series is 52 moves. Nobody has defeated the Carlsen app so far.
Also joining the ranks of celebrity challenger are actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cuba Gooding and Joe Mantegna and tennis legend Boris Becker.
Compared to other celebrities, though, Pacquiao has extensive chess experience, playing with the likes of American Grandmaster Wesley So and Filipino GM Joey Antonio in the past.
The Pacquiao-Play Magnus App battle will serve as curtain raiser for the $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the most prestigious event in the online chess tournament.
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