Manchester – Monday 8th October 2018 – Liverpool and England wonderkid, Trent Alexander-Arnold has crashed to defeat this morning in his chess match against reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, ahead of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2018, which will take place between 9th and 28th November in London.
27-year-old Norwegian grandmaster Carlsen who has reigned over the sport for the last eight years beat 20-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold, dubbed the “Melwood Grandmaster” after just 17 moves and 5 minutes, in a game which can often last up to six and a half hours.
Entering the arena in a boxing-style match of chess, the six-foot Liverpool FC rookie flanked by 12-year-old coaches Kyan Bui and nine-year-old Shreyas Royal had the air of a heavyweight as he looked straight into the eyes of the Norwegian at the customary pre-match handshake.
The match which was held in Manchester was organised by Kaspersky Lab, to promote the forthcoming World Chess Championship, in which Carlsen, will go head to head with challenger, American Italian Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana. A chess prodigy who became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years, Caruana is by 11 months and 20 days—the youngest grandmaster in the history of both Italy and the United States.
Trent Alexander-Arnold confidence was partly due to global cybersecurity giants and World Chess Championship partner, Kaspersky Lab who had been helping Trent with innovative technology to help the rookie in his battle against the “unbeatable” Carlsen. It had also called up two of the country’s most promising players and, future Grandmasters, Kyan Bui (12) and Shreyas Royal (nine), to coach the fellow youngster ahead of the match.
The two sat down and Alexander-Arnold made the first attacking move. With support from his team when the NUIA technology showed where Carlsen was looking, it felt like a boxer’s trainers giving tips about when to defend or attack and jab. The result was a tense opening with Alexander-Arnold often staring at Carlsen to psyche him out as if facing him on the football pitch.
With each player making ten moves each, the game was starting to turn in Carlsen’s favour when he took Alexander-Arnold’s queen. If this was a boxing match, the Reds player was on the canvas but up with an eight count.
The match then only lasted a further seven moves as Carlsen, with unnerving ease swept through the Scouse player’s pieces. The final nail in the coffin saw Carlsen attack once more, he moved his knight to c4 and offered his hand, smiled and uttered the words “checkmate”. The match was over.
Kaspersky Lab partnered with 4tiitoo to use NUIA eye-tracking technology to allow Trent see Magnus’ future moves based on where the opponent was looking. The groundbreaking tech showed what squares the opponent was focusing on and, thus, enabling Trent and his backroom staff to better plan their next move.
The technology developed by Kaspersky Lab in association 4tiito “definitely helped Trent to stay in the game” after Trent lasted longer than Carlsen’s last British opponent, the former chancellor, George Osbourne. Although Carlsen was always expected to win, the match served to only further that Arnold is part of a new generation of ‘thinking-footballers’, and sportsman swapping computer games for more brain-stimulating forms of recreation, such as chess to focus their minds ahead of key matches.
Magnus Carlsen, 27-year-old Norwegian grandmaster said: “It was a great game, Trent’s good. He has a bit to learn, but he definitely has talent”.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s No.66 said: “Firstly, I want to congratulate Magnus on playing a great game, he is the deserved winner today. I am so grateful for Magnus taking time out of his schedule and playing me and Kaspersky Lab for making it all possible. If it wasn’t for their support and, of course, Shreyas and Kyan, I would have been gone in about four moves. There is no doubt that the NUIA technology that 4tiitoo created helped me by seeing where Magnus was planning to go. That being said, if I took him on at one-on-one on a football pitch, he wouldn’t stand a chance, no matter what technology he had!
“This whole experience has been an eye-opener, not only into just how much goes into becoming great at the game but also seeing the similarities between it and the sport I love, football. Football and chess can seem like polar sporting opposites, but there are so many similarities with the modern game. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the life of a footballer and I guess, that is true across most sports now. Although it may go down as a 1-0 loss, I will be practicing more and maybe there will be a re-match.”
To watch the match again search #TAAvMagnus on Twitter, visit Kaspersky Lab’s YouTube or watch it now on Trent’s Instagram.
The 12-game match, organized by FIDE and World Chess, will be played in London between 9th and 28th November. Chess fans will also have the chance to follow the game online at www.worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform.