Whereas it is one thing of a idiot’s sport to match gamers throughout completely different eras, the present Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen has a very good case for being the best participant to ever dwell. He is been a Grandmaster since 2004, turned 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 a minimum of 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 exhibit his superiority (thanks, Guardian). As that implies, the joke with the Bongcloud is that it is such a nasty transfer you’d need to be stoned out of your thoughts to even strive 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 dangerous because it will get: exposes the king, blocks growth 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 sport the place gamers memorise openings known as issues just like the Sicilian Dragon, the Nimzo-Indian defence or the Ruy Lopez means it is also grow to be a good-natured joke, skewering the chess world’s occasional tendency in the direction of pomposity.
Carlsen’s opponent on this sport, Hikaru Nakamura, is a superb participant himself and identified 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 in opposition to Nakamura with the transfer, which sees Nakamura immediately crack up, earlier than selecting to reply in-kind. After which neither participant can include their laughter as they shuffle items on the best way to a draw.
Right here we’re, within the yr of our lord 2021, with two of the best gamers on the planet opening in opposition to one another with a Double Bongcloud. Some chess grandees do not take too kindly to such stuff occurring within the sport of kings: British grandmaster Nigel Quick 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 strong because the Berlin, a minimum of this took management of the f4 sq. & ready an prolonged fianchetto. It was extremely provocative, however not an insult to chess – in contrast to some Twitch era openings I may title.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 severe figures certainly, however that was additionally chess in an period the place it was transitioning to the pc age. The sport now’s nearly unrecognisable from the 80s and 90s, and the variety of codecs and curiosity that on-line play has given rise to is unquestionably some type of golden age. If the value of that’s the present era of grandmasters making a couple of 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 top. “Is that this known as Bongcloud yeah? It was one thing like of a Bongcloud enterprise,” he chortled in disbelief.
As if it wanted to be stated, this sport was a useless 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 may need anticipated to see.
As a substitute, Carlsen and Nakamura snort, transfer their kings round a bit of, and primarily go for a derp draw. They each had successful of the Bongcloud, laughed their asses off, and peaced out. It is a far cry from Bobby Fischer versus the world however, each on occasion, that is no dangerous factor.