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Greatest chess player of all time goes for the 'Double Bongcloud' opening


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While it's something of a fool's game to compare players across different eras, the current Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen has a good case for being the greatest player to ever live. He's been a Grandmaster since 2004, became world champion in 2013 (a title he's successfully defended in three championship matches since), and his peak classical rating of 2882 is the highest in history (his current FIDE rating is 2847). And last week, at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, he and grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura decided to lean into the memes by playing an opening that has now been dubbed the Double Bongcloud.

There are various explanations for where the Bongcloud nomenclature came from, but it's been around since at least the 90s and seems inextricable from the rise of internet chess. There were rumours that former world champion Bobby Fischer played online in the 90s, and would use this opening to demonstrate his superiority (thanks, Guardian). As that suggests, the joke with the Bongcloud is that it's such a bad move you'd have to be stoned out of your mind to even try it.

The move follows the standard opening of White pushing their king pawn to e4, Black responding with their king pawn to e5, after which White's king moves to e2. Which looks like this:

The Bongcloud opening.

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