Bad move, Bill ( Credit: Skavlan)
Bill Gates is a smart guy. A really smart guy.
But when it comes to chess, he's a regular Joe.
The world's richest man (or thereabouts) met the world's best chess player Thursday night on Skavlan, a Norwegian-Swedish television talk show hosted by Norwegian journalist Fredrik Skavlan. Inevitably a board was brought out, at which point fellow Norwegian Magnus Carlsen -- who also happens to be a chess grandmaster -- took the Microsoft founder to school by achieving checkmate in just 71 seconds.
Gates, to his credit, knew he didn't stand a chance.
"The outcome is a foregone conclusion," he said as a chessboard was brought onto the show. But the look of amazement on his face in just how fast he lost is priceless.
Carlsen, who recently beat India's Vishwanathan Anand to become the official world champ, says Gates fell right into the traps he set, but generously added that Gates had played a good game.
Well, as good a game as you can play in just over a minute.
"He was a bit unlucky and eventually fell to my tactics, but he otherwise made good, healthy moves," Carlsen said. "I think with a little more time, he could certainly be a pretty good player."
What's amazing to watch in this game is how quickly Carlsen makes his moves. Of the game's 71 seconds, he spent just 18 contemplating and physically moving his pieces -- a lightning fast pace. Gates, while certainly playing at a decent clip, can be heard second-guessing himself and muttering about what to do next.
Gates reportedly fancies himself as something of a chess buff, so the speed of this defeat certainly stung. On the upside, he does have an excuse to fall back on: His flight to the show was delayed and he had to rush to the studio to make it in time, which may have left him a bit frazzled. Also there’s the part where he’s a billionaire philanthropist. That probably soothes a few wounds.