A few days back, the Play Magnus app was released for Apple iOS. I got to test this app out at the dinner event back in mid-January and got one practice game in to the engine (a loss) before my game with Magnus (leaving me 0-2 on the night in blitz chess).
The app includes an engine, videos, and a “golden ticket” like drawing that are all geared towards building his brand. The engine is what I’ve used it for so far – it’s meant to try and mimic his strength, style, and opening choices at various ages which is a pretty cool idea if it’s pulled off.
I’ve stuck to playing ages 12 – 14, and the opening choices do change dramatically by age while the engine does go up in strength. It seems to take more and more (unfounded) tactical risks at the younger ages, so I’ve beaten it consistently at age 12. I haven’t had quite as much luck when moving up the ladder – I’m stuck at 50% in a bunch of games against age-13 and scoreless in just a couple games against age-14. Of course, as many of the articles talking about the app release state, he lost to “himself” a couple times at age 14 (for example, this one at ChessVibes), so I don’t feel too bad yet.
One of those losses must have come around the time of his Bay Area visit – in talking to Anders Brandt (the tallest person in the picture below), he mentioned that Magnus lost at 14.
(l-r: Espen Agdestein, me [while struggling to survive], Anders Brandt; photo by Charlotte Fiorito)
Magnus overheard that and was apparently still upset about it! Anyway, after hearing that, I chose to play it at age-13.
(me and Anders Brandt – post loss to the app, while working on drink 2 before my blitz game with Magnus; photo by Charlotte Fiorito)
Over the past two days, I’ve played a bunch of games against the ages-12 to 14 levels while riding BART. Interestingly though, it seems to want to play on and on a la Magnus of 23 …
This came from a Closed Lopez – it refused another draw after maybe another 20 moves and only agreed to a draw when the 50-move rule kicked in. But the day I lose this endgame to any computer in an untimed game is the day I officially retire.