American Shines In Chess Charity Event

Christian Pulisic took part in an impressive charity event from the USMNT’s training base in Houston, Texas ahead of the team’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Mexico on Thursday night. In partnership with PUMA and the Champions Chess Tour, Pulisic played against a 10-year-old version of five-time reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen using the “Play Magnus” mobile app.

For every move Pulisic made before his inevitable demise, PUMA donated $500 to UNICEF. Very few people reading this article will appreciate how difficult a task really is.

The “Play Magnus” app offers 30 different skill levels based on Carlsen’s ability at different ages, starting with the first skill level at age five.

Carlsen is a chess prodigy who earned the Grandmaster title just months after turning 13. At 19, he became the youngest to reach No. 1 in the world rankings. At the highest level of chess, he once beat Dutch grandmaster Anish Giri in just 23 moves. He’s also damn good at Fantasy Premier League. There’s no shame in losing to Carlsen, even if he’s just a little boy.

But after Pulisic’s performance at the charity event, it looks like we’re going to have to change his nickname from ‘The LeBron James of football’ to ‘The Magnus Carlsen of football’ – the 23-year-old American lasted 25 shots against a pre-teen Carlsen, raising $12,500 for a good cause.

“It was fun,” Pulisic said afterwards. “I wasn’t really used to the interface, it was a bit different, but I thought I had a chance for a while. I wasn’t completely losing, but I was very weak in time so I had to play faster.”

Pulisic revealed that his passion for chess had been rekindled during the lockdown and he had an image of a chess madman on the back of his PUMA cleats.

“Yeah, that’s right, I have a crazy in the back of the boots”, Pulisic noted. “It’s just something that I think is really cool, and I just like having it on my boot when I play. I don’t think there’s a specific reason why it’s crazy, it’s is just my favorite chess piece. I don’t know why, the way it looks or the way it moves. I don’t know why, I just like the bishop.

He took out one bishop for a bit of early pressure on young Carlsen, but the other was biting the granite midway through the game.

There is no doubt that Pulisic’s mental acumen at Azteca, and whether Tata Martino goes with Gerardo Arteaga or Jesús Gallardo at left-back, they will be an easier opponent than Magnus Carlsen.

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