Magnus Carlsen became the World Chess Champion after defeating Viswanathan Anand in 2013, following which he also reached a peak ranking of 2882 in the World Chess Federation’s list – the highest rating anyone has ever had.
2016’s World Chess Championship is only a week away, and Carlsen with his team have spent months using high-powered computers to crunch numbers and figure out moves for his upcoming 12-game match against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin during the championship.
A breach compromising his analysis could be devastating to Carlsen’s potential for success; to prevent himself from dealing with such a scenario, Carlsen had asked Microsoft Norge for help with his cybersecurity – and they are glad to help.
“The element of surprise is vitally important in chess; therefore, it is critical that all communication during preparation and the finals is completely secure. Preparing for a World Championship demands a lot of work, analysis and strategic sparring – and a lot of computing power,” Vibeke Hansen, Director of Communications for Microsoft Norge explained to The Telegraph, continuing with the assurance that Microsoft Norway will ensure that Carlsen “has a safe training environment and secure communication and collaboration tools.”
According to a number of reports spanning the past few years, Russia has been very busy hacking into systems around the world. Microsoft blamed Russia’s infamous STRONTIUM hacker group for exploiting the Windows vulnerability revealed by Google just last week. The White House has also blamed Russia for several cyber attacks and has also been taking precautions in the weeks before the American elections.
Moscow, meanwhile, is busy abandoning Microsoft products; with all of this happening, Carlsen’s worries might not be exaggerated.
The World Chess Championship 2016 begins on November 11 in Manhatten, and Carlsen is preparing for it at an undisclosed location in the Caribbean. The Caribbean, luckily, shares its time zone with New York, which helps Carlsen prepare – he enjoys outdoor activities in a warm climate while he prepares his mind for the upcoming battle.
The championship is going to be fierce this year – more than ever – it’s being called the biggest one for the generation; one can only hope for fairness and sportsmanship, in a competition with so much at stake.