Chess star: Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, 19, models for Dutch clothier G-Star
by Lindsay Goldwert
Tuesday, September 7th 2010, 12:21 PM

To put it in chess terminology, Mangus Carlsen is poised for a double attack.

At 19, Norwegian is already a chess Grandmaster and ranked No.1 in the world. He’s been a chess prodigy since he was 13, the youngest chess player ever to have been ranked best in the world.

Yet, this young man following in the path of chess greats such as Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, is also going the way of other sports prodigies like LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Venus and Serena Williams.

Carlsen, the face of modern chess, is also taking a turn on the runway.

The teen, who is solidly built, with dark-hair with bushy eyebrows, is the latest face of Dutch clothing brand G-Star Raw, posing for the campaign with U.S. actress Liv Tyler. The two were shot in black and white, modeling leather and denim.

“Already the world chess No. 1 and described as a ‘Mozart of chess,’ Carlsen has the potential to become a similar level of icon,” the company said in a press release. “Becoming a Grandmaster at the age of 13 years and 148 days, Magnus is the youngest player in history to achieve the No. 1 and his uncompromising approach to the game mirrors G-Star’s own hardcore design philosophy.”

Carlsen says that he was surprised to have been chosen for the fashion campaign. “I think people will be surprised to see me like this,” he told Norwegian news agency NRK. “Surely just as surprised as I was when I was picked for this,” he said.

“I think I look tough.” Carlsen told another NRK reporter.

G-Star is betting that there’s something sexy about the intelligence and cunning needed to win at chess, that psychology and strategy can bring in the crowds like a slam dunk or hole in one.

As part of the ad campaign, G-Star has launched the Raw World Chess Challenge. Carlsen will challenge the world (via the internet) to a game of chess at the chic Cooper Square Hotel in Manhattan on Sept. 10. Three grandmasters, from the U.S., France and Hungary, as well as his coach and mentor Gary Kasparov will be advising him.

The marketing blitz is one way for the world to get to know a celebrity who is known only has a superstar in the small world of competitive chess. The young champion comes across as modest yet incredibly serious in interviews. He is not only a strategic thinker but a student of the game and its past players.

Here is the full article.

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