World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has requested the software and tech giant Microsoft to secure his plans and secrets for the World Chess Championship final, from the espionage activities of Russian hackers. Carlsen fears that Russian hackers will assist his opponent, Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin, and provide Karjakin an unfair advantage for the championship match.
People who are not knowledgeable in the world of chess may be surprised to find out that Magnus Carlsen is the reigning World Chess Champion. A grandmaster from the age of 13, the 25 year-old Norwegian, dubbed the 'Mozart of chess', is set to play against the Crimean-born chess prodigy and Russian grandmaster, Sergey Karjakin, to vie for the World Chess Championship title. The match has been called by chess experts as one of the biggest chess finals in decades.
According to the newspapers The Telegraph and The Daily Mail as well as tech websites Network World and PC Magazine, Carlsen is reportedly concerned that he is being targeted by Russian hackers before their championship match on Nov. 11. Karjakin is fiercely patriotic and adored by Russian president Vladimir Putin so Carlsen fears that Russian support of his oppenent will extend to state-sponsored hackers providing assistance to Karjakin by stealing as much information from the reigning chess champion.
Any leaked information regarding the analysis and strategies of a player is very valuable and would hand a significant advantage to an opponent if they can get their hands on that information. Because of the perceived threat of Russian hackers obtaining the desired secrets of the chess champion, Carlsen has requested Microsoft to protect him from any attacks from hackers. He contacted Microsoft Norway and asked for assurances that he would be defended from the state-sponsored attackers and that his plans would be protected before the event.
Microsoft believed the threat was valid enough to guarantee him a safe training environment. Vibeke Hansen, director of communications at Microsoft Norway, said that since the element of surprise is vitally important in chess, it is critical that all comunications during preparations and the finals is completely secure. She also said that it is crucial that no data is lost or compromised so Microsoft Norway will ensure that Magnus Carlsen has a safe training environment with secure communication and collaboration tools.