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Chess Wars: Karjakin faces spacemen 50 years after first cosmic game

Moscow, Jun 9 (efe-epa).- Fifty years after the first Space-to-Earth chess game, an earthling and residents of a Soyuz spaceship clashed in a commemorative event to mark the cosmic standoff.

Representing the Earth was Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin while cosmonauts Ivan Wagner and Anatoli Ivanishin made their moves from the International Space Station.

The teams dished out a 21-move deadlock in what Karjakin described as “a hotly contested game”.

“I consider the tie to be the fairest. The brain works very well in the cosmos,” he added at the end of the encounter.

The result was the same as half a century ago when the first Space versus Earth game saw cosmonauts Andrian Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov on the Soyuz 9 flight take on General Nikolai Kamanin and cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko, who played from Moscow.

The game ended in a 35-move draw.

Ivanishin began the match, with the cosmonauts playing on a tablet that at times slipped out of their hands and floated around the spaceship, as seen in a live online broadcast.

In 1970 the Soyuz-9 players used a special board designed by engineer Mikhail Klevtsov for zero-gravity conditions.

Magnetic pieces were ruled out because they could end up floating around potentially interfering with onboard instruments, so Klevtsov designed a unique chess set using a system of notches and grooves.

Karjakin, who played from the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow, used a traditional chessboard.

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