NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12:  Reigning Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen speaks during the press conference after a draw at 2016 World Chess Championship at Fulton Market Building on November 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Agon Limited)

World Chess Champion Claims Russian Hackers Are Targeting Him

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By James Covert | 5:45 am, November 18, 2016

Never mind the Sicilian defense — chess champ Magnus Carlsen needs a defense against Russian hackers.

The world’s No. 1-ranked chess player has tapped Microsoft to protect data during his meticulous preparations for games against rival Sergey Karjakin — a 25-year-old prodigy from Crimea who has sworn allegiance to Vladimir Putin.

Microsoft execs declined to say whether they’ve seen evidence of Russian hacking attempts since the epic, 12-game championship match began this past weekend in downtown Manhattan.

The tourney is drawing celebs like Woody Harrelson and Adrian Grenier.

Either way, “the element of surprise is very important in chess,” said Vibeke Hansen of Microsoft Norway. “It’s critical that all the preparations toward the final are completely secured.”

Carlsen — a baby-faced 26-year-old who has modeled for G-Star jeans alongside Liv Tyler — has been “analyzing a large amount of strategic data,” Hansen said.

As of Thursday, neither Carlsen nor ninth-ranked Karjakin had been able to take the lead in the match, which thus far has resulted in four draws and is expected to extend past Thanksgiving.

Elsewhere, Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing network is being used to power a new chess app called “Magnus Trainer” that was launched this week by Carlsen.

“With chess, you need a lot of computing power for analyzing positions,” said Kate Murphy, CEO of Play Magnus, which created the app.

This article was originally published in the NY Post.

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