On Friday 28th of June, Magnus Carlsen will meet Bosnian Grandmaster Borki Predojevic for a game of friendly chess in Lillehammer. The event is organised by the NCPD as a part of the Norwegian Chess Championship. The intent is to celebrate the historical ties between Lillehammer and Sarajevo and give these two great players a chance to meet again, seven years after they last played each other in Bosnia.
Two young talents: Magnus Carlsen and Borki Predojevic playing in Sarajevo in 2006.
Both Predojevic and Carlsen showed exceptional talent at a very young age. Magnus Carlsen is today world famous as the highest ranking player in the history of chess and an international celebrity, while Borki Predojevic leads a more humble life in Sarajevo, where he is a member of the chess club Bosna and regularly plays international tournaments as well as planning for his own chess book company. Sarajevo is also the city where the Nansen Dialogue Project started, when Inge Eidsvåg went there during the siege in 1994 to look at the rehabilitation of the ward for war victims at the Kosevo hospital financed by Lillehammer Olympic Aid. The connection between the Sarajevo, Lillehammer and sports is well established and has proven to be historically significant.
Carlsens talent and dedication to chess is of course beyond any doubt, but Predojevic was and is just at as talented, dedicated and hard working. The conditions surrounding these two sportsmen could not have been more different, however. Though they both have had the full support of their families and chess clubs, Predojevic lives the most war torn country in Europe after World War 2, while Carlsen has benefited from the political and economical stability of Norway all through his youth. Who knows where Predojevic might have been today, had the wars in Bosnia never been? As a junior player, he beat Carlsen, and he is one of top 100 chess players in the world today.
Waiting for Magnus: Borki preparing for the match in the Bosna Chess Club, Sarajevo.