I like watching Hikaru's youtube videos.

His commentary on the games is very descriptive, unlike other players that stay quiet for most of the game. Hikaru's always talking, letting you know what's going on.

However, one strange thing I've noticed is the COMPLETE absence of any sort of online interaction with Magnus. He's uploaded hundreds of videos, yet none contain matches against Carlsen.

I thought this was strange, since I know Carlsen plays a lot online too, and Hikaru's got matches with a lot of other top players, but never Carlsen.

The other day, I noticed a youtube comment in his video that said "play Carlsen", and somebody responded with "we don't mention that name here", and it got tons of upvotes.

So I am clearly out of the loop here: what's going on? Why is Hikaru actively (seemingly) avoiding Carlen online?

  • 2
    This is a purely opinion-based question, is completely off-topic chess-wise as it's about the interaction of two players, and thus, entices purely speculative answers. These types of questions are better suited for forums, not SE's.
    – Ellie
    Mar 13 '20 at 10:13
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    Voting to reopen because there's an easy way to get an answer and that's to ask Hikaru on stream. Calling this opinion-based when an objective answer is possible sounds incorrect to me.
    – Allure
    Mar 14 '20 at 22:35

There was there match in the 2017 chess.com speed chess championship final, but I think that it has to do with Carlsen mainly playing on chess24 and lichess while Hikaru plays on chess.com(mainly). This is not to say that Hikaru tries to avoid playing Carlsen in general as they both had huge fighting games together. An example I can give is their game from the London Chess Classics 2017.

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    You beat me to that answer. Carlsen is heavily involved in, and may even be a part owner, of chess24.com, and Nakamura is a chess.com fixture. Of course, in OTB, they play whoever else is in the tournament. I think that the "don't mention the name" was more of a joke since Naka admits he has not done well versus Magnus over the years. Mar 12 '20 at 21:57
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    @PhishMaster The First time I beat you to any answer :).
    – SubhanKhan
    Mar 12 '20 at 22:02
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    It has been slow here the last few days, so I have not been watching as closely, and I was answering a detailed opening question at the time. :) Mar 12 '20 at 22:03
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    @PhishMaster Considering the level of detail you put in that answer, don't feel bad about not being able to write 2 answers at the same time ;-)
    – Mast
    Mar 13 '20 at 6:50
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    @Mast Thank you. I do really try to put in a good deal of effort when answering, but had I seen this question in time, I would have paused. Frankly, I was not sure that anyone would immediately catch that they basically "work" for different servers. It is like when Kasparov opened his own server back in the day (or at least, put his name to it), and stopped playing on ICC. Mar 13 '20 at 10:32

To be clear, Hikaru is not actively avoiding Carlsen. It's just that their affiliations make them play on different sites.

Hikaru has a partnership/sponsorship deal with chess.com whereby one of the stipulations is that he plays exclusively on chess.com.

Magnus Carlsen has invested in Chess24 (among other chess-related sites), and he will default to that site for regular content in order to drive more traffic there.

I've followed both players closely, and I've seen no indication that they are actively avoiding each other. In fact, both players will always seek out the best possible opponent that is currently online whenever they make content. But playing on different sites, they will very rarely play each other.

Carlsen will, however, often play leagues and tournaments on different sites, including both chess.com and lichess.org. For instance, you'll often find him as a contender in the monthy Titled Arena tournaments on lichess. For instance, he won last month's tournament.

Another example, though I believe this was before his investment in chess24, he competed with Hikaru in the final of chess.com's GM Blitz Battle. You can see their whole match here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuehyRf88ac

Disclaimer: Just because I haven't seen any clear indication of active avoiding, doesn't mean that there isn't any. I just haven't seen any reason to believe that is the case.

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