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World's No. 1 Chess Champ Leads Weeklong Camp

The Village Chess Shop, at 230 Thompson St. in Greenwich Village, first opened in 1972.
The Village Chess Shop, at 230 Thompson St. in Greenwich Village, first opened in 1972.
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Facebook/Village Chess Shop

MANHATTAN — The world's No. 1 chess player is just 21 years old, moonlights as a fashion model and is coming to New York to take on as many as 25 players at once during a weeklong camp. 

Magnus Carlsen, who is ranked as the World Chess Federation's best player on Earth, will teach a rare, all-ages chess camp in August thanks to the Greenwich Village-based organization Chess NYC. 

Carlsen will join 200 fans for a week of games, instruction and activities August 20-24, according to Michael Propper, co-director of Chess NYC and a co-owner of the Village Chess Shop at 230 Thompson St. 

The Norway native — who modeled for the brand G-Star in 2010 — is even ready to take on as many as 25 opponents at a time. 

"The week is going to be a celebration of Magnus being here and will be as much social as it is about chess," Propper said, noting that Carlsen has a unique skill set for a top chess player. 

"It's really atypical of the chess world that a top player is really personable."

Tickets for the chess camp, which will be held at P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep on Ninth Avenue, are going fast. They cost $595 for the week if purchased by the end of June, but the price jumps to $695 after then.

Players ranging from pre-kindergarten level to masters are invited to attend. 

Players of all ages can buy one-day tickets for $150 to participate.

Players can also attend a $295 adults-only evening with Carlsen on Aug. 23, when the champ will play 10 people at once.

A fundraiser that Carlsen is set to attend on behalf of Chess NYC — a 10,000-member group that teaches chess in schools — is also in the works, Propper said. 

"Our goal is to mainstream chess and get the benefits of the game in front of children and adults," he said. "It's been scientifically proven to improve critical-thinking skills, calculation skills and forecasting. We play it because we love it, but the educational benefits are remarkable." 

Propper and his business partner Russ Makofsky started Chess NYC four years ago as an offshoot of the Village Chess Shop, which first opened in 1972 and stays open for die hard chess fans 24 hours a day. 

Players who take on Carlsen may think he's nice — but they should be forewarned that he likes to see his opponents squirm.

"I enjoy it when I see my opponent really suffering when he knows that I've outsmarted him," he told CBS's "60 Minutes" in February. 

"If I lose just one game then usually I just want to really get revenge."