Carlos Alcaraz is used to carving up opponents, week-in, week-out, on the tennis courts of the ATP Tour. One of the keys to the Spaniard’s success is his reading of the game, his tactical nous, and his ability to strategically outthink his opponents during rallies.
So how do those skills help the 20-year-old when it comes to chasing victories on a chess board? Alcaraz is a keen chess player, whose grandfather introduced him to the game when he was a young boy. His passion for it has endured until today.
“It helps me be mentally quicker, to observe moves, see the move you want to make, strategy... concentrating all the time,” said Alcaraz in an interview with Marca. “In chess, like in tennis, if you take your eye off the ball for a minute you can lose the match. In that regard, they are pretty similar disciplines. It helps me because you are focused, your mind is working.”
Fans of tennis and chess alike now have the chance to test Alcaraz’s skills with bishop and pawn in hand. The No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and winner of 12 ATP Tour titles, including two Grand Slams, has been introduced as a Chess.com bot that any user can challenge virtually on the platform.
♟️👀😏🤝🏻 https://t.co/1kuObxBjOT— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) November 22, 2023
It will be no easy game, though. The bot has all the weapons in Alcaraz’s repertoire, reflecting his real-life movements on a chess board. He will likely be hard to shake off.
Alcaraz has been practising recently, too. A few weeks ago, he sat on a public terrace at Plaza de las Flores in his hometown of Murcia to play members of the city’s Thader Chess Club. Passers-by were surprised to see the tennis player competing, this time without a racquet.