When he's not gunning for a world title or re-establishing chess as the game of kings, chess phenom Magnus Carlsen makes time for modeling. The 22-year-old Norwegian first stepped in front of the camera for G-Star RAW in 2010. Back then he was just 19 years old, ranked number one in the world and posing alongside actress Liv Tyler. As it turns out, history repeats itself: Carlsen has just won the world chess championship and is set to headline G-Star RAW’s SS14 line.
Carlsen's epic battle against Indian champion Viswanathan Anand recently came to a close in Chennai, India. No longer the uncrowned number one player in the world, Carlsen now warrants all the hype that he has garnered over the years. The series—which began as a cat-and-mouse game with four straight draws—wound up firmly in Carlsen's control. At the close, the young player became the second-youngest world champion in history and the recipient of a $2.2 million purse. As if that wasn't enough, Carlsen has an upcoming international denim campaign and the honor of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2013 to live up to.
Known for his calculated method of play, Carlsen was chosen by G-Star RAW on the basis of his unexpected, uncompromising style. Watching him duke it out for the World Chess Champion title, it's no wonder the wunderkind has attained a kind of superhero status. The 2014 campaign will center on the notion of rethinking your move, pairing Carlsen's authentic approach with progressive styles for the coming season. Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn took the reins for Carlsen’s AW10 campaign with Liv Tyler and SS11 campaign with Gemma Arterton. Top names are likewise expected both behind and in front of the lens this time around, with an undisclosed international model set to complement Carlsen’s brooding looks.
Carlsen is part of a growing trend that brings chess out of the back room and into the limelight. For years, Wu Tang's RZA has been an active member of the Hip Hop Chess Federation, a non-profit organization that blends chess, hip-hop and martial arts to promote non-violence. Even Jay-Z—a friend of Carlsen and fan of G-Star's "Riley" jean—has come out in support of the game, speaking to the advantages of thinking a few moves ahead in life and business.
Look out for the G-Star RAW SS14 campaign to drop in February 2014, and shop the current collection at G-Star RAW online.
Lead image courtesy of Robin de Puy, G-Star RAW archive campaign images courtesy of Anton Corbijn, chess image courtesy of FIDE