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Woody Harrelson Did What at the World Chess Championship???!!

Woody Harrelson playing chess.
When you’ve had a farcical start to the World Chess Championship. Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for World Chess

In the waning hours of the workweek, just as I’m preparing to disassociate from reality for two days straight, a question has sprung up to torment me: What did Woody Harrelson do? At the World Chess Championship? Exactly?

My anguish started when my colleagues and I came across an article in the Mirror titled “Woody Harrelson knocks over king in farcical start to World Chess Championship.” The British tabloid, perhaps sensing the potential for widespread panic and confusion, then changed the headline to “World Chess Championship: Woody Harrelson knocks over king in embarrassing move.”

Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

• Actor and notable vegan Woody Harrelson was there as this year’s celebrity “ceremonial starter.”
• He was responsible for making player Fabiano Caruana’s first move.
• He did this:

The World Chess Championship got off to a bad start when the Hollywood star they chose to make the first move, accidentally knocked over the king.

• It would normally “signal the end of the match.”
• Then this happened:

A bewildered Mr. Caruana initially appeared to accept the mistake before officials allowed the pawn to be returned.

A grinning Harrelson then moved the correct pawn before quickly exiting the stage.

• You can watch the World Chess Championships here — “live!” — if that’s your thing.

Here’s what I haven’t:

• Why they asked Woody Harrelson to do this.
• Why, exactly, this was so embarrassing.
• What, exactly, is wrong with my brain.
• Virtually any and all rules of chess.

Woody Harrelson Did What at the World Chess Championship??!!