DATELINE: GENIUS GENUS
He is the Mozart of Chess. Starting at age 5, he showed a distinct streak of genius you may find in certain violinists, composers, mathematicians, and physicists.
Magnus Carlsen is a Norwegian icon of 21st century power .
His likeness has even appeared on The Simpsons as a challenger to Homer. However, it is best to learn all about Magnus in the 2016 documentary of his life. It is appropriately titled Magnus.
His father kept such home movies of the child, pre-adolescent, and teen, that we have an intimate portrait of a young man who is introverted, competitive and charming, despite a sullen streak.
He lives chess. In that way he is a parallel to the prodigy disaster of America, Bobby Fischer. Magnus will not fall into the Fischer trap. He is already a cottage industry.
He knows how to play the game, off and on the board. His match at age 13 with Gary Kasparov drove the Grandmaster slightly bonkers: he tortured himself over every move—and the kid took two seconds to respond.
At age 23 Magnus won media chops by playing ten masters, blindfolded, back to the boards, all at once at Harvard in 2013.
By memory of moves alone, he defeated each player. These are the kind of Barnum and Bailey stunts to guarantee cult following.
Magnus allows cameras to intrude on his withdrawn moments in which he shuts out all distractions—to the ceremonial honors he basks in, with a showman’s eye to what his job as a Grandmaster must be. Benjamin Ree puts together a remarkable film.
We think Magnus is more of Van Cliburn than Fischer. He is a media darling and shows no signs of crashing and burning like many introverted geniuses. The documentary of his young life and career is riveting and hypnotic. Take a look at this delightful documentary.