Magnus

Magus Carlsen, at the current age of 27, is the youngest World Chess Champion ever. This documentary, pieced together from footage taken over the course of his life, shows us how that happened along with a smidge of his psychology. Narrated in large part by his father, we watch a very young Magnus as he began to compete–and win–in chess, and are privy to his father’s theory of why he may be such a prodigy.

And prodigy he is; he is widely regarded as not just a great chess player, but a brilliant one, with a mind for chess (strategic, visual thinking) superior to other humans’. The trend in chess these days, at least at the uber levels, is to use computer programs to analyze games and predict outcomes with particular opponents. The previous champion, Vishi Anand, helped develop one of the major programs in use, and employed several grand masters to comb through computer analyses of every game ever played by Magnus Carlsen before he had to defend his title. The problem he had was that Magnus plays intuitively, unlike many others who design set games, memorize them, and barrel through their matches. Magnus won by not doing what he had done before, throwing Anand off and taking the title.

I admit, this can be a rather dry and simple watch. I have a slightly emotional connection to the subject, as my son played chess in tournaments as a child, and so I was able to project more feeling than is perhaps actually there. But there’s no doubt that Magnus Carlsen is a vibrant character in a world that is ruled by logic and a large degree of predictability, and we all like to root for the underdog and the innovator in any circumstance.

A most definite “yes”.

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Lori K.

Transplanted Yankee single mom trying to survive living in the South

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