Reports | February 07, 2013 11:33

Magnus Carlsen on Metaphysical Milkshake

Magnus Carlsen on Metaphysical Milkshake

Soon after he won the 75th Tata Steel tournament, Magnus Carlsen travelled to the United States. His main destination was the Parallels Summit in Las Vegas, but earlier this week Carlsen also appeared on Rainn Wilson's Metaphysical Milkshake, an online show part of SoulPancake.

Carlsen sits down with Wilson at the back of his 1976 Chevy van and talks about staying humble, the warrior/artist type of player, good guy/bad guy, a genius' type of character... Then Carlsen gets some of "life's big questions".

Here's the video:

Rainn Wilson is an American actor and comedian. He is well known for his Emmy-nominated role as the egomaniacal Dwight Schrute on the American version of the television comedy The Office. In January 2010 he launched SoulPancake together with Joshua Homnick and Devon Gundry.

SoulPancake is media company that seeks to provide platforms to explore "big think" topics such as spirituality, creativity, religion, arts, and philosophy. With a tagline of "Chew on Life's Big Questions," it offers feature-length articles, exclusive videos, creative challenges, and interviews across its platforms.

The video series Metaphysical Milkshake was in fact the original concept, but the founders deemed that the idea was too narrow and expanded it into a multi-platform media company. Previous guest in the van include Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, "Twitter funny girl" Kelly Oxford and American actor, director, producer, and writer Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Creemer's picture

it had me laughing allright

even MC had a funny moment or two!

(and he's from Norway)

Monire's picture

I don't think this interview is from his recent trip to Las Vegas (which is now). He says he is 21, which he was when he actually met Rainn Wilson in LA in august last year. Perhaps Rainn has just - for some reason - awaited publishing his interview for half a year...

Evgeny's picture


Anonymous's picture

Looks and sounds very artificial...

noyb's picture

Interesting and entertaining "performance interview". Magnus has done a few of appearances both in the U.S. and Europe. Clever publicity!

ShockeR's picture

Not funny at all.. ;(

Bob's picture

Looks pretty lame to me, but I guess this isn't really aimed at chess fans.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

not bad

giovlinn's picture

Magnus seems bored, except when playing. BTW the guy is all chin! I never noticed that before.

RG13's picture

In the cartoons section José Diaz always highlights that feature.

Creemer's picture

Magnus seems bored also when he is playing.

Kronsteen's picture

Wow. Magnus rocks.

Chess Fan's picture

I like Magnuis - all over again.
Like Anand, he is grounded, and very intelligent + humorous beyond his chess smarts.

Chess Fan's picture

Sorry that I misspelled "Magnus" Carslen - typo.
Anyway, I respect and like young Magnus. Lot of credit to his father and incredible family.

Lee's picture

I liked it. Magnus was at ease and cracked a couple of funnies as well as giving some candid responses to some non-standard questions.

There's great value in these types of interviews that don't have the cookie cutter questions being fired out. You get to see more of the real person behind the mask.

Rainn: What would the first sentence of your autobiography be?
Magnus: I'm not a genius.
Rainn: What would the title of your autobiography be?
Magnus: Magnus Carlsen, Chess Genius *laughs*

Thomas Oliver's picture

So it’s partially confirmed that Carlsen isn’t a genius. Despite of this, it seems like he still wants to convince the world that he is in fact a genius, hence the title of the autobiography (which is of course a hypothetical autobiography, but it shows his way of thinking). I’m not criticizing him, I guess it’s a perfectly normal business strategy to promote yourself as much as possible. But I can’t help to wonder how many of the Carlsen fanboys on this site watched the video and didn’t notice the discrepancy between Carlsen saying he isn’t a genius and then saying that he is. I’m sure some of them noticed, but will they admit it to themselves? He is certainly a good chess player, but it’s important that people understand that he isn’t a genius, even in his own perception.

Thomas Oliver's picture

For the record: whoever wrote this, it wasn't me (the person usually posting under this handle)

Lee's picture

So serious... funny how people interpret things in different ways.

I just thought Magnus was being humourous when he said "Genius/Not a Genius" stuff. Come on, you didn't find that even a little funny?

I tend to follow the guys that show some personality and this is a rare occasion where Magnus has shown me he's not an automaton. I might just become a fan if he keeps it up.

RG13's picture

By contrast Fischer usually just showed his personality to be negative but was never lacking for fans. I think a genius should just 'do his thing' and let the fans sort themselves out.

RG13's picture

Is there even an objective definition for a "chess genius"?

Anonymous's picture


Andreas's picture

Amazing - people 1) with zero sense of humour 2) who hate Carlsen 3) who are craving for recognition - try to explain how one should interpret this really little funny stuff. Look at this: ' ... it's important that people understand that he isn't a genius ...' Wow. Unbelievable. Please don't tell us what in your irrelevant opinion might be important to us. Tony Miles once had to comment on a new chess book. He did it quite effective: 'Utter crap'. This regularly comes to my mind when reading autistic statements as from T.O. (the 'real' one or not)

sab's picture

I guess you are the one who used thomas handle's then critized him just in order to make your point. How pathetic!

valg321's picture

how can something be "partially confirmed"?

lolipops's picture

When something needs several components to be confirmed. If several but not all of the needed amount are confirmed, then it is considered partially confirmed.

valg321's picture

thats a kind of metaphysics i never knew it existed

Anonymous's picture

There was a second video of their game. I tried to piece it together -

[Event ""] [Site ""] [Date ""] [White "Rainn"] [Black "Magnus"] [Round ""] [Result ""]

1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qxd4 5.Qxd4 Nxd4 6.Nf3 Nxc2+ 7.Kd2 Nxa1 8.Bc4 Be6 9.Ne5 c6 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.b3 Rd8+ 12.Ke2 Nc2 13.Bf4 Nd4+ 14.Ke3 Nf6 15.Rd1 Nf5+ 16.Ke2 Nd5 17.Kf1 Nxc3 18.Rc1 Nxa2 19.Rc2 Nb4 20.Rc4 Nd5 21.Bg3 g6 22.Bh4 Nde3+ 23.fxe3 Nxe3+ 24.Kf2 Nxc4 25.Nxc4 Rd4 26.g3 Rxc4 27.bxc4 Bg7 28.g4 Rf8+ 29.Kg2 Be5 30.h3 a5 31.Be1 a4 32.Bb4 Bd6 33.Bc3 a3 34.Bg7 Rf4 35.Ba1 Rxc4 36.Bg7 h5 37.gxh5 gxh5

6...Nxc2+ Rainn:"Arrgh! Terrible, I want a rematch."

17...Nxc3 "Magnus: Just calm down."

32...Bd6 Rainin attempts Bxa5, whilst removing the pawn at a4.

35...Rxc4 Rainin resigns

The hustle appears with some confusing illegal moves that were taken back and corrected such as 38.Kg3 and this line is somehow corrected after the king takes the h-pawn and tries to move into the 4th rank where lies the black rook.

Csaba's picture

Of course he is a chess genius, so is everyone above 2700 Elo, how else could they get so high? But the whole discussion of who is a genius is quite pointless, as Carlsen also clearly agrees :)

fanboy's picture

"What's odd to me is that you are a totally normal person. People think about chess geniusses as hanging out in their basements, obsessively chewing on their own skin, maybe bodies hidden somewhere in the house..."
"Well, you know I am only 21 years old, so give me some time to develop the crazy."

Septimus's picture

Is Parallels the same company who make the 'Parallels virtual machine" , i.e where you can harness the VM capabilities of the modern processor and run two OS'es at once?

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