Reviews | October 21, 2013 14:15

Review: Magnus Force

Review: Magnus Force

Magnus Carlsen is a phenomenon. He could recently be seen on enormous billboards all over the world posing next to supermodel and Lord of the Rings actress Liv Tyler; he’s been a guest to The Colbert Report; and he has featured on the cover of Time magazine. But why, precisely, is he such a phenomenon? This has always slightly puzzled me.

Few people still doubt that Carlsen is, with some margin, the best player in the world, but so were Anand and Kramnik before him – yet as far as I recall they never featured on billboards next to supermodels. Carlsen’s popularity can, in fact, only be compared to that of former chess World Champions Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer. Carlsen has already been called ‘the Mozart of chess’. Apart from the terrible cliché, the comparison makes one wonder who might be the Bach, Beethoven and Schubert of chess, and whether these composers/players should be considered less ‘brilliant’. But any way you look at it, the 22-year-old Norwegian boy is only the third world-wide chess celebrity in history.

Carlsen will be playing his first World Championship match this November, in Chennai, India, against the reigning champ, Vishy Anand. This is arguably going to be Magnus’ first real test. It’s been great so far, but the real stuff is yet to come. As an appetizer for that upcoming clash of generations, Everyman Chess has recently published Magnus Force – How Carlsen beat Kasparov’s Record, written by IM Colin Crouch.

The author’s goal is pretty clear from the Introduction:

The core of this book is to analyse all the games by Magnus Carlsen, in the London Classic, December 2012, and Wijk aan Zee, January 2013. This is just a small segment in time, but it is clearly the start of a new chapter of chess history.

It must be said that Crouch does a really good job achieving just that. His analyses are instructive, entertaining, honest, and most of all very, very thorough.

The first chapter alone is a masterstroke: Crouch starts off by taking a close look at a number of Carlsen’s recent losses. This approach is reminiscent of Edmar Mednis’ classic How to Beat Bobby Fischer and works very well to set the scene in Magnus Force, too: Crouch clearly doesn’t want to come across as yet another Carlsen fanboy and there’s really no better way to get that prejudice out of the way then by starting with the exceptionally poor form Carlsen displayed in 2010 and the start of 2011. About the 2010 London Chess Classic, for instance, Crouch says:

It has to be said that by general consensus, Carlsen was in a grumpy mood during the early part of the tournament, and was not all that talkative in the press conferences. Still, this is hardly surprising. A loss in a serious game of chess can badly affect the emotions, and all the more so if there is a second loss, not long after. It is difficult to hide such feelings on such occasions, all the more so, given that Carlsen had only just hit twenty. (…) His mood became darker when he lost to Vishy Anand in round 3 (after a win against Adams). No wonder.

A typical example of Crouch’ method of analyzing Carlsen’s strengths and weaknesses is the following, from the same ‘dark’ period.

Wijk aan Zee, 2011

PGN string

There is plenty of tension in the centre, and there is a central isolated pawn on each side, with possible battles over the d4-, d5- and e5-squares. As we shall see, the ‘natural’ result for both sides would be a quick draw by repetition. Carlsen’s attempt to break the symmetry proved to be unwise, although agreed, it is difficult to foresee all this.

When comparing this game by Carlsen (a loss against Nepomniachtchi), and his win three days earlier against Nakamura, an interesting strategical point can be noted. The central tension is clear in both games. In the earlier game, there was additional tension on both sides of the board, with Carlsen being able to keep pressure on the kingside, and Nakamura having pressure on the queenside. This meant that Carlsen was able to keep the pressure going, without having to worry about giving away anything in the centre. In contrast, against Nepomniachtchi, as soon as he tried to do anything on the queenside, losing even momentarily the central battle, it was his opponent who was able to take the initiative.

After the tournament, Carlsen would no doubt have gone through these two games in great depth, and drawn his own conclusions.

Here and elsewhere, Crouch shows great insight when it comes to the nuances of chess psychology, which Carlsen masters like few before him. He convincingly argues that Carlsen’s playing style is highly reminiscent of that of the second World Champion, Emanuel Lasker:

All the time, he is thinking very much about his opponent, almost as much as the board. Naturally, like Lasker, he has an extremely deep understanding of the position, and given a straightforward technical edge, he will try to convert this without too much trouble. (…) The chess psychologist, gifted also with exceptionally clear thinking, will be trying to give himself every opportunity for his opponent to make a mistake, whether before move ten, or by move twenty, thirty, forty, or whatever. Carlsen also tries to grind out his opponent in the endgame, often a long way into the second session.

Carlsen, when playing against an opponent that he knows well, and an opponent he has analysed in depth, will tend to grasp very quickly his opponent’s strengths or weaknesses. In preparing his openings, he will not try to catch up with the latest analysis twenty moves deep. He would be thinking instead of which sort of opening would make his opponent feel slightly uncomfortable, and therefore more likely to make a mistake. (…)

Carlsen excels under pressure in positions when he is worse, and also in strategically complicated positions in which both players are forced to play with great care. He is not quite so convincing when it looks as if he is clearly better, and it seems a matter of technique to haul in the full point. Often he seems to try to make life complicated, when all that is needed is simple chess. Of course, if the position is genuinely complicated, and requires difficult decisions on both sides, Carlsen is very much in his element.

Whilst such fragments reveal telling glimpses of what makes Magnus Carlsen tick (and what doesn’t), the psychological explanations tend to be mostly chess-related. In order to overcome his bad form, Crouch quotes Kasparov who says that Magnus “needs to work harder to maintain his sharpness”. Crouch himself describes how Carlsen “dusts himself down, taking things move by move, and game by game”.

Only once or twice, circumstances that have nothing to do with chess are mentioned, such as the horrible terrorist attacks by the lunatic Anders Breivik, on 22 July 2011, which caused Carlsen to write on his blog that “chess does not feel very important right now” – although Crouch duly notes that it didn’t prevent him from beating Fabiano Caruana the next day.

Here’s another example of Crouch’s down-to-earth analysis style and reasoning:

London Chess Classic, 2012

PGN string


Carlsen plays the most complicated line available. It is not necessarily the case that he genuinely wants complicated tactics. It is more a case that he would not want his pawn structure to be messed up after 16 Nxa4 (16 bxa4 Nxa4 17 Nxa4 Rxa4 will soon transpose) 16...Nxa4 17 Bxg7 Kxg7 18 bxa4 Rxa4. White can probably equalize with reasonable care after 19 Rd2 Qa5 20 Nd4 Nxd4 21 Qxd4+ Rf6 22 Qe3, but why should Carlsen bother with this? His instincts would be that his position so far should be at least equal (from the diagram position), rather than at best equal, and so he would prefer to enter what was likely to be some complications. Perhaps both players would have been thinking about playing for an edge?

Convincing stuff, and the book’s full of it. Page after page, Crouch breaks down the elements of Carlsen’s play and links the individual moves back to his overall evaluation of how Carlsen wins (and sometimes loses) most of his games. By taking a close look not only at Carlsen’s moves, but also at his motives for playing them, Crouch manages to paint a strikingly well-argued picture of what makes Carlsen such an outstanding player. 

And yet, I felt strangely disconnected when I put the book down and tried to think of what, precisely, makes Carlsen not only such a great player but also such a global phenomenon. After all, there are other players who play more or less equally well, or only slightly less well anyway. Why, then, is Carlsen also the appealing role model for an entire generation that he currently is? Why is almost everybody whom I speak to so excited that he will be playing Anand, and not, say, such sympathetic guys like Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin or Alexander Grischuk?

Magnus Force doesn’t answer this question, nor, to be fair, does it try to, as Crouch himself says in the Introduction:

No attempt has been made here to try any sort of standard biography (Carlsen learning how to play, Carlsen as a junior, etc). There are other players far better placed to write something much more detailed and informative; Simen Agdestein for a start. (…) I have not talked directly with Magnus Carlsen, and in some ways this is not totally a bad thing. I have the freedom that this is not an ‘authorised biography’, and the responsibility is not to write anything too daft.

And indeed, words like ‘childhood’, ‘family’ and ‘friend’ are conspicuously missing in Magnus Force, as are ‘television’, ‘girlfriend’ and ‘Liv Tyler’. Even the word ‘father’ is absent. All this means that Magnus Force tells only half the story, which is still a pity. As the secret of Carlsen’s superstar status isn’t his attractive playing style (Crouch makes that very clear), nor his outspoken views on (chess) politics - or anything else for that matter (except perhaps football), there must be an altogether different dimension to Magnus Carlsen’s success that isn’t revealed in Crouch’s book.

But what is it? Could it be that it’s precisely that absence of other aspects that make Carlsen such an attractive role model for chess? Looking at his predecessors, they all seem to have had ‘something else’ they were associated with: Kasparov with politics, Karpov with the Soviet regime, Fischer with his paranoia. Carlsen, by contrast, seems to be just chess - the most perfect embodiment of pure, uncomplicated chess to date. Which is why Magnus Force may not be limited because of its intended scope after all - but because of its subject.



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Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll


Bartie Heckfest-Chunkler's picture

Colin Crouch is an IM, not a GM. Thoughtful review, thanks.

Anonymous's picture

Live tyler is NOT a supermodel ! Excuse me !!! Have you ever seen a super model ??? It's not because you make good publicity for someone that you have to make counter publicity for someone else. Imagine the poor little girl, how she feels when she reads chessvibes calling her a supermodel while sitting in a chair two steps from ... well ! a real supermodel

Anonymous's picture

Live tyer is a " boudin " but she has great horse teeths

the real S3's picture

Arnes question is roughly the same as asking why McDonald food is popular around the globe.
Very smart of Crouch to stick to chess.

the fake S3's picture

Carlsen is my idol, I admire him greatly.

voyteck's picture

Being a guy, I don't feel competent to judge his physical hotness but no doubt he wears much cooler haircuts then most chess players, much cooler and better fit clothes, has much more sportive appearance, he's not married yet and speaks better then average English.

Shurlock Ventriloquist's picture

q: But why, precisely, is he such a phenomenon?

a: marketing

Thomas Oliver's picture

Marketing is part of the story - a team around Carlsen that, in their own words, makes big efforts to "establish the brand name Magnus Carlsen". The other part is that Carlsen, like Fischer, is from the western world, and Kasparov was, or at least presented himself as a 'rebel against the Soviet system'. Hypothetical questions: Would Korchnoi have the same status if (only) he had won (some of) his WCh matches against Karpov? Would Timman or Huebner have had a similar status if they had been (even) more successful? They are/were 'colorful', i.e. non-standard and not boring, characters in their own way, though maybe not as 'blatantly' as Kasparov.

From the article: "Why is almost everybody whom I speak to so excited that he will be playing Anand, and not, say, such sympathetic guys like Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin or Alexander Grischuk?" Who is 'everybody', does this include Russian/"Soviet" chess fans?

Interesting discussion in its own right - some people may disagree, but I consider my remarks neither pro- nor anti-Carlsen. And I rather find it acceptable and refreshing that the book under review doesn't even try to give an answer.

Anonymous's picture

Agree that Carlsen is nothing but marketing and that Karjakin is just as strong and exciting if not more so.

Chris's picture

:-) :-)

Magnus in Valhalla's picture


Chris's picture

Karjakin to weak character to be WC.

Arne Moll's picture

I didn't write 'everybody', but 'everybody whom I speak to', Thomas. When I wrote this, I didn't have in mind any broader discussion, but just a personal observation.

Thomas Oliver's picture

There was no misunderstanding - when I omitted 'whom I speak to' the second time I didn't mean to imply that you a) did talk to 'everyone' (in the sense of a representative subsample of the global chess community) or b) made the mistake that some others seem to make: considering your own friend or acquaintances to be such a representative subsample.

Elsewhere in the article, it seems that you _do_ want to stimulate a broader discussion, am I right? You did ask questions such as "why, precisely, is he such a phenomenon?" and also wrote that "the secret of Carlsen’s superstar status isn’t his attractive playing style" (I agree, even if some people may like him exactly for his relatively unique style). I tried to answer such questions from my point of view: it does matter that he is from the western world.

Put differently: even if Karjakin was as successful as Carlsen, had a similar playing style (I actually see more similarities than differences, Karjakin also isn't particularly known as a tactical wizard) and a similar haircut, he wouldn't be 'such a phenomenon' [singling out Karjakin because the aage factor is also part of the story].

Arne Moll's picture

If you mean by stimulating a broader discussion that I would be interested to find out the answer as to why Carlsen is so popular, you're right. I do think this is an underestimated question; something a lot of people take for granted but isn't all that obvious in my opinion. Crouch also doesn't answer (or even ask!) the question, which is interesting in its own right.

Thomas Oliver's picture

That's exactly what I meant. I do not claim to have the whole or only answer, but I would say the ingredients I mentioned play a major role: success, marketing and country (or geographic, formerly political zone) of origin. Looks may also play a role, but I actually wonder a bit if things like clothing, haircut are really "Carlsen being himself" rather than part of a marketing strategy. Same for (see Morley below) being "fairly active in social or more conventional media" - I wouldn't even be sure that Carlsen takes care of his Twitter and Facebook accounts and his blog all by himself.

BTW I came across a rather negative review (by Johannes Fischer, in German) on an apparently pretty similar book about Carlsen published in 2012 by Michaltschischin and Stetsko (Edition Olms):
"Schulmeisterliche Kritik: Wie man starkes Schach zernörgelt" (free translation: "Teacher's criticism: Annoying remarks on strong chess")

Arne Moll's picture

Thanks for the tip. From the review it sounds like a boring book - Crouch's book is not.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Maybe - but you might write a more positive or at least less negativ review on the Michaltschischin/Stetsko book, while Johannes Fischer might write an equally negative one on Crouch? I did not, and do not plan to get my own independent comparative opinion.

Also in his series "Anand against Carlsen, the duel" (same blog) Fischer sounds like a Carlsen fan. While the final parts on the last 2 1/2 years are yet to appear, so far it seems that
- whenever Anand missed something against Carlsen, Carlsen was the better player
- whenever Carlsen missed something against Anand, Anand was lucky

Johannes Fischer's picture

Dear Thomas Oliver,
you are right, I am a Carlsen fan. But I am also an Anand fan. In my articles about the games these two played before their match in November I believe I tried to be objective. I wanted to take a look at the previous encounters between Anand and Carlsen to get an idea how the World Championship match might develop, and to enjoy the chess of these two outstanding players.

Thus, I find it hard to agree to your criticism that I seem to insinuate “that - whenever Anand missed something against Carlsen, Carlsen was the better player
- whenever Carlsen missed something against Anand, Anand was lucky“.

In fact, the first five articles in the series, going up to the year 2009, show that Anand was dominating Carlsen almost completely, outplaying him time and again in the opening, the middlegame (attack and defense) and in the endgame. This changed only as late as 2010 – a year in which Carlsen was already number one on the world’s ranking list. In 2010 Anand scored 4:2 from six games (two wins, four draws). However, unlike in their previous games, in which Anand had given Carlsen hardly any chances – apart form one or two games, one of which Carlsen won – in 2010 Carlsen had a number of good opportunities in their games – which he, however, missed.

So, to me the year 2010 seems to be a kind of turning point. In fact, after 2010 Anand did not win another single game against Carlsen, while losing two. If this trend continues, Anand will no longer be World Champion in 2014.

As far as the book by Mikhalshishin/Stetsko is concerned, it was indeed a disappointment. It was the first book promising detailed analyses of Carlsen’s games, but the authors seem to have enormous problems to come to terms with Carlsen’s outstanding talent, as if shaking their heads in disbelief that the rules of the Soviet school of chess are violated and no longer valid.

Though the book contains some fine analyses, I disliked its general spirit of (petty) criticism, the idea that Carlsen must follow the guidelines of the Soviet school of chess, if he wants to become World Champion, and the fact that the authors emphasize Carlsen supposed deficiencies and weaknesses – as if to admonish him not to get arrogant about his success, and to adhere to the advice of more experienced teachers and to work hard and diligently.

The disappointment about this book was even bigger because I know Mikhalshishin as a witty and entertaining writer whose articles and DVDs are usually a pleasure to read or to listen to.

the real S3's picture

In my opinion the book by Mikhalchishin (not exactly my favorite author) and his cowriter is pretty decent although the games aren't annotated deeply.

The "criticism" is solely focused on his perceived chess deficiencies and how he ironed them out.
But perhaps even that is too much negativity for you when it comes to Carlsen.
But as far as I recall none of the authors suggested that Carlsen should follow guidelines of the "Soviet school of chess". In fact they take a favorable stance to Carlsens different approach and by the end of the book, which is chronologically ordered (until 2010 i believe), they evaluate Carlsen as a allround top player who can fight for the world title.

the real S3's picture

So I've read your review and now I see the problem.
You totally missed the intent of the book.

"Nun, ich zumindest will nicht wissen, welche Standardpositionen im Endspiel der junge Carlsen nicht kannte, und schon gar nicht interessiert mich das am Anfang eines Buches über ein Schachphänomen wie Carlsen. Da will ich wissen, was den Norweger zu einem Ausnahmespieler macht, ich will nicht seine Schwächen sehen, sondern seine Stärken."

The entire book is focused around Carlsens' growth as a chessplayer, and those examples are but an illustration of the progress Carlsen made in that area. How he worked and overcame some of his weaknesses. That is exactly one of the reasons why he got to be an "Ausnahmespieler".

Maybe you want Carlsen portrayed as a flawless demi god without the inconvenient details. That's what most fans want. But in my opinion, the authors approach is much more suited to paint an honest picture of a chess players path to the top.

Well, not to the very top of course, but we will see that in November :-)

Johannes Fischer's picture

Dear the real S3,

thank you for your criticism. It made me reflect again about my reaction to the Carlsen book. However, I think it is really difficult to miss the point that a book about Carlsen that stretches from 2004, when Carlsen was a young supertalent, to 2011 when he was number one in the world might want to show the growth and development of Carlsen as a player – and I do not think I missed that point.

But what I did not like about the book was the way this development is presented. For me, sternly pointing to Carlsen’s endgame mistakes as a young player at the very beginning of the book seemed to be typical. Would it have been so difficult to first give some examples of Carlsens current endgame play and then point to the deficiencies he had in the endgame when still young? To show how he ironed them out in the further course of his career?

And this spirit of criticism, of focusing on what was or is lacking in Carlsen’s play seemed to me to permeate the whole book. And as strong criticism tends to provoke strong criticism my reaction to the book was rather negative – which in turn triggered some even stronger criticism. Which in a way is good because it reminded me why it is good to try to see the positive side of things in general and books in particular, and why one should criticize others but be careful doing so.

the real S3's picture

Johannes, i hope you werent bothered by my comments, just my opinion which may be wrong. While I don't agree about the book I like your previews of Anand Carlsen with the game analyses and Id like to recommend your site to all.

Johannes Fischer's picture

Thank you! That is very nice and helpful!

Magnus in Valhalla's picture

Arne.Do you know Crouch personly?

Morley's picture

Carlsen is fairly active in social and more conventional media, in addition to being the highest rated player in history and the youngest ever world no.1. Posing chess problems to Twitter followers, appearing on comedy shows, a Facebook page, a blog, etc. Karjakin and Caruana, to pick his main rivals in playing strength and age, simply aren't as attractive to fans on this level. They are incredibly strong players, yes, but they haven't tried to cultivate any connection to chess fans (although Sergey does have a Twitter account). They show up at tournaments and do their thing, and that's generally it.

Carlsen hit the sweet spot: he's conventionally good looking, has chess talent and a competitive spirit on the level of Kasparov or Fischer, and has the personality and will to engage with chess fans and work on his image as a chess personality, rather than just the most dominant tournament player of the last few years.

Anonymous's picture

Well said Morley, you make some excellent points. The likes of Karjakin and Caruana and others need to look at how Carlsen is in touch with how the media works and his own image. The truth is many top players simply haven't created a good media image because they simply don't care enough to do so and that's okay, but if they want to be more attractive to potential sponsors and a new set of chess fans then they need to take a leaf out of Carlsen's book and change their image.

voyteck's picture

All I wanted to say it's not only because he's cute and number one. You can't sell yourself well to today's media wearing your father's suits and haircuts, like many of his main rivals. Karjakin, for example, definitely needs a stylist to work with.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen aside, they could all do with a stylist. They are perceived by the general public as 'weird little nerds' and their dress sense and crap hair cuts only add to that opinion. The same applies to the women chess players with the exception of Sopiko Guramishvil, who if she ever won the world title (highly unlikely) would be even more famous than Magnus because she's so damn good looking that the media machine would be all over her and she would make a heck of a lot of money. Good looks and great achievements in all sports are two major selling points. Sopiko Guramishvil is damn hot! If she ever wins the world title, Magnus will be in her shadow for sure.

Calvin Amari's picture

I profess no unique insight into the fickle finger of popular zeitgeist, but I’m not sure that Magnus’s G-Star ad campaign suggests some inexplicable popular phenomenon any more than Kasparov’s Pepsi commercials did. Popular culture does not have a long and deep attention span for chess. Generally speaking only two things garner attention for an individual player: prodigies and the world’s best. And, as to the latter, the popular appetite demands some clear margin of dominance – a situation undermined for some time by FIDE recognizing five champions in a six-year period. Like Fischer, Magnus was introduced to popular culture first as a prodigy and then later as the clear best – a combination that has not been all that frequent. This permits the general media to cover both angles in most all reports (e.g., “Mozart” is not principally a stylistic reference but a prodigy reference). As Magnus delivers on both these hot-button angles, it seems he is only getting what he deserves based on precedent.

aron 's picture

Agreed. There is zero mystery here.

Huy's picture

So Magnus is a phenomenon because of marketing but the real question still us, why market him?

Crouch' book and rambling about chess psychology us just the usual justification and rationalization we always encounter after a game; it doesn't really have any (didactic) or instructive value whatsoever. It's page fillers, not Turners.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, I don't know why this is such a mystery to some people.

Heinz's picture

Anand has been hiding from the press, while Magnus has put in effort to promote the match. That's the difference in attitude.

Ranjit's picture

I don't think Magnus (or more likely his PR team) is promoting the match -- more like promoting himself and trying to score psychological points through the press.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Was Anand really hiding from the press? This is part of a comment by Sreenivas Lakkineni at Dennis Monokroussos' site:
"My guess is that his [Anand's] training camp is in Europe, probably Germany. Anand gave a couple of interviews to German magazines just before he left for Chennai [to see his family for an Indian holiday weekend]."
I am German but living abroad and unaware of this, does anyone know more?

If true (and why would someone invent this?), Anand wasn't hiding from the press - but rather the (English-language) press was "hiding from Anand"? Noone cared to publish an interview with or story about him, while there is plenty of material on Carlsen - including fairly content- and insight-free stuff like this:

Carlsen likes media, media like Carlsen, western media generally seem to have a pro-Carlsen bias. Even if one accepts this and considers it jusitified, it's odd to criticize Anand for a "difference in attitude" (by media, not by Anand himself) !?

noyb's picture

Very strange review. It praises the effort, but ends by focusing on what's NOT in the book. Could have been a good review, but...

Webbimio's picture

We really needed a review of the review ;)

(I know, in some way this is a review of the review of the review)

mike magnan's picture

I certainly hope that I'm proven wrong with these words.....But I don't think Magnus can win. ratings aside..what else does he have? A Lazy ass op is my bet.

CluoroFluoroCarbon's picture

This is the book Gotham needs, but not the book Gotham deserves...

Anonymous's picture

Stating that Anand and Kramnik were best players in the world with some margin just like Carlsen is maybe not the right approach to understand the phenomenon in itself. A young player having a 75 point margin to #2 is different than Kramnik twice sharing first at best during a very long career, or Anand reaching #1 in his late 30s. It isn't just "they all did the same thing so why does anyone think Carlsen has done something special?"

Asking why it wouldn't be just as exciting with Karjakin vs Anand instead misses the thing with Carlsen's actual results and that they aren't just what many others did and do. I think one thing that separates Carlsen from a player like Karjakin is that the latter is much more theory driven, trained very hard as a child and was GM already before Carlsen started playing chess particularly seriously. I think Carlsen is appreciated also because people know that in a time when opening preparation is more important than ever, Carlsen can still do so well without getting advantages in the opening.

Chris's picture

and Karjakin is too less independent. I do not think he will be Carlsen competitor.

Greco's picture


Anonymous's picture

Please release a book AFTER this worldchampionchip, instead of marketing on the current popularity before the event.

Anonymous's picture

Of course they're going to do that. Jeez don't you know anything marketing????

idratherplay960's picture

Although being from Norway has helped his intrigue (how many world famous pop culture icons from Norway can anyone think of?...), I believe Magnus is only a fraction of how popular he would be if he hailed from the US, England, Japan, etc. Basically anywhere with a huge entertainment/media sphere. The rest of the argument is obvious: He is a brilliant, young, cool enough dude who wins everything.

Anonymous's picture

That's exactly the point!
He wins, so people like him.
People like to rout for the winners.

Huy's picture

Preferably "root" for the winner, not rout them.

Anonymous's picture

As an interesting aside ... the movie 'Pawn Sacrifice' is in pre-production at the moment starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer. Personally I think that is bizarre casting. Maguire looks nothing like Fischer and is only 5'7 tall. Bobby was 6'2 ... I would have chosen either Christopher Eccelston who is 6 foot and and looks remarkably like Fischer or Nick Cage who is also 6 foot as well. Both are great actors. As I'm in the film biz I'm not surprised this has happened. Poor casting in bio-pics has happened often before. But to cast Maguire to play Fischer for me is ridiculous. I hope it's a good film, it's directed by Ed Zwick who made 'The Last Samurai' but I won't be holding my breath. Knowing Ed Zwick it'll look nice, let's just hope they get the chessboard the right way around!!

Frits Fritschy's picture

For Fischer in his later years, I would suggest Donald Sutherland - the right eyes and the right height. For Magnus Carlsen - The Movie only Matt Damon can do the job, but now I'm plagiarizing a chessbase April's Fools.


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