"Chess is an ancient game of skill and strategy played within the confine of strictly defined rules of play, within which the participants have the freedom to exercise individual decisions (free will). Each decision has a consequence which affects the response of the opponent and future moves of the decision maker, thereby influencing the outcome of the game." This description of the popular game, which has been called "the royal game – the pastime of kings," is from an essay by Br. William Steve Burkie.
In this pleasant and entertaining Norwegian documentary, director Benjamin Ree examines the life and skills of Magnus Carlsen, a chess prodigy who was recognized as the youngest grandmaster in the world at age 13 and during the same year earned even more acclaim by gaining a tie with Garry Kasparov, the world's best chess player.
Magnus's father Henrik serves as the narrator of this look at the youngster who was called early in his career "the Mozart of Chess."
As a young boy, he kept to himself and was, according to his dad, often lost in thought. He loved LEGO and other activities which sharpened his mind. As a teenager, Magnus travelled to matches around the world, but at home, he was bullied in school. Early on, this wizard set his goal to becoming the world's best chess player.
In one of the most astonishing scenes in Magnus, he demonstrates his skills at Harvard University by check-mating ten lawyers while wearing a blindfold. On the road, this earnest and intense young man relies on his father, mother, and two sisters to provide him with the encouragement and relaxation he needs in the midst of so much competition. In the climactic closing scenes, Magnus squares off in India against grandmaster Viswanathan Anand who is known for his innovative use of computers to polish his chess triumphs.