2016 documentary

Rating: 14/20

Plot: This walks through the rise of Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, the "Mozart of chess."

My favorite part of this was watching the footage of young Carlsen, who I believe was 13 at the time, playing a game against former champion Garry Kasparov. The contrast between Carlsen and Kasparov was a lot of fun to watch.

I wasn't a Magnus Carlsen fan before this movie. I'd seen a few of his games, but I assumed he was really cocky. He also grabbed the championship from a guy I used to call my favorite chess player, Vishy Anand. After watching this, it's hard not to like and root for the guy. I knew how this chess championship ended up, but the games still had me on the edge of my seat. And instead of pulling for Anand, I found myself wanting to see Carlsen win. His training, his dependence on intuition rather than robotic memorization, and his obvious love for the game made it easy to root for the guy.

I was touched by the strength he got from his family, and I was amazed by his abilities, especially in a scene where we see him play a bunch of people at once while blindfolded. It gives me a headache just thinking about how those guys do that.

As a chess player, I wish it would have gone into more specific details about the individual games, but admittedly, that would have turned off a lot of viewers. As the title might indicate, it's more about the personality than it is the chess anyway, and it's effective in telling the story of this impossible force of nature.

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