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  • Angela Allyn

MAGNUS: an autistic boy turns world champion


e story of Magnus Carlsen is another inspiring documentary, about a father bright enough to see that his child – who is probably on the autism scale – has amazing ability with numbers. He could recall the areas, population numbers, flags and capitals of all the countries in the world by the age of five.

When introduced to chess, the path was clear. A lonely boy had an obsession, and he could play on his own for hours and hours, memorizing matches and strategies. He became a grand-master at 13, and world champion a decade later. There is amazing footage of him playing multiple

opponents, even when blindfolded, and he is referred to as the Mozart of chess several times.

As fans of The Queen’s Gambit discovered, chess is hard to translate to film. But the world champion match, set in India, has all the drama of a live event. His opponent, already a five time champ, develop computer programs for chess, and the film refers to his majestic training as being thoroughly dominant because of those machine.

Magnus, on the other hand, while knowing all of those strategies, sought surprises, new strategies, and great gambles to see if his opponent could be beaten. To see him finally smile and relax with his family is worth the time spent watching.

Benjamin Ree directs, from a script by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed and Benjamin Ree. The archival footage is terrific and very well used for dramatic effect.

I found MANGUS on Netflix.

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