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On Mastery: Magnus Carlsen, Chess Virtuoso

There are some people who do things particularly well, unlike others; they’re masters of their trade. I’m fascinated by them.

Yet, I rarely know enough of the subject to determine just how exquisite the person is, but I can estimate. I like to consider how far above mediocrity she is in her field and just how close the second most exceptional person’s are to hers. Trajectory, age, and background (or lack thereof) are of interest, too.

Magnus Carlsen is in this group:

  • Tied 41-year old chess grandmaster Kasparov at age 14 (ouch)
  • Looked awfully bored beating a competitor with a 1-minute to 9-minute handicap
  • Played 10 competitors at once with his back to the board, and wins

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