Carlsen a new breed of conqueror
Saturday September 22, 2012 8:02 AM
Like other performers, chess players have a way of putting their signature on an era.
Bobby Fischer’s reign in the early 1970s was brief, but his ascendancy to the top in itself precipitated a worldwide celebration of the game.
Almost immediately, Soviet star Anatoly Karpov took over the reins. From 1975 to 1985, he was head and shoulders above the rest.
For the next two decades, we celebrated and feasted on the genius of his successor, Garry Kasparov.
When Kasparov retired from competitive chess in 2005, there was concern about the vacuum that might follow.
But another giant has emerged: 21-year-old Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who might be setting an even higher standard than those preceding him.
The skills of Carlsen, currently rated No. 1 in the world, seem to grow stronger with every game he plays.
Each month, his cumulative results place him another step ahead of the world’s best.
How does he do it? No one quite knows.
Although mild enough in everyday life, he has an almost inordinate lust for battle on the chessboard. He doesn’t merely accede to battle; he steps forward to welcome it.
He is a new paradigm, a new type of chess hero for a difficult day.
Shelby Lyman is a Basic Chess Features columnist.
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– GM Susan Polgar