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How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster in the World: The Story and the Games [Paperback]

Simen Agdestein

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Book Description

12 July 2013
At the age of 13 years, 4 months and 26 days, Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess grandmaster in the world. The international press raved about the Norwegian prodigy. 'The Washington Post' even called him the Mozart of chess . Ten years on Magnus Carlsen is the number one in the world rankings and a household name far beyond chess circles. 'Time Magazine' listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. The fairy-tale-like story of Magnus Carlsen s rise is told by Simen Agdestein, who trained Magnus in the years leading up to his grandmaster title, repeatedly pinching himself in amazement at his pupil s lightning progress. Agdestein explains the secrets of Magnus play in clear and instructive comments and tells about the Carlsen family life. The story of Magnus fabulous journey will fascinate parents and help gifted children to realize their full potential.

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How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster in the World: The Story and the Games + Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part 2: 1985-1993 (Everyman Chess) + Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part 1: 1973-1985
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About the Author

Simen Agdestein is a most remarkable double talent. Not only did he win the Norwegian national chess championship six times, but he also used to be a highly gifted football player. He played for Lyn FC in Oslo and represented the Norwegian national soccer team on eight occasions.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER DUPLICATE 9 Sep 2013
By Nimzo-Karpov - Published on
This appears to be the same book as the 2004 book by Agdestein. Same chapters, same number of pages, same games. Only the cover has been changed! It's a very good book, but you don't need two copies. This seems to be happening with increasing frequency. Buyer beware!!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mozart of Chess in His Youth 2 Oct 2013
By Christopher J. Falter - Published on
Just in time for the 2013 world championship match, New in Chess has republished Simen Agdestein's Wonderboy Magnus Carlsen: How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Grandmaster in the World with a new foreword. Agdestein, a Norwegian GM who served as Carlsen's coach as of the first publication, recounts the story of Carlsen's development in a thoroughly supportive Norwegian family. His development as a chess player can even challenge our stereotypes about chess improvement:

* Young Magnus did not follow the strict training regimen of "the Soviet school," but pursued his own interests in his own style, with but a modicum of guidance from his trainers.

* He studied many thousands of classic games before he achieved his GM title. On the other hand, he didn't seem to study tactics much, at least by the standard method (solving lots and lots of puzzles).

* From early on he has never used a set to analyze, but just reads a text or game notation and uses his board vision.

Agdestein doesn't directly challenge the conventional wisdom on chess improvement and training, but after I finished the book I found myself questioning whether my fairly orthodox training methodology might need some revamping.

The author sprinkles in over 100 lightly annotated games throughout the narrative that illustrate the development of Carlsen's chess ability. The early games exhibit many brilliancies but plenty of flaws, too: tactical blunders, unsound sacrifices, and a susceptibility to "hand-waving" rather than the hard work of calculating concrete variations. Naturally these flaws diminish as the book continues, until at the end we see Carlsen playing consistently at the GM level.

While the games have plenty of good material, most are accompanied by only a single diagram, and Agdestein's light annotations tend toward hand-waving. For example, he might say "the pawn cannot be captured" without any explanatory analysis. He also criticized some moves without offering a superior alternative. So I found myself scribbling lots of variations in the margins to justify Agdestein's sparse comments. Of course, such exercise is probably better for my chess than being fed the analysis on a spoon, so maybe there is method to Agdestein's madness! And every reader who has not yet reached the FM level can certainly benefit from seeing how Carlsen learned how to clear the hurdles that stand in the way of chess improvement.

While you may enjoy the book either as a pretty good game collection or as an intriguing biography of a preternaturally talented prodigy, I had the most fun when I encountered passages that were, with the benefit of hindsight, either prescient or ironic. For example, soon Carlsen would need a coach more advanced than Agdestein--well, does Kasparov qualify? Or at the age of 9 Carlsen "already liked to sacrifice pieces for exciting play"--but today he just looks for a tiny but stable advantage with which he can grind away.

If you own the first edition, there's no reason to get this one. But if you don't have it, it's a good read and a good game collection. You'll enjoy having read it as you watch the match against Anand, so why not give it a go?

The publisher provided a review copy of this book to me in exchange for my honest review. My ratings of the publisher's books have ranged from 3 stars to 5 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A chronology of his early years 12 Aug 2014
By Ventsislav S Ivanov - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
this book is just a chronology of MC's early years. if you expected (like me) some insight on how MC trained and what tools he used you may be disappointed. basically, it has a bunch of games with low rated opponents and a few games with GMs.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book was a gift for my son. 9 Jan 2014
By mary collinsbeatty - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
He enjoyed it tremendously.He is an avid chess player. I do not know the game. I do know it is time consuming. However ,he has the time at present to expend on reading and studying chess.
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