At the age of thirteen years, four months and twenty-six days, Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess grandmaster in the world.
The scene of this stunning record: Dubai. The date: April 26, 2004. Predictably, the international press raved about the Norwegian prodigy. The Washington Post even dubbed him ‘the Mozart of chess’.
Magnus Mania had reached a first peak a few weeks earlier, when in Reykjavik he beat former world champion Anatoly Karpov and next held none other than Garry Kasparov to a draw. Having lost a further game with the world’s number one, thirteen-year-old Magnus commented without a trace of irony, "I played like a child".
'Wonderboy' is the fairy-tale-like story of Magnus Carlsen’s rise and the story-teller could not have been better qualified. For the past four years Simen Agdestein has trained Magnus, repeatedly pinching himself in amazement at his pupil’s lightning progress.
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. These days Agdestein teaches chess at the NTG, the Norwegian College for Top Athletes.
While you follow Magnus on his fabulous journey, Agdestein is your guide, telling about the Carlsen family life and explaining the secrets of Magnus’ play in clear and instructive comments.
Any chess player could hardly pick up a more inspiring book. Wonderboy will fascinate parents and help gifted children to realize their full potential. Jan Timman: "Compelling tale, exciting chess."
Johan Hut, Gooi en Eemlander: "A wonderful book for adults, but also for children."
Taylor Kingston, ChessCafe: "No doubt about it, the kid is good (...) 'Wonderboy' is an enjoyable, interesting book, and, one hopes, just the first installment in the chronicles of an important chess career."
Heinz Brunthaler, Europa Rochade: "One has to give great praise to the author for the honest and emphatically told story (...) If there would a 'book of the year' award at Europa Rochade then I would nominate 'Wonderboy'."
Max Pam, Het Parool:
"The biography is very worthwile, and what Agdestein has written is clearly a labor of love."
Jules Welling, Schaaknieuws: "I finished it in one go."
Herman Grooten, Trouw: "A splendid book, accessible for a big audience."