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Searching for … Magnus Carlsen? This 22-year-old is now the world’s highest-rated chess player of all time

Dec 7, 2012, 12:21 PM EDT

Magnus Carlsen, Fabian Caruana AP

I’ll be honest — I prefer chess boxing to actual chess. But it’s kind of exciting to see perhaps a new Bobby Fischer in the making … only without all the crazy.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway is quite literally the new face of chess. The 22-year-old part-time model is now the highest-rated chess player of all time, so bow down, for your brain is a far inferior brain. Carlsen is smart enough to be a very effective super villain, but at the age of five he took up chess, thus choosing good over evil. And on Thursday he won his fifth-round match in the London Classic, nudging his overall rating to 2860.5, the highest ever live rating in chess.

That surpassed the previous record of 2,851, held for the past 12 years by Garry Kasparov, and considered to be the 56-game hitting streak of chess.

Trick or treat.

Carlsen has been the world’s top-ranked player since July of 2011. He became a grand master at age 13, and was featured on 60 Minutes this past July. And, get this — he’s also a part-time model. But his main source of income is chess, where he earns more than $1 million annually. His manager says that his level of understanding chess “is like climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen.”

So is Carlsen actually the greatest chess player of all time? I’m told that it’s hard to compare him to past greats, because players today have more opportunities than their predecessors to play other great players in tournaments, thus giving them more chances to up their ratings. But if Iceland wants to set up a match between him and Kasparov, I’d watch that.