GERMANY, Hamburg, November 9, 2017, Max Deutsch is a 24-year-old geek in Silicon Valley with a self-diagnosed obsessive personality. He’s spent the last year challenging himself to increasingly crazy tasks just to see if they were possible. He memorized the order of a shuffled deck of cards. He solved a Rubik’s Cube in 17 seconds. He developed perfect pitch, completed 40 straight pull-ups and landed a standing backflip. He taught himself to improvise a blues guitar solo, studied enough Hebrew to discuss the future of technology for a half-hour, and studied the rap greats to freestyle for three uninterrupted minutes. And he did them all in one month. Why? “To take basic skills,” he wrote in one of his daily blog posts tracking his progress, “and very rapidly push them to the extreme.” He knew from the beginning of his very peculiar year that his challenge for the month of October would be the most difficult one yet. It’s so audacious that it might as well be impossible. Max wants to beat Magnus Carlsen in a chess match. Magnus Carlsen is the best chess player ever. He’s the three-time defending world champion. He’s been ranked No. 1 for the last seven years. He’s also only 26 years old. Magnus has been called a genius so much that he now has to make special requests that he not be called a genius.

Here: Magnus Carlsen

For a story by Ben Cohen. Slug: CHESS_GERMANY

CREDIT: Gordon Welters for The Wall Street Journal
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