Chess players like other performers have a way of putting their signature on an era.
Bobby Fischer's reign in the early '70s was brief if not momentary, but his ascendancy to the top in itself precipitated a worldwide celebration of the game.
Almost immediately 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 successror Garry Kasparov.
On Kasparov's retirement from competitive chess in 2005, there was a concern for the vacuum that might follow.
But now another giant has emerged.
It is 21-year-old Magnus Carlsen of Norway who may be setting an even higher standard than those preceding him.
Carlsen, currently rated number One in the world, seems to grow in strength with every game he plays.
Each month, his cumulative results place him, it seems, just another step ahead of the world's best.
How does do it? No one quite knows.
Although mild enough in everyday life, he has an almost inordinate lust to battle on the chessboard.
He does not merely accede to battle, but steps forward to welcome it.
In a sense, he is a new paradigm, a new kind of chess hero for our difficult times.
Below is a win by Nikita Vitiugov against Liren Ding from the Russia-China match in St. Petersburg, Russia.