I thought he would bail. Child prodigies burn out as adults, and Carlsen is likely no exception.
At some point everyone has to answer the question of "Am I what my parents made me to be or am I my own person?". The prodigy has to face this question in the face of everyone who has defined them by their prodigious ability. In general, there are three paths:
- Acceptance: the prodigy simply accepts the identity that everyone has placed on them and owns it for themselves.
- Redefinition: the prodigy accepts parts of the identity that everyone wants them to have, but not all of it. They push back against the parts of their prodigious path that make them miserable or uncomfortable and add other dimensions and skills to their life to define themselves a full human being.
- Rejection: the prodigy rejects the skill, the identity, and all, and goes to do something else.
With Magnus, we're starting to see him going for #2 - he's playing poker and doesn't want to play the chess World Championship because he finds it boring. He wants more creative chess games. Josh Waitzkin went for #3, and AFAIK Bobby Fischer went for #1.
It's a good lesson, because in adolescence everyone faces this decision with any activity or skill, though not to the extreme of child prodigies. One gets a choice between accepting a particular skill you learned while growing up, rejecting an activity altogether as miserable or uncomfortable, or changing it to suit you.