Magnus Carlsen and Death of Chess Ideas

Magnus Carlsen and Death of Chess Ideas

Jan 24, 2015, 9:09 AM |

Where have ideas gone?

With giant technological advances, human abilities are being pushed to new heights.

Magnus Carlsen, the “hero of the computer era,” has found smart ways of how to use computers to become the world’s #1.[1] On the other hand, the top players are now those who most often play moves that chess engines would choose.[2]

Not everything is that rosy, however. Last time we saw how, amid the rise of technologism and scientism, all criteria for giving value to things have been replaced by quantification.

Today, let us discuss another hazardous by-product of computerization – a general scarcity of ideas.

Chess, art by Adam Lude Döring

Future of chess, clash of human ideas, or clash of metal heads? Chess, art by Adam Lude Döring, Germany


Magnus Carlsen is just few steps away from reaching 2900 rating. But how about his style of play? Even GMs term his style as dry, a little flat, no freshness in it. His play is also embarrassingly short of original ideas. In this regard, he himself is candid enough, “Flashes of true inspiration are very hard to come by… it doesn’t happen very often, at least not with me.”

It is absolutely impossible for computers to produce ideas. People who think like machines, can’t do it either.

Some say, we may be the first generation in human history going backward intellectually from advanced mode of thinking (creativity, imagination, intuition, etc.) into computer “thinking.”[3]




1. The best coach now is the computer, if you use it correctly. I doubt Carlsen has read Nimzowitsch’s books. He learns from the games he replays (GM Sosonko).

2. A study by has shown that Magnus Carlsen plays more like a computer than any of his opponents.

3. Quantitatively we know more than any previous generation, yet qualitatively we know much less. Everyone knows everything, but no one is thinking about anything (Neal Gabler).