Watching chess players go through millions of moves on a computer, one would think that the excitement of thinking up creative new moves has descended into the 64-square game. Everything is already there on the computer!
So, has modern chess lost some of its creativity and innovation?
“No. I will not say that creativity and innovation has changed, where you find it has changed,” said five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in a conversation with sports star here Wednesday.
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“Once upon a time, creativity and innovation depended entirely on what I invented. Now sometimes it’s not what I find, it’s what the computer finds and if I notice it and if I can understand the whole explanation.
“The computer is like a magic box. You ask him a question, he gives you an answer. But I think most chess players don’t understand the answers at first. They have to think about the answer. In a sense, creativity has never been higher, but it’s not the creativity we had 20 or 30 years ago. So the way it happens is changing, but there’s even more creativity and innovation than ever before.
So who are the most creative players in the world right now?
“I think (world champion Magnus) Carlsen is very creative, he’s constantly experimenting with new ideas, trying to push here and there, trying to discover new things. (American Fabiano) Caruana is very creative in his investigations and then on the other end you have people like (Georgia’s Baadur) Jobava trying to be creative almost in a rebellious way, saying I don’t care about the computer where I go to do my thing.
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“So there are quite a few players like that…someone like Richard Rapport (world number 8). We all work with the same tools but if you show me a bunch of 10-player games, I don’t know can -not exactly who played the other eight but the Rapport games I can tell you.There is a signature.
Will Carlsen, the highest rated player in the world, or someone like Frenchman of Iranian descent Alireza Firouzja cross the 2900 or 3000 mark?
“Nobody has done it so far, of course one day it will happen but it will happen by inflation. There can be an upper limit and the upper limit depends on others, it does not depend only on you. Because that if you are too far ahead of others, your expected score becomes too high. And you have to maintain it all the time,” said Anand who was in Kochi for a promotional event, organized by Chess Association Kerala, for the Olympiad. next month’s chess in Chennai.
“Of course Magnus has set his target at 2900, let’s see if he achieves it. Alireza…we expect him to go very far. He’s had a pretty bad tournament now, in Madrid, but I think that in the long run, there will be very few people who will bet against him. He will have a very impressive career.
And do we have someone like that in the Indian scene?
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“Right now, there are four or five. Arjun (Erigaisi) and Gukesh, I’m just going by elo rating, they’re very close to 2700, both are in the top 50 and that’s fantastic. Then there’s Praggnanandhaa…a little unfair comparison because Praggnanandhaa played a lot of fast and blitz events so he couldn’t end up in the same ranking but he beats Carlsen, he beats Ding (world number 2 ), he beats the best players in the world and quite often. So I would definitely put him in that top group,” Anand said.
“Nihal (Sareen), I think he belongs there, but right now he’s having a turbulent period. It’s only a matter of time and it will rise again.