About Magnus Carlsen and Chess HISTORY!

How is Chess relevant to poker you say? well read on and you will find out what I think!

Firstly let’s talk about the history of chess!

Chess is a game whose rules have not dramatically changed since the 15th century. The Queen, the King, and all the pieces move the same way as it did in the 15th century. In terms of a board game, it is truly a game of KING OF KINGS! and its complexity is ranked only second to the game of GO!

I like to separate chess in 3 separate developmental histories.

before the 1900s

Before 1900s chess is all about over the board exploration and many of the basic concepts that are taken for granted today were revolutionary ideas back then. For example, back then E4 opening by white and E5 replay black is considered standard opening moves. There was no Sicilian defense, French defense at the highest level because based on the theory of the time, all other openings are dubious and only works against amateur chess players!

between 1900 and 1980

I believe this is the romantic age of chess, and due to the popularity of Chess, the advent of professionalism becomes the standard of the day. Chess grandmaster of the day, spend all their time on the opening, most top players believe the middle and end game is played out and figured out by their great predecessors. In order to be a top-notch chess player it takes a Great Genius IQ chess grandmaster and his team of seconds of opening theory expert, to stay at the top hierarchy of chess!
During this period, the opening theory advancement included the realization the Russian game was the ultimate draw weapon as black. The Sicilian defense once considered dubious is actually a very theory heavy and offers the best chance for a counter-attack and a win vs white. As a matter of factly, there were opening theory advances in every opening. And Grandmaster who lacks opening knowledge or improvement disappears from top-level chess.

However, during the period there came along two special talents that are truly giants of their time. Garry Kasparov and Anatolov Karpov.

Their rivalry and style of play went beyond simply the romantic age of chess but also have a profound effect on modern chess!

The Age of Modern Chess!

Today chess is all about Computer and Memorization, according to the great Bobby Fischer and he is correct! With a chess program and a powerful PC, anyone can explore chess theory and make an improvement to their game. No longer do you have to join forces with a team of top-notch Super Grandmaster and spending thousandth of hours of opening exploration just to find an improvement to your favorite opening!

Opening theory preparation and memorization is what Garry Kasparov is all about. He will play an opening and then deviate from the Main Line with the belief that his opponent is not as well prepared as he was! In the end, his opponent is destroyed by his opening preparation and Garry Kasparov will build either a huge advantage or a slight advantage out of the opening and crash his opponent with the psychological advantage that he out prepared his opponent! Nobody, not even the second top opening theories such as Vishy Anand can match Garry Kasparov’s opening preparation!

Now my reader may wonder if Chess is all about opening preparation then what is the point of play chess, and if Garry Kasparov is so good at the opening then how can Karpov be great?

Along came Karpov, what Karpov and the players like him such as Magnus Carlsen, asks a fundamental question about opening preparation. Since the advent of personal computers and teams of seconds of super grandmaster that helps with the MAIN man’s opening preparation. Chess opening preparation is now played out. And as a matter of factly all mainline opening leads to the inevitable draw.

What Karpov and Magnus Carlsen have figured out is that the battleground is no longer about opening preparation, rather the main battleground is about playing perfect chess!

From the above chess position, we can see this is a theoretical draw! However, Karpov and Magnus ask a fundamental question, "yes, we all know this is a theoretical and as a matter of factly draw. However, in order to reach the absolute draw position, it will take at least around 20 or more moves of perfect play! and given that Karpov and Magnus are emotionally and mentally very tough individuals, can my opponent match my intensity and match my perfect play with his own perfect play so that in the end we reach the absolute draw position? Also, remember the end game in chess is actually the sharpest chess out of any stage of chess. (sharp means = one mistake and it is over for you!) Hence, basically what Karpov and Magnus do is they play openings that are theoretically drawish, and they are always very very over prepared in their specialized openings, and unlike their great predecessors instead of shaking hand and accepting or offering a draw when they reach a theoretical drawish endgame, they chose to play on till the bitter end until they reach the absolute drawish position!

After reading my article I hope you can now apply the same idea to poker, however, I will not tell you how I am applying this realization, because this is my main weapon now!

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Then along comes AlphaZero and changes the way the game is played.

I was impressed by watching a few of AZ’s matches. It seems more than willing to sacrifice pieces in order to gain a positional advantage. More than once, the commentator has to admit, “I have no idea why it played that move.” The “why” only becomes apparent many moves later.

My favorite was a comment by Danish grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen, who suggested that AlphaZero plays like a superior alien species. Haha.

mhmm, I disagree. Alpha zero plays a style of chess, that only can be described as GOD LIKE. I don’t think there exist any human that can match its play style or emulate its play style. SIMPLY PUT if there is such a thing as GOD of CHESS, then ALPHA ZERO plays like a god!

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