Kramnik And AlphaZero: How To Rethink Chess‎

Vladimir Kramnik:

The increasing strength of chess engines, the millions of computer games and the volumes of opening theory available to every player are making top-level chess less imaginative. Decisive games in super-tournaments have declined, while the number of games with what I’d call “creative” content is also on the slide.

The 2018 world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, for example, ended with zero decisive classical games. (Carlsen defended his world title by winning a rapid-game playoff.)

This is not the players’ fault, but the reality they face. It would be strange to expect them to deliberately decrease their chances of a positive outcome by taking unreasonable risks for the sake of playing more “entertaining” games. From my own experience, I know how difficult it has become to force a complex and interesting fight if your opponent wants to play it safe. As soon as one side chooses a relatively sterile line of play, the opponent is forced to follow suit, leading to an unoriginal game and an inevitably drawish outcome.