The Magnus Carlsen-Hans Niemann controversy is more than just a game. It’s the future.

Don’t fool yourself: thinking is hard. You can see this in great chess players, whose heart rate triples to match under their shirts. What characterizes the hero Magnus Carlsen is his lethal stupor, intense coldness of thought under pressure, which makes his last behavior all the more surprising. Basically, what Carlsen did to chess is equivalent to flipping the board and scattering the pieces. Carlsen never gets upset – so he must be pretty upset.

What bothers him is the possibility that Hans Niemann, a 19-year-old American, has infiltrated the unprotected world of backgammon chess to defeat him with a machine. Unless he was upset that Neiman hit him. Carlsen’s outspoken accusation on Monday that Neiman cheated in a match by relying on artificial intelligence to help choose his next moves – a claim Neiman denies – has plunged chess into grim speculation of hardware hidden in cavities. The ability to receive such computer-generated advice through hidden cues is also an “existential threat,” says Carlsen, to an old-world culture in which competitors play on trust without checking each other’s shirt sleeves or the legs of their pants.

Says American senior master and Twitch star, Hikaru Nakamura, who has played for years in tournaments where competitors hung their jackets before sitting at a table, or were barely walking around. “…Magnus said something along the lines of, ‘He’s not doing it to himself. It’s part of a bigger question, a bigger situation.’”

Chess makes weird, fanatical friends. Amari Cooper of the Cleveland Browns is addicted to chess, as is director Stanley Kubrick. When asked once why he found the game so attractive, Kubrick replied, “It trains you to think before you grab it.” For the same reason, Cooper loves chess. All sporting actions are basically small decisions, and even the most legendary and impulsive NFL receiver has to do tricks, cheats, and judgments.

Magnus Carlsen quits after one move as chess storm intensifies

Anyone wondering whether strategic thinking requires athlete-like endurance should consider the physical toll of chess players, who can lose 10 pounds or more in a tournament at their metabolic burn rates. In 1984, according to an ESPN story, Anatoly Karpov lost 22 lbs during the World Championship Siege With Garry Kasparov. A pair of American physiology researchers, Leroy Dubeck and Charlotte Lady, were the first to connect tournament chess players to a variety of sensors to investigate the relationship between thought and action. Sensors showed higher respiratory rates. Adrenaline soared. Pulses ran muscle contraction. All while the players sat almost immobile.

As Bobby Fischer once noted. “Chess deteriorates as your body deteriorates. You cannot separate the body from the mind.”

In recent years, the proliferation of live streaming, fitness trackers, and other gadgets has created an almost game-within-a-game in modern chess tournaments. Viewers swoop on rubber for evidence of mental breakdown and physical distress in the devious, contemplative characters slouching over the boards. At the 2018 Isle of Man International Championships, fitness metrics displayed on a large screen revealed that top teacher Mikhail Antipov burned 560 calories in stock for two hours. For comparison, the average person will burn just 100 calories when running a mile on the treadmill.

The hero in this game within the game has always been Carlsen What a very trained player He visited the famous Norwegian Olympic Center in 2017 to develop a physical system that would help him in the final stretches of the five-hour matches. He does high-intensity intervals of 30-60 minutes in treadmills, hot yoga, soccer, tennis, and basketball.

This all brings us to Carlsen’s quarrel with Neiman, and why he seems so suspicious of him. Earlier this month, Niemann, a lower level player, beat Carlsen without breaking much of a sweat. Somehow, Neiman anticipated and quickly halted an extremely ambiguous opening strategy by Carlsen. “I had the impression that he was not nervous or even fully focused on the match in critical situations,” Carlsen said in a statement released on Monday.

This sparked Carlsen in a rare theatrical role: In his rematch with Neiman last week, he quit after just one move and walked away from the board – a protest gesture that elicits moments that led to the international chess board’s rebuke. But it also fulfilled Carlsen’s main objective, which is to bring Neiman’s playing styles to closer scrutiny. The audit forced Niemann to admit that he used computer assistance in online matches in chess.com When he was twelve and sixteen years old, he was banned because of it. Neiman insists that his recent rise to chess was nonetheless legitimate. When asked at the Bayer Cup how to explain some of his matches in matches that seemed less than explainable, he replied, “I’m a very intuitive player.” That wasn’t good enough for Carlsen.

“I believe Neiman has cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted,” Carlsen said in his Twitter statement.

Carlsen appears to have seized the banner on behalf of a group of greats who believe that machine intelligence is superior to those who just play with their heads – and that existing analyzes or tournament organizers don’t pick it up. Grand Master Srinath Narayanan of India tweeted, “We all knew cheating was a serious problem. We all knew it was rampant. We all kept quiet, not knowing exactly how to do it. Magnus talked about it and in a way the world had no choice but to pay attention.”

The rare cases where someone has been caught point to the possibilities: In 2015, chess officials discovered that Arcangelo Ricciardi was receiving cues in Morse code in his armpit.

Why should you or I care so much whether a 19-year-old chess prodigy uses AI or a signal to solve a board challenge? Because the confrontation between Carlsen and Niemann raises the important topic of “technical solution”. Much machine intelligence in problem solving, it happens, can be more confusing—and weak—than helpful. The long-term cost of tech solutions can be fatal slack, both mentally and physically. You don’t want to lose your conditioning for critical human judgment.

Performing while sitting for five to six hours in a row is the most common office experience. We are all familiar with the strange fatigue that can come from this situation. It’s fatigue that looks different than any other kind. This is not your imagination. Clinical researchers have found that “decision stress” is a distinct form of spending, and can be separated from other physical or cognitive loads. It affects our behavior, and not treating it can reduce problem-solving ability, social psychologist Roy Baumeister and a team of fellow researchers have explained in a series of studies. In one, a group of collages were asked to make product choices, in every way, whether they preferred pens or pencils. After making these small, not particularly important decisions, the selectees showed less physical and mental endurance than the peer group and less inclined to study for the test.

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Recommendation Algorithms can solve some problems, but they don’t always make us smarter or more powerful. Not every possibility is credible. Asked if technology is good or bad for chess, Nakamura said, “Wow, that’s a good question. Depends on who you ask. For me, I’d definitely say I really enjoyed learning the game without having that kind of second opinion, or superior opinion, Or a perfect opinion. I certainly liked that there were no computer programs that knew the answer to everything. I think I’m in the middle. I think it was very good to push the boundaries of our knowledge forward, but at the same time when you have these computers are much better than humans, and it is possible In one step, getting an advantage and winning the game is also a problem.”

The limits of computational predictions are quite evident in the Niemann chaos. chess watchers Try using it to evaluate Nieman’s play, only to fall into the quagmire of controversy. One analysis finds that his play It falls within the suspicious range while another He finds his performance unlikely.

“At the end of the day when we talk about looking at games, there are probably only a few people in the world who can tell if these moves look human or not,” Nakamura said. There is a limited group of people who can get legitimate opinions. This also makes it very difficult. There is really no agreement.”

Carlsen called for better detection methods and added, “I hope the truth will emerge on this matter, whatever it may be.” But a chess scientist may discover that machine intelligence or technical engines do not solve their new problems more efficiently than an old human practice: the honor code, the development of conscience, which solves problems before they even begin. As the great Russian chess master Alexander Grischuk once remarked about the prevalence of online chess and the proliferation of tools with which to cheat, in the end, “everything depends on decency.”

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