Can Magnus Carlsen beat Deep Blue? (The truth!)

Magnus Carlsen has the edge over Deep Blue in a consecutive match format, given that he will have an intense home preparation as with his other world championship matches. Deep Blue is inferior to modern chess computers and Magnus will definitely be capable of beating it.

Chess engines used to be this unproven concept that will never surpass human players, however times have changed since then. We now know how the power of technology can be frightening, chess is affected.

A faithful match sparked this advancement in chess computers, the Garry Kasparov vs. Deep Blue match. 

Some have wondered how would the current world champion Magnus Carlsen fare against Deep Blue? That is the topic of this article.

Some say that this is a difficult question to answer since there is no way to verify the actual outcome. However, I believe that this is actually an easy question to answer based on what we already know. 

I will be presenting all the points here as someone who has knowledge on the topic, and I am also a bit interested in this so might as well write about it. With all of that in mind, let’s get started.

Magnus Carlsen can beat Deep Blue because he is very precise

Magnus Carlsen would be a good match against any strong chess computer that has previously defeated any player. The world champion is probably the most precise player in history, he has chances.

As time passes, players are becoming stronger due to the very existence of the chess engines, modern theories are basically old theoretical theories that have been criticized by chess computers.

Players of today are well-equipped with not only the knowledge of previous human competitors, but also the knowledge of modern supercomputers. It is a part of modern chess.

Magnus Carlsen is the pinnacle of a modern super grandmaster, someone who is so precise he plays like an engine. He could definitely beat Deep Blue which is basically a primitive version of a modern chess computer.

Garry Kasparov is a strong competitor for Deep Blue but is not the best, his style is risky (aggressive) and not as precise as Magnus. 

Carlsen has the edge in a consecutive match against a computer like Deep Blue due to his precision (it is unclear if Deep Blue can win a game here and there, but possibly).

Magnus Carlsen can beat Deep Blue since he will take the game seriously

The only reason that Garry Kasparov lost the monumental game against Deep Blue is that he underestimated the engine. Magnus could definitely wipe the floor with Deep Blue as with Kasparov when he is serious.

There was even a famous video on Garry Kasparov complaining about this very same thing, that he tested the engine beforehand and it played significantly stronger during the game.

Now whether that complaint is legit will be up to you, however, the point is that Garry Kasparov did not take their game as seriously since he thought that Deep Blue was naturally inferior.

If it was Magnus who will face Deep Blue today, I would not doubt that he will have his entire team work on the home preparation in order to take down the engine.

The world champion losing against Deep Blue is a monumental part of mychess history that is sort of an embarrassment for Garry Kasparov, Magnus surely wouldn’t want to experience the same thing.

He would definitely bring his A-game without holding anything back, unlike Garry Kasparov who lived in an era where chess computers are underestimated. 

Due to this preconceived notion that it will be a very important match, I am sure that it will modify Carlsen’s mindset to take the games seriously and potentially win it all against deep blue.

Magnus Carlsen can win because Deep Blue as a chess engine is still primitive

We need to consider that Deep Blue is a primitive version of modern chess computers and would not fare well against Stockfish for example. Magnus has a high likelihood of beating Deep Blue.

If the question is something like “Can Magnus Carlsen beat Stockfish?” my take on this will be obviously different, a modern chess computer cannot be compared on an engine like Deep Blue.

Deep Blue is significantly weaker since it still hasn’t acquired the improvements that modern chess computers have implemented over time, it is not on the same level. Magnus has a high chance of winning in a consecutive match.

Magnus has a broad opening repertoire, he can definitely get a good opening for example. I have a pretty good idea of what openings Magnus is likely to play if this match were to happen.

Games that Carlsen have played against modern chess computers should not be a basis for an engine like Deep Blue since it is a weaker chess computer (though Carlsen has still performed well against some engines).

It is still pretty strong but not as strong as the unbeatable Stockfish or Alphazero, Magnus has more chances against deep blue than any other modern chess computers.

Magnus Carlsen can beat Deep Blue since he has an extensive home preparation

We have to understand that modern chess players, especially the world champion Magnus Carlsen, also incorporate computer moves into their repertoire. 

Magnus would definitely be prepared with enhanced home preparation if they were to duke it out. It is not like modern chess players are only playing with their own brain anymore, their games are littered with engine moves.

This is definitely one of the reasons why Magnus Carlsen plays like an engine, because he actually memorized a lot of engine moves in his home preparation. 

If we were to pit a modern chess computer like Stockfish against the likes of Deep Blue (which is an inferior version), Stockfish would definitely win in most games. 

Magnus should have access to a similar chess computer which he can utilize in his home preparation, it is like pitting Stockfish against Deep Blue if you think about it. 

This is going to be a huge factor if Carlsen and Deep Blue were to go on a match, the fact that Magnus can use a stronger engine himself makes it likely that he can actually beat Deep Blue.

Magnus Carlsen can beat Deep Blue since he is from the era of chess computers

Magnus has a lot of data that he can study in order to concoct a strategy against Deep Blue. This is unlike the times of Garry Kasparov where chess engines are these unknown entities that cannot be figured out.

Kasparov lost because he is from an era where chess engines are not that dominant, Magnus is more adapted to the playing style of modern chess computers.

Decades ago nobody knew which approach one should take against a chess computer, there is no particular recommended playing style for example.

There is no database or anything like that which can be reviewed in order to formulate some sort of a plan, playing against a chess computer is like shooting in the dark.

This of course does not apply to someone like Magnus, he grew up in the era of chess computers and has already seen what they are capable of. He is already familiar with how to deal with them. 

Magnus Carlsen has a high likelihood of beating Deep Blue since he is also aware of the anti-engine maneuvers that have already been recorded in the past, he can incorporate this into his games.

This I believe should be conclusive enough, Kasparov only really lost because of the unknown qualities of chess engines at the time.

Deep Blue can win a game or two, Magnus will win in a consecutive match

Deep Blue could probably take a game or two against Carlsen but will likely be beaten in long consecutive matches. If this matchup were to happen, Magnus would be the favorite.

The norm in today’s competition is of course a long consecutive match, winning a game here and there is usually not convincing enough to form some sort of a conclusion. 

Magnus overall is just better equipped in handling Deep Blue due to the massive resources that he already have, unlike with Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue can of course still get a win if there is some sort of trickery involved.

Chess computers have been proven time and time again to be better in the tactics than humans are, if Deep Blue were to win it is probably because of a tactical shot.

However if we are talking about consecutive matches Carlsen is just better than Deep Blue overall, if he can take control of the situation then he has a high chance of winning.

Or perhaps they could just draw their games who knows, but I believe in the long run Magnus should be able to come out on top.

Magnus is just too strong. I have explained in another article how he is so far ahead at the elite level. I think the reason also applies to this case, to deep blue. He has a lot of things going for him that give him an advantage.

Final thoughts

Magnus Carlsen vs. Deep Blue is one of those unnecessary question that is just interesting to ponder upon, we can never truly learn the answer but it is intriguing to speculate. 

I had fun thinking about which points should I make drawing from the context behind the original Garry Kasparov vs. Deep Blue match. You guessed it, I have Magnus Carlsen gaining the edge.

If the question were a bit different, let’s say a chess engine like stockfish for example, Magnus Carlsen would probably not even win a single game.

But just because this is Deep Blue we are talking about and not Stockfish, I will give the win to Carlsen on this one. Hope you have enjoyed the article, sleep well and play chess.