Garry Kasparov: Chess, Deep Blue, AI, and Putin | Lex Fridman Podcast #46 | Summary and Q&A

October 27, 2019
Lex Fridman Podcast
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Garry Kasparov: Chess, Deep Blue, AI, and Putin | Lex Fridman Podcast #46


Gary Kasparov, the greatest chess player of all time, discusses his psychology, motivations, and the impact of artificial intelligence on society.

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Key Insights

  • 👑 Gary Kasparov dominated the chess world for 19 years, ranking world number one and inspiring a generation of AI researchers. He is also a pro-democracy political thinker and fearless human rights activist.
  • 💭 Kasparov's motivation to succeed in chess came from a love for winning and a belief that he could always improve. His fear of making mistakes pushed him to make impactful decisions at the chessboard.
  • 🌟 Kasparov's brilliance in chess came from his ability to create something new, whether it was in openings, middle games, or his overall strategy. He carried this mindset into his work outside of chess as well.
  • 😈 Kasparov was not haunted by darker forces in his chess career, but rather viewed losses as a result of mistakes and opportunities for improvement. He believed in his own ability to make a difference on the chessboard.
  • ♜ Kasparov views Magnus Carlsen, the current world champion, as a lethal combination of the aggressive style of Fischer and the meticulous style of Karpov.
  • ⚙️ Kasparov recognizes that machines will always beat humans in closed systems like chess, where they can make fewer mistakes. However, he believes that humans still have a role to play in open-ended systems, leveraging our unique qualities and understanding the limits of machines.
  • 🌏 Kasparov sees undemocratic systems and totalitarian regimes, like the Soviet Union, as hindrances to innovation and progress. He believes that dictatorial regimes eventually fail.
  • 🔐 Kasparov faces threats to his life for his outspoken opposition to Putin and the current regime in Russia. However, he remains determined to continue fighting for democracy and making a difference.
  • 🗳️ Kasparov believes that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election to help elect Trump and expects them to do the same in the 2020 election. He warns of the damage Trump's presidency could cause to the free world.
  • 🏆 If he could relive a moment in his life, Kasparov wouldn't change anything. He is proud of his accomplishments and the life he has built, including his marriage and children. He continues to be motivated to make a difference.


the following is a conversation with Gary Kasparov he's considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time from 1986 until his retirement in 2005 he dominated the chess world ranking world number one for most of those 19 years while he has many historical matches against human chess players in a long arc of history he may be remembered ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Gary Kasparov view losing in chess, and what motivated him to continue improving?

Losing in chess was physically painful for Kasparov, who saw it as a result of his own mistakes. He believed that improving his play was essential and found motivation in his passion for the game and creating something new.

Q: According to Gary Kasparov, what is the main difference between humans and machines in chess?

Kasparov explains that the main difference is that machines aim to make fewer mistakes, while humans bring creativity, intuition, and understanding of the game. Machines don't know how to ask the right questions or understand the consequences of their moves like humans do.

Q: How does Gary Kasparov see the future of human-machine collaboration in various fields?

Kasparov believes that humans and machines can collaborate effectively by recognizing their respective strengths and limitations. Humans can bring creativity, intuition, and the ability to ask relevant questions, while machines can process data and make calculations more accurately. Collaboration can lead to better outcomes in various fields.

Q: What does Gary Kasparov think about the impact of AI on society and the potential for bias in machines?

Kasparov acknowledges that machines can amplify biases and prejudices present in society, but he emphasizes that it is the responsibility of humans to identify and address these biases. He believes that focusing on areas where machines and humans can each make a difference is crucial for effective collaboration.

Q: How does Gary Kasparov view the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and its impact on history?

Kasparov sees the rise and fall of the Soviet Union as evidence that totalitarian regimes cannot be the driving force for innovation and progress. He recognizes the damage caused by communism and emphasizes the importance of democratic systems and individual freedoms in creating a better future.

Q: What are Gary Kasparov's views on Russia's interference in the 2016 US election and the potential for interference in the 2020 election?

According to Kasparov, Russia interfered in the 2016 US election and will likely continue its efforts to support Trump in the 2020 election. He believes that Trump's presidency has had a damaging impact on America and the free world, and he expresses concern about the lack of strong opposition in American politics.


Gary Kasparov, considered one of the greatest chess players of all time, discusses his motivations, the impact of his loss to IBM's Deep Blue, the future of artificial intelligence, and lessons from the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

Questions & Answers

Q: What motivated you more, the love of winning or the fear of losing?

Losing was always painful, as it felt like a physical pain. I believed that the result of the game should be decided by the quality of my play, so losing meant I made a mistake. I always knew there was room for improvement and that drove me forward.

Q: How did you make decisions without predictable consequences in chess?

Making decisions at the top level of chess is about inner strength and intuition. It's about being able to take risks and make choices without knowing the exact outcome. It's a mix of calculated thinking and trusting your instincts.

Q: What was the driving force behind your chess career?

The driving force behind my chess career was the passion for making a difference. I enjoyed not just playing the game, but also creating something new and innovative. I found new ideas in openings and strategies, and this passion fueled my desire to continue making a difference.

Q: Did you have fears or demons that haunted you throughout your career?

While I didn't have specific fears or demons, losing was always a painful experience for me. I was always aware of my mistakes and the consequences of those mistakes. As I got older, I made more blunders, but I still had the inner strength to compete and make a difference in the game.

Q: Can you share some moments in your chess career that you are particularly proud of?

There were several moments in my chess career that I am proud of. One was during the 1985 World Championship match against Anatoly Karpov, where I found a unique maneuver that became a typical move in chess. Another was game 16 of the same match, where I completely outplayed Karpov and secured a decisive victory.

Q: Where would you rank Magnus Carlsen among all-time great chess players?

It's difficult to rank players across different eras because each generation knows more about the game than the previous one. Magnus Carlsen's consistency and style make him a formidable player, but it's important to recognize the contributions of all world champions to the game.

Q: Do you think artificial intelligence will surpass human capabilities in all intellectual fields?

No, I don't think machines will surpass human capabilities in all intellectual fields. Machines excel in closed systems, where they can make fewer mistakes and optimize their performance. However, in open-ended systems that require creativity, intuition, and human connections, machines will always fall short.

Q: What can we learn from your loss to IBM's Deep Blue in 1997?

My loss to Deep Blue was painful, not just because I lost the match, but also because I believed there were other factors at play. It was a pivotal moment in history, as it showed the potential of artificial intelligence and inspired a generation of AI researchers. However, it also taught us to recognize the limits of machines and the importance of human contributions.

Q: How do you see the future of human-machine collaboration?

I believe the future lies in human-machine collaboration, where we recognize the unique qualities and contributions of each. Machines can excel at certain tasks, but humans bring qualities like intuition, understanding context, and asking the right questions. By understanding where humans can make the difference, we can effectively collaborate with machines to achieve great outcomes.

Q: Can machines have morality or be biased?

Machines cannot have morality or be biased, as they are reflections of human programming and data. Any biases or prejudices in machines come from society itself. It's important for us to recognize and address biases in ourselves and in the data we feed into machines, rather than solely blaming machines for biases.

Q: What lessons can we learn from the rise and fall of the Soviet Union?

The rise and fall of the Soviet Union taught us that undemocratic systems and totalitarian regimes based on control and central planning cannot foster innovation. It also highlighted the dangers of communism and the need to recognize its failures. The end of the Cold War was a triumph for the free world, though it is important to recognize that no system is perfect and continuous improvement is needed.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Kasparov reflects on his career as a chess player and his motivation, which was a combination of the love of winning and the hatred of losing.

  • He explains that chess at the top level is about making decisions without predictable consequences and relying on inner strength.

  • Kasparov also discusses the role of artificial intelligence in chess and society, emphasizing that machines can make fewer mistakes but don't understand the game like humans do.

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