Carlsen-Caruana Redux – AlphaZero’s Take

12 games at normal time controls, 12 draws. A lot of people just looked at the result and said “Boring!“. For those of us (layabouts) who actually watched the games live, online there was a lot of exciting chess. It’s just that at key moments the players either rushed their moves and missed their opportunity (giving hope that they are, at least in that respect, just like us patzers) or they thought long and hard and then chickened out (again, something we can all can identify with). Then there was that winning move that Sesse identified which none of the experts could understand until they had sat in a darkened room for several hours studying the computer analysis.

Somebody who particularly enjoyed the games was GM Matthew Sadler. He and WIM Natasha Regan have been given access to AlphaZero to write a book about it which is coming out next year. Sadler, meanwhile, was allowed to maintain access to his new toy for the World Championships and followed the games with the benefit of analysis of AlphaZero. He has produced a number of videos examining AlphaZero’s analysis of the 12 games, themed according to the openings.

DeepMind’s AlphaZero on Carlsen-Caruana Games 1, 3, 5 & 8 (Sicilian Defence)

Games 2 & 7 (the QGD)

Games 4 & 6 (English & Petroff)

Games 10 & 12 (Sveshnikov Sicilian)

Games 11 & 9 (Petroff & English)

For contrast here are the thoughts of former world champion and reigning rapid world champion, Vishy Anand on the first 12 games given before the playoffs.