Elon Musk Thinks Chess Is ‘Too Simple’

Elon Musk Thinks Chess Is ‘Too Simple’

Tesla Inc. and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is known for his innovation and tendency to question conventions. Last year, he publicly stated his disinterest in the classic board game chess.

Musk, who played chess during his childhood, has distanced himself from the strategic game, citing six reasons he finds it “too simple” for his liking. In March 2022, he posted on X, formerly Twitter, “Chess is a simple game. Understandable when all we had to play with were squirrels and rocks, but now we have computers.”

Musk’s preference for technology over chess became evident as home computers gained popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1983, when Musk was 12 years old, he authored the source code for the game Blastar. The game involved destroying alien freighters with five available lives while avoiding hazards like deadly hydrogen bombs and status beam machines, reminiscent of “Space Invaders” from 1978.

This code was published in PC and Office Technology magazine in 1984, earning Musk $500. Blastar wasn’t made into a game until 2015 when Tomas Lloret, a Google software engineer, saw it in a book by Ashlee Vance and made it playable online.

The gaming industry has developed substantially since then. There’s billion-dollar companies like Meta Platforms Inc., creating virtual reality games, and platforms like Gameflip creating blockchain-based gaming marketplaces.

In an October 2022 post, Musk reiterated he had outgrown chess and provided six reasons why. The reasons were:

1. Limited 8-by-8 grid: Musk’s first point is the simplicity of the chessboard, which consists of only 64 squares arranged in an 8-by-8 grid. He sees this fundamental characteristic as a drawback rather than a challenge.

2. Absence of fog of war: In the realm of strategy games, the fog-of-war concept adds an element of unpredictability by concealing portions of the game map. Musk expressed disappointment that chess lacks this feature, where all moves and pieces are openly displayed for both players

Lack of a technology tree: His third point is the absence of a technology tree, a hierarchical representation of upgrade sequences seen in strategy games. He desires a more intricate decision-making structure within the games

4. No random map or spawn positions: Musk argued that chess’s deterministic nature, with no random map or spawn positions, limits its appeal. While chess is celebrated for its absence of chance, Musk appears to prefer an element of unpredictability.

5. Two-player restriction: In a somewhat unconventional criticism, Musk expressed discontent with chess’s limitation to two players. For those who share his view, he suggested exploring four-player chess variants to introduce a broader challenge.

6. Identical starting positions: Musk’s most pointed critique was the identical starting positions for both players. He found this lack of diversity unfair and hinted at the appeal of a scenario where players face uneven odds right from the beginning.

Musk’s straightforward views on chess sparked debates among chess fans and on social media. Some questioned whether chess is as simple as he says, and some wondered whether he knows the game at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest