Elon Musk believes Chess is too simple, yet it’s more popular than ever
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the traditional game Chess is too simple. Despite its rich history and image as the “Game of Kings,” Musk says it was only relevant during humanity’s primitive stages. Nowadays, he believes computers provide superior gaming experiences and recommended Polytopia as a better game.
Sometimes, we must challenge old notions to reevaluate their relevance in modern life. Nowadays, we have computers that can simulate experiences more complicated than a few pieces on a board. On the other hand, chess could hone a person’s strategic mind, similar to students learning math to hone logic skills despite not using most lessons.
This article will discuss the latest Elon Musk Chess opinions. Later, I will share rebuttals from Chess experts and explain the board game’s popularity today.
Why is Chess too simple for Elon Musk?
Chess is a simple game. Understandable when all we had to play with were squirrels 🐿 and rocks🪨, but now we have computers 💻.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2022
Elon Musk shared two posts about the Game of Kings in 2022. The first one claimed, “Chess is a simple game. Understandable when all we had to play with were squirrels and rocks, but now we have computers.”
A few months later, he elaborated on his online take. On October 24, he commented on news regarding legendary Chess player Garry Kasparov. The Starlink CEO said, “While it’s true that Kasparov is almost as good at playing chess as my iPhone, he is otherwise an idiot.”
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Later, a comment from a suspended account seemingly asked Musk if he ever played Chess. Then, he replied, “I did as a child but found it to be too simple to be useful in real life.”
“[It only has] a mere 8 by 8 grid, no fog of war, no technology tree, no random map or spawn position, only 2 players, both sides exact same pieces, etc. Polytopia addresses these limitations.”
Chess vs. video games
Polytopia is a video game, so it’s no surprise that the Elon Musk Chess complaints were game mechanics absent in the board game. Let’s elaborate on the flaws he mentioned:
- “A mere 8 by 8 grid” – Elon Musk thinks having a square board with 64 tiles is too limiting.
- “No fog of war” – Real-time strategy (RTS) video games provide limited visibility of the game space. You can only see more of the map as you explore, but detection may cost you your troops. In contrast, you can clearly see your pieces and your opponent’s.
- “No technology tree” – The technology tree is another video game mechanic that involves unlocking abilities as you progress. It incentivizes completing in-game objectives and provides variety for players. On the other hand, chess seems static because it mostly involves two teams losing pieces.
- “Only two players” – The traditional Chess game only involves two players.
- “Both sides exact same pieces” – He might be expecting the same variety that RTS games offer. Most let you play different factions with units distinct from other teams. However, these pieces usually serve similar functions, maintaining fairness.
Why is Chess more popular than ever?
Chess master Hikaru Nakamura replied to Musk’s negative Chess message, saying, “I literally don’t care.” Believe it or not, there are many reasons Nakamura is right.
The US Chess Trust says Chess originated in India and dates back to 600 AD. People called it “The Game of Kings” because monarchs used to play it as a war game.
They controlled pieces like their military officers, allowing them to prepare for war thousands of years ago. Yet, it became more popular in 2023 due to the following reasons:
- Availability – You don’t need a physical board and pieces to play. Nowadays, you can play with anyone worldwide or train with a computer opponent online for free.
- Ease of play – The Game of Kings is easy to learn and hard to master. You can figure out how to move pieces in a few minutes. However, moving them to outmaneuver opponents takes years of practice.
- The Queen’s Gambit show – Netflix helped introduce people to Chess with its series starring Anna Taylor-Joy as US Chess Grandmaster Judit Polgar.
- The Pandemic – Many people tried new things because they got bored during the lockdowns. Fortunately, many tried Chess and fell in love.
- Great pastime – Contrary to popular belief, Chess isn’t exceedingly stressful. Focusing on strategies lets you forget other worries, and it could help you connect with new people.
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Perhaps the most interesting factor in Chess’s modern popularity is online streaming. Hikaru Nakamura is one of the most popular Twitch streamers, and he often only plays this board game!
The recent Elon Musk Chess opinions show he prefers video games. However, that does not reduce the board game’s modern relevance. Despite his negative comments, it is more popular than ever.
You can enjoy both games and their benefits. The traditional Game of Kings can hone your mind to move several factors according to a long-term strategy. That is why many modern leaders still play it.
On the other hand, video games let you play Chess and thousands of other immersive experiences. Even better, you can learn more about digital trends at Inquirer Tech.