Garry Kasparov on the most likely next challenger to Magnus Carlsen

Garry Kasparov joined the podcast host Tyler Cowen for the latter’s program/podcast called Conversations with Tyler. In that episode, Kasparov discussed his views and opinions about AI (Artificial Intelligence), chess, and the future of creativity.

Towards the end of the interview, Cowen asked Kasparov who he thinks will be the most likely next challenger to the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen.

Kasparov ranked them in the following order:

  1. Wesley So
  2. Fabiano Caruana
  3. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Excerpt of that follows:

On Carlsen’s most formidable opponent

COWEN: One final question I forgot. Who is the most likely challenger to Magnus Carlsen this next time around?

KASPAROV: Considering the logic of the world championship history, Magnus should face opposition from a younger player, or the same age. So I would say there are three players that, I guess, could challenge him. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, I would rate him as least probable among the three. Second, Caruana, and the most likely, Wesley So.

The reason I put Wesley ahead of two others is that he has phenomenal concentration, absolutely phenomenal, and that’s very important. These days, concentration trumps everything. I would put it on top of other things, though he’s a very, very good player. I think that he might be the most dangerous for Magnus.

COWEN: Because he has nothing to lose, he feels?

KASPAROV: No, because his concentration could overboard Magnus. Magnus’s concentration was always his strength. He was always very concentrated. He could mobilize all his resources for the game. We saw Magnus could feel…despite again I guess So has to qualify for the Candidates; he still has to win it.

But against Wesley So, Magnus could have some serious problems in reading his opponent, and also messing up his energy. So could reflect. I think his match with Caruana could be also uncertain, and if Vachier-Lagrave makes some improvements, more psychological improvements, he could be also dangerous. He’s the same age; Caruana is younger. So is even younger than Caruana.

So I would bet on these three as one of the Magnus challengers, ranking them in the following order: So, Caruana, MVL.

Read the full transcript here or listen to the audio below:

It’s still a long way to go, but the road to the next World Championship match is getting exciting. What do you think?

Photo credit: Mercatus Center

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