Can Magnus Carlsen beat Deep Blue?

Magnus Carlsen is one of the strongest chess players in the history of chess. Does Magnus Carlsen has the ability to beat the supercomputer Deep Blue?

Magnus Carlsen has the ability to beat the Deep Blue supercomputer. Magnus Carlsen uses modern technology, databases and modern chess engines to analyse and prepare the game, which is far better than Deep Blue.

Deep Blue was the first computer to win a chess game and the first to win a match, against a reigning world champion, Garry Kasparov under regular time controls. Garry Kasparov in 1996 defeated deep blue two times out of four games. Deep Blue was further upgraded and in 1997 it defeated Garry Kasparov with a score of 3½ – 2½.

Rating Strength Of Magnus Carlsen and Deep Blue

Deep Blue is estimated to have a rating range of 2700-2750, whereas Magnus Carlsen has a rating of 2800+. By the rating comparison, Magnus Carlsen is much better than Deep Blue. Moreover, the new opening ideas and variations are well prepared by the World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Deep Blue is not much updated.

It was later found that Deep Blue have lots of inaccuracy in its playing style. During the game with Garry Kasparov, there were no such chess engines who are better than Deep Blue and hence couldn’t analyse much deep in the game.

Modern supercomputers are far ahead of Deep Blue and can easily win over Deep Blue. Modern supercomputers have a rating range of 3300+. It was said that 200 000 kN/s of Deep Blue are worse than 20 kN/s of Droidfish run on ARM CPU. This is mainly because of the difference in processing power of modern computers and chips.

Over the past 20 years, technology has changed drastically. With the emerging technologies, the playing style and playing strength of chess players are getting improved. It’s not only Magnus Carlsen who has an edge over the supercomputer Deep Blue, there are lot many super grandmasters who have a clear edge over Deep Blue.

Here are the major factors that make Carlsen Better than Deep Blue:

  • Magnus Carlsen is more accurate than Deep Blue
  • Carlsen has better positional knowledge
  • Carlsen has better end game skills
  • Carlsen can acquire an advantage in openings
  • Carlsen has the ability to calculate complex positions

Let’s check each one of them

Magnus Carlsen is more accurate than Deep Blue

Magnus Carlsen is one of the most accurate players in the history of chess. He is even too accurate in short format games like Rapid and Blitz. The theoretical knowledge Magnus Carlsen is having is far ahead of Deep Blue.

Deep Blue works with a set of predefined rules, even though it’s a supercomputer. Even during the initial round, it was found that Deep Blue had a bug in the code which resulted in a loop.

In Kasparov’s game, the main reason for the defeat is due to uncharacteristically bad play and play down the intellectual value of chess as a game that can be defeated by brute force.

Carlsen has better positional knowledge

Position Knowledge in chess is very much important while playing the game. Magnus Carlsen is well known for his deep positional knowledge in chess. This skill of Carlsen is much higher than what deep blue have.

Deep Blue obviously have the ability to analyse a lot many moves in minutes but won’t be much powerful in the position knowledge aspect. Deep Blue is weaker since it is not updated with the latest improvements that modern chess computers have implemented over time.

Whereas Magnus Carlsen will be much more aware of various chess trends. The emergence of Alpha-zero made a revolution in chess engines and the style of game. Alpha-zero had the ability to calculate millions of variations in no time.

In the game of Alpha-zero vs Stockfish, the world witnessed surprising piece sacrifices that no human players can imagine. So the technologies are far more advanced than were available 20 years ago.

Carlsen has better end game skills

Carlsen is considered to be the beast in endgames. He has the ability to convert the end games into victory. Playing endgame with Magnus Carlsen is still a nightmare for many chess Grandmasters. The way Carlsen calculates various lines is far better than what Deep Blue can calculate.

Deep Blue will be much more powerful to calculate straight variations, but in endgames, it has got too many variations to process with. Magnus Carlsen will be much tougher to beat in endgames even if he played against modern chess engines.

It was seen that in most of the top games, the players used to win at end games. One who plays endgames better is seen to be the winner of the game. Magnus Carlsen has the ability to convert the game to his side even though he is slightly passive in the initial endgame position.

If Magnus Carlsen is seen to have an advantage in endgame position, the majority of times he wins the game.

Carlsen can acquire an advantage in openings

Magnus Carlsen is highly capable of playing solid openings. The approach toward chess openings is changing year after year. With the advancement of new technology and supercomputers, chess openings are deeply analysed to give the best outcome.

From the day chess was invented to the current date, people have changed the approach toward various chess openings. Some of the most aggressive opening variations in the 1800s were seen to be not too effective after further analysis and with the emergence of new technology.

Deep Blue uses the knowledge and technology, that was available 20 years ago. Current chess professional players are much aware of the changes in the opening concepts and the various options to exploit mistakes played during the opening stage.

Think clearly makes us understand that Magnus Carlsen will be much better in opening play compared to Deep Blue, which used to play 20 years ago.

Carlsen has the ability to calculate complex positions

Calculating complex positions is one of the most challenging things faced by chess engines in the initial times. Still, there are lot many chess engines that are used to miscalculate complex positions.

Humans have the advantage over computers in the calculation of complex positions. So without any doubt, it will be clear that Magnus Carlsen will be the best in calculating complex positions in chess.

With the early technology and rules, chess engines have got lots of limits in processing and solving different positions. If you have checked old chess engines with the modern chess engines, you may notice differences in the suggested moves or the analysis made by them.

Deep Blue being used 20 years ago, will be much weak in complex positions since many of the modern chess engines still are not so great in complex chess positions. Magnus Carlsen can play with intuitions whereas Deep Blue can’t do the same.


Magnus Carlsen is much better than Deep Blue, even though it defeated former World Champion Garry Kasparov. Carlsen has the edge over Deep Blue in openings, endgames, position knowledge and in calculating complex positions.

About Harikrishnan A

I am an International Fide Rated player with 10+ years of experience. Played many International Chess Tournaments and Commonwealth games.
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