Intuition plays a big part in making the right move: Kasparov

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Checkmate: Former world champion Garry Kasparov - Photo: RAMESH SHARMA

Grandmaster tells entrepreneurs not to go overboard on big data

He may have once been beaten by IBM’s Deep Blue but Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov believes that the brute force of calculation of a machine still cannot match man when it comes to decision-making. Intuition plays as big a part in decision making, says the man rated as the greatest chess player ever, and now a political dissenter who lives in exile away from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

In Delhi at the invitation of the Entrepreneurs Organisation to address and motivate a 600-strong gathering of businesspersons, Kasparov, who boasts an IQ of 190, shared some tips on decision-making, especially when under time pressure.

“Chess is all black and white. Life, politics and business are not like that,” said the man who refuses to become a pawn in Putin’s moves. But one dictum to follow from chess is to always look a few moves ahead and make a decision.

“But sometimes even in chess, it’s not wholly about chess moves — you have to consider psychological factors too. You need to combine apples and oranges and that’s where intuition comes in,” he said.

Frowning at the current practice of chasing Big Data, Kasparov said: “Big Data creates an illusion that you can find all the answers to your problems. But at one point you need to stop collecting data and start making decisions.” He stressed that it was important to control data and not get swamped by it.

Kasparov felt that today chess and business were becoming overly reliant on data and as a consequence were risk averse. “The way chess is played is often a reflection of society and current cultural trends. I see chess being played with machine knowledge in a risk-reducing way just the way people are conducting education and business,” he said.

Asked if he had a message for entrepreneurs in a country that had just launched ‘Start up India’, Kasparov said: “The world is full of opportunities.

“Today the sky is the limit. But to grasp these opportunities you should be able to take huge risks.”

Pointing to his Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (he prefers it over an iPhone because of its large screen), Kasparov said the device may be killing creativity as it reveals everything. “I try and use it only for phone calls and communication. When everything is influenced by computers, the ratio of risk and benefits is reduced,” he said, placing emphasis on thinking.

Dig at politicians

Scathing though he might have been about the influence of machines in our lives, Kasparov reserved his most cutting lines for politicians. He likened US republican presidential contender Donald Trump to cotton candy — at first sweet, with no nutritive value, and making you feel sick at the end.

As for Putin, Kasparov forecasts there would be no peaceful end to his rule. “In chess you make predictable moves and get unpredictable results. In Putin’s Russia it’s the exact opposite,” he said.

Published on February 19, 2016

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