Elisabeth Pähtz: Why chess players can't win against artificial intelligence

by Albert Silver
10/27/2021 – Top German player, IM Elisabeth Pähtz, was recently invited to speak at the Digital Demo Day in Germany, in English, where she was asked to discuss the application of quantum computing on chess. She was later interviewed about her life as a chess player with questions on how it compares to Queen's Gambit, but the key question she was asked was: can quantum computing solve chess?

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DIGITAL DEMO DAY is Germany’s leading startup expo & conference for industrial tech. National and international industrial tech & smart services start-ups put their products and latest technologies on show. This is all rounded off with a multifaceted conference program, interactive workshops, guided tours and plenty of matchmaking opportunities.

Speaker: Elisabeth Pähtz, chess player and teacher 

Moderator: Céline Flores Willers, founder and CEO of The People Branding Company, LinkedIn Top Voice 2018 + 2019, The People Branding Company GmbH

(Note: the English was slightly revised for fluency.)


Elisabeth Pähtz: Alan turing is the key person regarding the historical development of today's chess engine. In 1948 he developed the so-called paper machine. This was to be able to run a chess engine before the computers to execute it were actually developed. As such, in 1948 he wrote it in which he served as a human CPU.


Elizabeth then proceeds to illustrate how the piece count may serve as a starting point for evaluation, it is soon overridden by other factors as the goal of the game is not to win material, but to mate the king.

Elisabeth Pähtz: In 2016 AlphaGo was developed and this was the first neural network which was able to beat the Go world champion.


Unlike chess, she explains, where brute force programs had already achieved superiority.


After her core presentation, she was interviewed by the moderator, Céline Flores Willers:

Elisabeth Pähtz: And regarding the last question: can quantum computing solve chess? A couple of days ago I asked one of the most important chess programmers in ChessBase and he said.... 

About the author

Elisabeth Pähtz (or Paehtz – rhymes with "Rates") is a German WGM and men's IM, currently rated 2473, making her the strongest female player in the country. Elisabeth (or Elli, or Lizzy) was trained in chess from early childhood by her father, GM Thomas Pähtz.

At the age of nine years she won her first German Championship in the under-11 age group. In 1999 she became Germany's women's chess champion. In 2002 Pähtz became the Youth World Champion in the under-18 age group, and in 2004 the U20 Junior World Champion. As one of the greatest German new-generation talents Pähtz was the subject of a large media interest when growing up. Among other things it was reported that she was likely to fail high school mathematics. Her own explanation for this is that she is an intuitive player, not a universal genius. Elisabeth holds the FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster. She is an active streamer on YouTube.


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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