The WinChain — a new ChessBase feature

by Arne Kaehler
3/17/2020 – You might not believe it but if you played any competitive chess in your life you probably would have good chances to win should you ever play against Carlsen, Caruana or another top player. Well, sort of! Don't believe us? Try the ChessBase WinChain! | Photo: Public Domain via Pixabay

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Six degrees of Magnus Carlsen

Have you ever heard of the theory that we are all connected to each other by genealogy?

In a TED talk A.J. Jacobs explained very well why the 7.5 billion people who currently live on earth could well be related to each other and that Kim Kardashian might be a distant relative of you (with just 20 or so links between you and her).

The idea of this connectivity goes back to the Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy and his six degrees of separation theory which Karinthy explained and elaborated in a couple of books. The theory basically points out that we all are only six or less social connections apart from each other. The famous American social psychologist Stanley Milgram took up this idea and tested it in his small-world experiment. On a side note, Milgram was responsible for a couple of ground-breaking experiments in his life, especially the well-known and controversial Milgram Shock Experiment.

But what does this have to do with chess?

Well, maybe you want to know how good your chances would be in a game against Magnus Carlsen. Probably you did not (yet) play against him but maybe you played (and won) against someone who played (and won) against someone who played (and won) against Carlsen. With this WinChain with three links you could claim good chances for a win against Carlsen – or other top players of your choice.

But jokes aside — is this WinChain actually an indicator of your playing strength?

Photo: Magnus Carlsen by Lennard OotesLook at it from this perspective: the fewer links you need in your WinChain to defeat an opponent of your choice, the stronger you possibly are. Here's a challenge: if you use the WinChain to check your chances against Carlsen does your WinChain have four or fewer links?

WinChain vs Magnus Carlsen

Of course, you can enter the name of any player you can think of, but for the WinChain to work the name must be written correctly and the player must have games in the ChessBase database. Try entering the names of players from your local club or from all around the world.

Challenge your friends to find out who has the lowest numbered chain against some random grandmasters.

Photo: Magnus Carlsen by Lennart Ootes

Here are ten famous chess personalities you might want to challenge:



Arne Kaehler, a creative thinker who is passionate about board games in general was born in Hamburg and learned how to play chess at a very young age. Through teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess content on YouTube, Arne was able to extend this passion onto others and has even made an online chess course for anyone who wants to learn how to play this game. Currently, Arne blogs for the English news page of ChessBase and focuses on creating promotional and entertaining articles.