You know someone’s the best chess player in the world — and possibly ever — when they don’t even both to defend their world title for the fifth time. Magnus Carlsen has long been a phenomenon on the 64 squares, and David Hill does a (grand)masterful job tying together the current moment, chess’ bizarre new cultural primacy, and some surprisingly accessible chess analysis.
Games like this showed how chess heretics were unshackling themselves from dogma—exposing their kings and pushing their h-pawns with abandon! While this required Carlsen and other older players to unlearn things ingrained in them for most of their lives, Firouzja and his generation were born into this world. They, and those who will come after them, won’t need to undo what teachers and books taught them. It’s all but certain that modern technology will have a profound impact on how the next elite chess players and world champions play the game.