An appreciation of the internet and the creation of a new online language of chess

Granted, there were a lot of people who turned chess into a business.

But I personally did not know of any one that had parlayed chess into its own language, and in a business sense, make any of the goals I set. There are lesser guys who find a way to involve chess in business ventures, but they don’t do it in a way that implies there’s a profit stream in it for them.

The first I heard of a chess-related company operating its own language was when I was approached by a German financial player whose company put online chess programs in a language other than English.

This got me thinking about how to achieve my goal of turning chess into a language with which to talk to non-Chess player friends and family in more than 150 countries.

But I’ve had a real fascination with the very small, very special language called Chess. It is that discourse you hear, and it has been recorded by great defenders of the game, from former world champion Garry Kasparov on down. I’ve had the privilege to be the chief narrator in four Chess documentaries since 2015. And I remember those conversations where I would ask my guests about the presence of metaphors in their reviews of my movie.

There was Gilberto Sanchez who I’m particularly fond of for his writings on how chess really solves problems:

“The dynamics of a Chess game don’t merely trigger revolutions. They act as a natural process to decompose the older systems and to produce new ones. This is an inherent contradiction in the way we conduct chess. . . It’s not just that you have to calculate five moves ahead of time. It’s that you have to have a map to run backward.”

And there was James Toelkes who explained one chess method that became his key business tool:

“Much of the equation can be explained by the Law of Minimum, and indeed most of it. The Law of Minimum states that if both players (or a team of three players) want to advance each move of the game in their favor, they have to maintain their thinking momentum only to the bare minimum necessary to move ahead.”

But we live in a digital world and all three of these people explained the techniques they used for citing a big idea in a small way. And I’m curious to see where chess will go in the digital world.

I’ve been working for many years with a chess programmer named Gregory Morgan who I know personally and through the movies we have done together. He’s about as good as it gets, an extremely talented chess player who’s gone on to become one of the brightest chess minds in the world.

So I went to a meeting at his house in Los Angeles. I mentioned how I’d like to turn the language of chess into an integral part of the digital world. I said that like Persistence of Vision, this would be one of my long-term goals.

And that is when I discovered the secret to launching a successful digital language business. It’s one of the same things I’ve learned from chess: It’s a reference for everyone. A good Google search and a good YouTube review are tools, but it’s the reference itself that gives the cultural meaning, helps to give an enduring meaning to ideas and talk that new people can use.

And how did I make it happen? By assigning a role to myself and an objective, which was to tell a story with global appeal. And I did so with the full support of my co-producer and co-writer Michael Riedel who had a keen grasp of the story and was the right collaborator for the thing.

I have my own business, Magnus Carlsen & More, but this is all in service of a good story. And if someone else has an angle for an interesting story, well, I am always listening.

There are more reasons than I have room to share here. But the point is that I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, create an event for chess, that would bring new people in, could be used for promotional purposes, could allow me to play and watch chess, could help create a chess vocabulary.

The pieces to make all of that are available at And more — including the 3-year-old Scyglian 4 of Chess — are available in the app.

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