Dr. Trefor Bazett’s newest release ‘Is Chess a Game of Chance?’ is a fantastic introduction to different philosophies of probability, whether you’re a maths professor who just wants a refresh or a budding ‘YouTube maths’ enthusiast looking to learn something new! He compares classical, frequencial and Bayesian probability, firstly within the application of a simple pack of playing cards to give fans a firm understanding, before moving onto the video’s main statement: is chess a game of chance?

This newest lesson is a real gift and while my mind has been busy since with other potential situations of Bayesian or frequential probability, it has also reminded me of the beautiful world of chess! Trefor talks about a player’s skill level: that when one player has a skill level far greater than their opponent his hypothesis of chance no longer holds. So fittingly, here are three chess players who, no matter your probabilistic philosophy, the result of a game against them is 100% certain…

  1. Maurice Ashley

While you may now know him as a commentator, Ashley also had an impressive playing career in the early 90s and 00s. Grand Master is a status most chess enthusiasts can only dream of, but for Maurice that became a reality when he convincingly defeated Adrian Negulescu and thus achieved all the requirements for that exclusive status. 

Born in Jamaica and relocating to America in Maurice’s childhood, the Ashley family have some very impressive accolades. His sister Alicia a former world boxing champion and brother Devon a former world kickboxing champion!

  1. Hou Yifan

Chinese grandmaster Hou Yifan boasts an impressive CV: four time Women’s World Chess Champion, the second-highest rated female player of all time, the third ever woman to be ranked in the top 100 chess players and the youngest ever female player to achieve grandmaster status (what were you doing at 14…?)

While she devotes much of her time to chess, Hou breaks the mould of most players with her admirable desire to pursue a separate career and studies alongside. She has an undergraduate degree in International Relations, a Masters in Public Policy from Oxford University, and in 2020, aged just 26, became the youngest ever professor at Shenzhen University. She’s an academic within their School of Physical Education where, unsurprisingly, chess is included in the sports training program!

  1. Magnus Carlsen

What better place to end than with current World Champion and Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen? He first earned his grandmaster status in 2004 aged just 14 and has since dominated the world rankings, also becoming world champion in speed chess! He is currently competing in 2021’s World Chess Championship, an exhibition event in Dubai where Carlsen is defending his title against Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi. 

Aside from chess, Magnus has dabbled in other business ventures and hobbies. He has experience in modelling as well as a love of football, especially fantasy football, where he impressively topped the Fantasy Premier League in December 2019, above almost seven million other participants.