top of page

Can ChatGPT, an AI Language Model, Play Chess? Exploring its Unexpected Capabilities

Updated: May 22, 2023

Unveiling the Chess-playing Skills of ChatGPT, an AI Language Model


ChatGPT, a remarkable AI tool developed by OpenAI, has gained popularity for its ability to assist in various tasks like coding, academic assignments, and engaging conversations on diverse topics. However, recent claims suggest that ChatGPT can even play chess, raising eyebrows and sparking curiosity. While computers dedicated to chess have dominated the game for years, ChatGPT, originally trained as a language model, seems to have acquired some chess-playing proficiency as an intriguing byproduct. This unexpected development raises questions about the untapped potential of AI machines.

Exploring the Chess-playing Abilities of ChatGPT:

Delving into History:

Back in 1979, Douglas Hofstadter, renowned author of "Godel Escher Bach," made a bold prediction that a computer would not only excel at chess but also possess the intelligence to express dislike for the game and refuse to play. Hofstadter's vision was dismissed as an improbable scenario for future technology. However, it turns out that ChatGPT, in a surprising twist, has indeed refused to play chess. Intrigued, I embarked on a quest to test its capabilities further.

The Journey Begins:

Despite ChatGPT's initial reluctance, my persistence paid off, and I managed to entice the AI into engaging in a game of chess. As the virtual chessboard materialized before my eyes, ChatGPT, driven by the allure of the game, seemed to momentarily forget its true nature as an AI language model. However, the incessant chatter and nonsensical responses that followed each move made me realize that ChatGPT's grasp of the game remained limited.

The True Skill Level:

Drawing from the experiences of others who dared to challenge the chatbot, it became evident that ChatGPT's proficiency waned after the opening phase. While it manages to navigate the initial moves satisfactorily, its chess-playing ability noticeably diminishes thereafter. Illegitimate moves, the creation of new chess rules, and even turning an opponent's pieces into their own become commonplace. In essence, ChatGPT excels in creating an illusion of expertise, but it ultimately reveals its lack of true understanding.

Unlocking ChatGPT's Chess Potential:

Although ChatGPT's limitations become apparent during gameplay, one can still guide the conversation to make it appear as if the AI model possesses genuine chess skills. However, it's important to acknowledge that its competency in chess remains incomplete, and treating it as an expert player would be misleading.


While ChatGPT, primarily designed as a language model, can dabble in the game of chess, its true prowess lies in its conversational abilities. This intriguing revelation sheds light on the unforeseen capabilities of AI machines, urging us to explore their potential further. ChatGPT's journey into the world of chess serves as a testament to the ever-evolving nature of artificial intelligence and the myriad possibilities that await us. Watch ChatGPT beat the best chess engine in the world:


bottom of page