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16th World Computer Chess Championship In Progress

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the all-the-hipsters-are-there dept.

Classic Games (Games) 183

vmartell writes "The 16th World Computer Chess Championship is now in progress in Beijing, as part of the Computer Games Championship. Currently in the lead are Rybka 3.0, recognized as the world's strongest chess engine and Hiarcs, another commercial engine. Another curiosity is a Java ME based engine running on a Nokia phone, which is currently being trounced by the other engines. A very interesting sideline: before the computer tournament, a Women's Grandmaster played two games against Rybka. The result? Rybka won both games!"

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Completely off-topic (1, Offtopic)

mewsenews (251487) | about 6 years ago | (#25242705)

Dear Slashdot Admin,

What did you just do to tags? I previously ignored them, and now I am ignoring them at two or three times the size they were a few hours ago.

To add insult to injury, I just disabled "display tags" in my user preferences and they haven't gone away! What the hell?!

-Dave

Re:Completely off-topic (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25242751)

http://www.quantumg.net/slashdot-lameness.png [quantumg.net]

They need to test their shit before pushing it to the live website too.

Re:Completely off-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25242841)

Same text smashing effect here too

Re:Completely off-topic (0)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25242909)

Do you also notice that the comment count for stories is broken on the front page?

This story, for example, apparently has zero comments.

Re:Completely off-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25243273)

Don't worry about that. kdawson does the counting.

Re:Completely off-topic (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25243321)

The top two stories are cycling too.

Re:Completely off-topic (2, Informative)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25243377)

This story, for example, apparently has zero comments.

Here I was thinking I could get a Turk [imdb.com] related first post :( At least Hiarcs almost rhymes with Turk. I didn't actually realise that the name was a reference to this [wikipedia.org] - should have known what with the rest of the series being full of references.

Is anyone really surprised that a computer beat a human grandmaster twice in a row? As computers get more powerful, it is inevitable that they will completely outclass humans in games with perfect knowledge. There were times when Kasparov fooled Deep Blue's algorithms a couple of times (presumably giving it a piece or two in return for a square with significant strategic advantage), but they just trained it so that it wouldn't fall for those tricks again. I honestly wouldn't be surprisd if a grandmaster never won a tournament game against a chess supercomputer ever again.

Re:Completely off-topic (0)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25243583)

When the same program that can play chess really well can do *anything else* really well, I'll give a shit. Right now people are just writing programs that can play chess.. fucking yawn. That's not a chess competition, that's a programming competition, and that's just great.. at least it's not some stupid math competition disguised as a programming competition (as the ACM programming competition is every fucking year). But the idea is that all this chess shit is supposed to tell us something about intelligence and so far all it's said is that you don't need a whole lot of intelligence to play chess.

Re:Completely off-topic (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25243771)

Yeah. I enjoy playing chess, but Chess AI is only useful in a very limited domain, and eventually it won't really be necessary once computers can just brute force every move. At least it could still be useful in the meantime for developing better tree search techniques?

As far as intelligence is concerned, playing board games doesn't really do much. Games which map out onto the real world like FPSes and driving games stand a better chance of developing AI techniques that are going to be used to make properly intelligent* or at least useful robots.

*for certain definitions of 'intelligent'

Re:Completely off-topic (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25244825)

http://www.opencog.org/wiki/OpenCogPrime:EssentialSynergies [opencog.org]

That's pruning.. To take it out of massive AI geek speak:

    "I need to figure out a way to open this bottle. Out of all the knowledge I have about the world, what should I consider? Should I consider things I know about flowers? Well no. Duh. Should I consider things I know about cats? Well no. Duh. Maybe, I should consider things about *bottles* and gee, I don't know, what else.. hmm.. how about the parts of the bottle, maybe a common part of a bottle that most bottles have: lids. Now, do I know anything about *opening*? Why yes, I do.. I should probably look at all the ways I know to open something and see if any of the things I've opened in the past are like bottles. Maybe I should try to determine what *type* of lid this bottle has on it."

Chess tells you have to conduct a search in a space.. when the space is really really large you need to prune, so how do you do that? By more searching? No.. you do it by looking at what is associated with the objects in your current estimation of the world state and what they imply. You try to infer what motives or other wise *causes* there are for the current state of the world and you use this inferred information to prune. Is there a chess program in existence that does this? No.. not at all. If you read a chess book now and then you'll see all these *concepts* of chess play. All these little tactics like pinning and forks and discovery and pawn development, etc, etc. Where's all the *reasoning* about these concepts in chess programs? Oh, that stuff, that's all in the hard coded board evaluation function.. that's a *given*. This is why chess programs will assign +5 to a board configuration where they gain a pawn, even if winning a pawn really doesn't mean shit right now because you're about to take their queen. If the pruning causes the search not to find the board position where the queen is being threatened, that pawn capturing move is the shit and that's what the next move will be. This is clearly *retarded*. It's nothing like intelligence. People don't randomly consider "what will happen next if I make this move".. they build theories about the other player's strategy and they plan how to foil that strategy whilst developing their own strategy and they make moves that will cause the other player to think they have a strategy that is different to their actual strategy. They set up traps based on their *theory of mind* of the other player and work the other player to get them into the trap. This is why all the AI masters of old thought that chess would be an interesting problem because they imagined that they'd actually get to code up some of this stuff.. instead we got move-space search algorithms with static board evaluation pruning. Yawn.

Not that figuring out that you can represent the position of all the pawns on the board in a single machine word and using bitwise operations you can very quickly calculate the effect of a non-taking non-double move in a single instruction isn't *fun*. Optimizing code is great fun. It's awesome that there's still people in the world who value this stuff. It's just not intelligence.

Re:Completely off-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244159)

Someone has different hobbies than me and makes no attempt to make me take any part, but I'll still take offense! WAAAAAAAH! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!!

Re:Completely off-topic (1)

ConanG (699649) | about 6 years ago | (#25243825)

As an aside, the tag smash looks different in every browser I've loaded up. Opera, Firefox, and Chrome.

Chrome looks the best. Firefox the worst.

The human aspect (3, Interesting)

SKPhoton (683703) | about 6 years ago | (#25242709)

How much of the "skill" in computerized chess comes from the programmers and how much comes from the raw cpu horsepower available? TFA was quoting 40-core boxes competing with Nokia cell phones.

Re:The human aspect (3, Insightful)

Onaga (1369777) | about 6 years ago | (#25242727)

When you realize the search space involved, and computer chess does break down to a search problem, then even small algorithm tweaks can have a large effect. A naive algorithm on a 40-core box will lose to better algorithm on a PDA. So in other words, it's not the the number of cycles you have, but how you use them.

The human aspect... (2, Funny)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 6 years ago | (#25242833)

"So in other words, it's not the the number of cycles you have, but how you use them."

That's what she said.

Re:The human aspect... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25243243)

Yes but she only said that to appease your ego and to make you feel more manly.

Re:The human aspect (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25243415)

it's not the the number of cycles you have, but how you use them.

True to an extent, but using the same algorithm on each machine in a timed game would result in the 40-core box trouncing the PDA - especially in the mid-game where there are a crazy amount of possible paths.

Deep Blue had a database of endgames to use (and possibly starting techniques, been a while since I read about it) - a mobile could use the same technique to do well near the end without doing much calculation, though it's not exactly a very 'interesting' approach from an AI point of view. And it probably won't even survive until an endgame scenario if it's anything as bad as I am compared to a decent strength computer chess opponent.

Re:The human aspect (1)

gaspyy (514539) | about 6 years ago | (#25244697)

A good algorithm is important, obviously, but ultimately chess is done by brute force.

I wrote a chess game [flashchess3.com] myself in flash (AS3) and it's no picnic.

The language itself is at least 10 times slower than C. Even with optimizations is about half the speed of Java. Then the execution time is limited to 15 seconds. Also, transposition tables, opening and closing databases are just huge and no one would tolerate a browser game to allocate 200Mb of RAM for internal caching.

I assume the situation is about the same for small devices, where computing power and memory are scarce resource.

Re:The human aspect (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 years ago | (#25245041)

Flash is far slower than Java and C.

Hopefully the new technologies that Adobe is adding with help though. The JIT-based VM should help a lot.

Adobe is turning Flash into something similar to Java but with better tools for design.

Re:The human aspect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244505)

How much of the "skill" in computerized chess comes from the programmers and how much comes from the raw cpu horsepower available?

None of the skill in making the moves comes from the programmers.

The computer programs play far better chess than the programmers can.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_chess

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-computer_chess_matches

"After convincing victories in two matches in 2005 and 2006, it appears that chess programs can now defeat even the strongest chess players."

Re:The human aspect (3, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | about 6 years ago | (#25244663)

With something like Deep Blue, most of the skill did come from the programmers, it's true. Most of Deep Blue's "intelligence" came from brute-forcing its way through each move. However, since it would take billions of years to work that out, they made sure to shrink the search space; they "taught" Deep Blue about the most common Grand-Master level opening moves, the most desirable end games, and how to recognize unfavorable situations without having to expand the entire tree.

What they effectively taught (or began to teach) Deep Blue was rudimentary pattern recognition-- knowing how a board is going to turn out without having to figure it out on the fly. And really, that's the more interesting bit, because that is exactly what human players do.

When a Grand Master plays a game, there are certainly situations where they are working out a game tree that is a few layers deep. But the limitations of the human brain simply won't allow him to work out an entire tree, or even every move in one layer. It's beyond human wetwear. But what isn't is pattern recognition. The Grand Master has spent hundreds of days pre-processing the information; he's played thousands of games, read books on theory, watched other matches, and so forth. He already knows, for example, leaving a King exposed is going to turn out bad. He can see that positions of his pieces around an opponent's weakness leave for only a small subset of desirable moves (even though there are thousands of possible moves). He can recognize when a subset of moves would be very bad for him and instantly eliminate them without expanding the tree to his inevitable defeat. This instant recognition leaves free cycles for evaluating on-the-fly decisions about the current situation.

A human Grand Master's neural net has been trained to recognize good and bad patters just as surely as anyone else has been trained to recognize hot pan = pain without having to stop and think about it, and that a can of soup needs to be open to be delicious without having to mentally invent the can opener.

The other advantage a human player has over a machine is that our hardware is much, much better. We've got more gigahertz all up ins ours-- and we have the advantage of an amazingly well trained and time-tested neural net built in.

But with enough advancement in computing-- from massively complex neural nets, to distributed computing, to quantum computing, and even better manufacturing techniques to ram more Giga-giga-giga hertz onto a slab of silicone, it's only a matter of time until computers have equal or superior hardware.

From there, it's just a matter of designing a computer that can learn, and giving it the online records of every regulation chess match ever played, and letting it figure out how to be the Grandest Master. Once its learning is in place, it's trivial to copy and redistribute that knowledge.

As for a computer starting with a blank slate and learning the concepts of game, board, opponent, horse, touch, feel, love-- well, that's just an abstraction of the same problem. It's a longer way off, but if a perfect, learning Chess computer is inevitable, why not that?

BTW, highly recommended reading on this topic, "The Age of Spiritual Machines" by Ray Kurzweil. It also has a bibliography of a few hundred other excellent follow-ups.

Re:The human aspect (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25245079)

From there, it's just a matter of designing a computer that can learn, and giving it the online records of every regulation chess match ever played, and letting it figure out how to be the Grandest Master. Once its learning is in place, it's trivial to copy and redistribute that knowledge.

I think you're romanticising it somewhat. You're mostly right about the way humans play, though grand masters don't just play on instinct, they will also perform small mental simulations for several moves ahead.

The day will come where computers can just have a database of every single possble chess move in any game. Then it will no longer be a 'game' where computers are concerned, it will just be a matter of who plays first (unless of course the winning play comes down to starting second - I seem to do better when I play black myself, as I prefer to defend than to attack). Computers currently still trim down seemingly fruitless path choices sure, but if it they had as good algorithms as you think, they wouldn't need to be run on a supercomputer. Computer hardware is are far better than our own brains for games like chess. Any game with 'complete information' will eventually be able to be bruteforced by any computer, no smart algorithms required.

What is interesting for proper AI is games which involve 'incomplete information' ie an element of chance or some other unknown, like certain variations of poker or any game involving dice. That is a completely different category to games like chess and checkers where you know exactly what options your opponent has. Then the computer really has to be either taught good styles of play, or learn for itself as you suggest. Chess computers that can 'learn' will ultimately be completely unecessary when the game can be easily bruteforced on a home computer, or there is an online database somewhere that can tell you the exact move to play to maximise your chances of winning. When it comes to certain variations of poker against good human players, always playing the mathematical odds is not going to win the game.

So a chess board is nothing like an abstraction of the same problem as a computer that can learn what 'love' is. Consider that most humans (or perhaps no human) cannot define accurately, that makes it basically impossible for a computer to learn what it is. It is a function of inbuilt genetics, emotions, hormones, whatever. You could even say it has spiritual elements. A computer has none of those things, they would all have to be simulated to some extent, rather than learned.

You are right that the brain is an amazing computer, but it is good at different things from a Von Neumann modelled computer. We can't perform billions of mathematical operations a second like a supercomputer can. Then again, for the things that we do, we don't need to. We can often just 'tell' what is going to happen in certain situations because we have learned as you point out - we can see that something is likely to topple over and reach out to stop it. For a computer to do all these things would require a lot of work, especially if you want it to 'learn' to do them rather than just hardcoding in ways to interpret visual stimuli and build a 3D physics model of what is being seen, then simulate what is going to happen in the next few seconds, and then let it know how to move the hand, then how to move it with accurate 'hand to eye' co-ordination and so on. Anyway, sorry I'll stop rambling, but I think people greatly underestimate the difficulties involved with AI, and romanticize the idea of a computer learning to be 'human'. Often we don't want a computer to be human - we want it to be better than human, because humans make mistakes. A chess computer that makes mistakes is no good to anyone (unless they are just looking for an ego boost).

Fish (2, Funny)

setagllib (753300) | about 6 years ago | (#25242717)

Transliterated back into Russian, Rybka means Fish. Maybe I don't know the joke, but I've never known fish to be particularly strong chess players.

"Little Fish" - in Czech, not Russian (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#25242771)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rybka [wikipedia.org]

The page also goes into detail on the name...

Russian too (1)

setagllib (753300) | about 6 years ago | (#25242797)

It's the same in Russian. I know it from Russian so I posted about the Russian.

Re:Russian too (1)

Plammox (717738) | about 6 years ago | (#25243063)

And in Polish. Can we settle on that it seems to be a Slavonic word, mmmm'kay?

Re:Russian too (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 6 years ago | (#25244889)

At least the Hungarian word for fish HAL is also the name of Kubric's Hal 9000 in 2001 Space Odyssey.
I wonder if it was a good chess player! :)

Re:Fish (2, Interesting)

tangent3 (449222) | about 6 years ago | (#25242773)

Maybe it's a reference to Bobby Fischer..

Women's grandmaster? (5, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | about 6 years ago | (#25242719)

Does chess really need to separate the rankings between male and female champions? Isn't this a sport that gender really doesn't factor in?

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25242733)

The women need it.. otherwise they wouldn't get a look in.

Of course, someone will get offended at this statement and say that women are just as good as men at chess.. I don't know how they'll explain the lack of ranking of women but, hey, it's probably some giant male conspiracy right? Women are just as good as men at chess but, for some reason, men conspire to prevent them from getting high ranks.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 6 years ago | (#25242823)

You're a bit mistaken.

The intellectual abilities of both men and women are essentially equal. The key differentiation between the cognitive abilities of men and women is that men are able to confront a problem by breaking things down into smaller parts and focus on solving those to form a complete solution while the minds of women take problems holistically and solve based on tradeoffs between different sections of a problem area.

This would seem to benefit women chess players, but the fact is that chess is a game with many intricacies and the ability to analyze at the micro level (as in visualizing x number of steps ahead) is a critical skill. To take the game holistically works fine at the lower levels (and may be a superior form of cognition for those levels) because a full understanding of the game as an exhibition of ebb and flow gives various insights that a purely logical player would not apprehend immediately. What is clear, though, is that male chess grand champions are able to apprehend the holistic game while female chess grand champions are not able to make the jump to pure logic and focus.

This is the unfortunate truth about the split in chess rankings. It is also why men won't stop for directions when lost and women are able to care for families so well.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25243101)

You're a bit mistaken.

How? Nothing you said contradicted what I said.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244187)

How? Nothing you said contradicted what I said.

You: It's a conspiracy, right? Women are just as good as men, men conspire.
Him: No, male brains are just better at chess.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25245021)

Oh.. I forgot that there were idiots on this site who can't recognize sarcasm when they read it. Go back up, read my post again and pull your head out of your big fat ass.

And in case you STILL can't work it out, I was trying to say that women are no stinkin' good at chess because MEN ARE DIFFERENT FROM WOMEN, which is why I'm posting this as AC, even though it's blatantly obvious to anyone who doesn't need sarcasm explained to them who I am, which is why I said that your friend didn't say anything to contradict me. I guess I should have assumed he didn't understand sarcasm either.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (2, Interesting)

SL Baur (19540) | about 6 years ago | (#25243295)

It is also why men won't stop for directions when lost and women are able to care for families so well.

Bwahaha. Good one. Apt name for you too.

Sweeping generalizations are always wrong.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244841)

Sweeping generalizations are always wrong.

That's a sweeping generalization. ... /head asplode

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244973)

Sweeping generalizations are always wrong.

Irony

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25245005)

Sweeping generalizations are always wrong

Me thinks it doesn't mean what you think it means.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about 6 years ago | (#25244999)


The key differentiation between the cognitive abilities of men and women is that men are able to confront a problem by breaking things down into smaller parts and focus on solving those to form a complete solution while the minds of women take problems holistically and solve based on tradeoffs between different sections of a problem area.

That's a nice explanation, but it sure sounds to me like a lot of BS. Where has anyone found any solid, repeatable evidence for this? I think I'll go with the guy who explained that chess at a very high level takes single-minded concentration, and women are just less willing to do this. That at least jives with my own observations between the differences between men and women.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (4, Insightful)

Wolfier (94144) | about 6 years ago | (#25245019)

You're also slightly mathematically mistaken because intellectual abilities between two populations are not directly comparable without any summary statistics.

If you take the "average" or "median" of intellectual abilities of all men, and the average of intellectual abilities of all women, they're essentially equal.

However, a greater "variance" among men's intelligence (or ability by any measurement, for that matter), means that there are more men at both ends of the spectrum.

All other points regarding compartmentalizing, tradeoffs, micro level, asking for directions, caring for families, etc. are observations totally irrelevant to chess at best, folklores or stereotypes at worst.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1, Funny)

jadin (65295) | about 6 years ago | (#25242741)

Maybe it's to give us guys a chance?

Re:Women's grandmaster? (2, Informative)

overzero (1358049) | about 6 years ago | (#25243387)

http://ratings.fide.com/top.phtml?list=men [fide.com]

That link says "men" in it, but in fact includes women as well... or rather one woman, Judit Polgar, at #27. The 2nd ranked woman doesn't make the top 100 (ELO: 2618).

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

jadin (65295) | about 6 years ago | (#25244041)

Apparently I'm not funny or you're humor impaired (moderators also). Probably safe to assume the prior.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (5, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | about 6 years ago | (#25242831)

This is a controversial topic - while men clearly excel in physical sports, the mean intelligence of men and women are approximately the same. Often, apparent differences in intelligence (e.g. income) have societal explanations.

On the other hand, some experiments (http://www.polymath-systems.com/intel/essayrev/sexdiff.html) indicate that the variance in intelligence is greater in men: there are more very smart men than women, but also more very stupid men. Chess, a game that very smart people excel at, tends to be dominated by men. It's not that gender factors into the game per se, but the same could be said for football.

That said, the article summary "a Women's Grandmaster played two games against Rybka; the result? Rybka won both games!" is probably a troll because Rybka could beat any human; but I still chuckled...

Re:Women's grandmaster? (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25243445)

I have never considered income to be directly proportional to intelligence. It's kind of a bell curve. The smartest people are in the middle and probably get paid about right - management and unskilled labourers tend to get paid amounts quite disproportionate to the amount of work they do or how intelligent they are. Chess skill isn't directly related to intelligence (as in generally accepted IQ 'intelligence' - there are plenty of different types of intelligence recognised in Psychology) anyway - a highly intelligent man who hasn't ever played chess before would probably lose to a girl of average intelligence, as long as the child has a lot of experience.

the article summary "a Women's Grandmaster played two games against Rybka; the result? Rybka won both games!" is probably a troll because Rybka could beat any human

Exactly.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244115)

> I have never considered income to be directly proportional to intelligence.

Nobody said it was, which is lucky for you or you'd have to pay the boss to go to work.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25244443)

Nobody said it was

Often, apparent differences in intelligence (e.g. income)

Way to self-pwn yourself, dumbass.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

homer_s (799572) | about 6 years ago | (#25245155)

management and unskilled labourers tend to get paid amounts quite disproportionate to the amount of work they do or how intelligent they are

How would you figure out what the correct pay would/should be?

Re:Women's grandmaster? (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#25242925)

The sad reality is, yes the women certainly can't compete with the men in top level world chess. I'm not sure who it's sad for though - the men or the women. You see to be great at chess you have to be obsessive about it. The more situations you've seen, the greater your ability to avoid lines of play that look good on instinct but leave you in a hole. So world champion chess players tend to be even more obsessive and single minded (to the exclusion of almost everything else including social interaction) than other world champions. People who get that good at chess don't do much else. It's like OCD on OCD. They study study study and study some more. In a lot of ways it's self destructive. Most women just won't do that to themselves. I believe this is the real reason women aren't as good in chess. They're not stupider than men, they're actually smarter.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25243127)

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25243291)

Those are the most photogenic. That doesn't even come close to addressing the issue in the topic at this point. Unless, of course, you're not the *average* chess player and want to look at men. If they were targeting the most skillful or the most populous they'd have posted the opposite gender. They did.

This isn't saying that women aren't playing chess. This isn't saying that some female players aren't very skilled at the game. It isn't saying that they can't be as skilled at the game as men. This is saying that they're targeting a group that is predominately male. We can go into biological or sociological differences but that's not the point. The general facts, as I understand them, put women behind men in both percentage and quality in the field of chess.

The link you post is just some cute ladies who also play chess. Using that to cite something as an example as to why there's something other than cute chicks who play chess is a logical fallacy.

In other words; Logic, you're doing it wrong.

(However it was nice to check 'em out.)

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

pbhj (607776) | about 6 years ago | (#25243911)

They're not stupider than men, they're actually smarter.

Ha-ha ha, most intelligent sounding troll ever. I particularly like the psyche-out of your sig.

So basically what you're saying is women are better at everything than men they just don't want to embarrass us by trying. You must be right ... Also, whilst women struggle hard to achieve what they get, men just have OCD and anything they achieve is just a by-product. Doesn't sound at all trollish to me.</sarcasm>

My view: if you're looking at IQ, or what the general populace calls intelligence, then studies show women and men average out about the same but that there's a greater spread for men. But, it doesn't matter - we don't need to know.

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 6 years ago | (#25244735)

I have heard that chess ability is only a so-so indicator of intelligence, and that the best indicators are mathematical intuition and the ability to learn foreign languages. Don't recall the source, though...

Re:Women's grandmaster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244665)

You see to be great at chess you have to be obsessive about it. The more situations you've seen, the greater your ability to avoid lines of play that look good on instinct but leave you in a hole. So world champion chess players tend to be even more obsessive and single minded (to the exclusion of almost everything else including social interaction) than other world champions.

Original research? Kasparov is a political activist for example. This comment sounds like the fable "the fox and the grapes".

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

sheepweevil (1036936) | about 6 years ago | (#25245023)

This is simply untrue - GM Judit Polgar (FIDE 2711) is ranked 27th in the world in FIDE's latest rankings list [gmchess.com] . I would recommend Chess Bitch [amazon.com] for more information about women in chess. Also, regarding the grandmaster losing to Rybka: human grandmasters have lost to computers in tournament time controls for many years now. However, humans still dominate at correspondence chess: for example, GM Arno Nickel won a match against Hydra in 2005. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Women's grandmaster? (1)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | about 6 years ago | (#25244593)

Geee... they want everything equal when it suits them, but when the bill comes, where are they??

Boring (3, Interesting)

foo fighter (151863) | about 6 years ago | (#25242747)

Chess has become boring, like checkers or backgammon.

To even competitively play at the local club level you really need a ridiculously deep memorization of openings and endings. At the grandmaster level, they've basically memorized the tables used by computers.

Average games of chess only last around 60 moves. The depth of opening and closing books increasingly has reduced the middle game of actually interesting play. If it's not down to only 1-5 moves, it will be soon.

The game will be dead--or at least not interesting enough to be seriously played--long before it is solved.

P.S. You arrogant fans of Go can frak yourselves. Where do you think the scientists will go once they're done with chess. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Re:Boring (0)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25242769)

Reminds me of how much more fun Blackjack was before I learnt basic strategy.

Re:Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25243153)

I used to love English too, before I learnt the rules.

Re:Boring (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25243185)

I'm guessing that's a snide remark on my spelling..

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/learnt [wiktionary.org]

is how the English spell it.. ya know, the namesake of the language?

It's also how we spell it here in Australia.

Re:Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25243193)

My mistake, "learnt" is actually a word. Sorry.

Boring Verbs. (2, Informative)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 6 years ago | (#25242801)

"P.S. You arrogant fans of Go can frak yourselves. Where do you think the scientists will go once they're done with chess. Enjoy it while it lasts."

Considering Go's harder. I'd say they're welcome to try.

Re:Boring Verbs. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#25242849)

"Considering Go's harder...."

That's exactly what they used to say about chess vs. checkers/reversi - chess was simply too big/hard for a mere computer to solve.

Computer chess (and even non-computer chess if you get serious about it) is now just an academic exercise.

Playing chess against even a modest PC is no fun any more. Anybody less than a grand master will be destroyed. For grand masters it's mostly just study and memorization of previous games. Very few moves in a game are actually "creative".

Re:Boring Verbs. (1)

R15I23D05D14Y (1127061) | about 6 years ago | (#25243047)

You can play against a modest PC and win - there isn't a use in shipping a game that you can't win at. The problem that I found in the chess game that shipped with Ubuntu was its habit of thrashing me, up until the point where it just ... lost. (I played on easy, I admit. But it was _really_ thrashing me, up until the point where it went crazy)

Re:Boring Verbs. (2, Interesting)

HappyEngineer (888000) | about 6 years ago | (#25243473)

Playing chess against even a modest PC is no fun any more. Anybody less than a grand master will be destroyed.

Chessmaster lets you select the strength of the player that you are playing against. Other chess games probably have the same capability.

Yes, chess is very boring when it's impossible to win. But when I play Chessmaster I always select an opponent who is just slightly better than me. I often lose but I feel really good when I win.

Regarding Go, some people just don't like the game. I sort of enjoy it, but I like Chess a lot more.

Re:Boring Verbs. (1)

wisty (1335733) | about 6 years ago | (#25244025)

This is why Bobby Fisher invented a chess game where the pieces are randomized. It doesn't stop massive computers from brute forcing the game (in theory), but it does make it better for human players who want the challenge to be the game, not the preparation.

Re:Boring Verbs. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244123)

We have a number of algorithmic approaches to attack games. Many of them can't work in reasonable time on games with large search space. This is not simply a matter of hardware. There are more possible games of Go (on a standard 19x19 board, rather than the beginners 9x9 board that recent computers have done well on) then there are atoms in the universe. You couldn't even build a memory to store the possibilities. An exhastive search of connect 4 is possible, an exhastive search of Go is simply not (without a breakthrough in computing similar to the magnitude of the invention of the computer).

Other techniques show promise and may offer paths to go down, so I'm not saying a good computer standard go player will never happen, but the game theory complexity of Go is an entirely different magnitude to the game theory complexity of Chess, and the vague notion so many people have that if you throw enough hardware and research at a computing problem you will solve it is simply naive.

Re:Boring Verbs. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244449)

> There are more possible games of Go (on a
> standard 19x19 board, rather than the beginners
> 9x9 board that recent computers have done well
> on)then there are atoms in the universe. You
> couldn't even build a memory to store the
> possibilities

The same is true for chess. Very big numbers involved in both games.

But we don't need to "solve" both games to completely crush any human being alive 100% of the time, this will be achieved shortly for both games.

Regardless of that, chess is still fun for me, I have no plans to compete against the last generation of computers/algorithms, just want a good sparring, slightly above my level (most chess programs allow you to tune the strength of play) so I can practice and enjoy when a fellow human is not around.

- Regards

Re:Boring Verbs. (2, Interesting)

linca (314351) | about 6 years ago | (#25242895)

Computer go players are now one Dan, and rising... Already better than most amateurs ; pros can't beat Mogo with 9 stones anymore.

Re:Boring Verbs. (4, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | about 6 years ago | (#25244163)

Computer go players are now one Dan, and rising

Give me an example of one go bot that has been able to maintain 1 dan over a longer period of time on a go server. Crazystone is the best I have seen, and while it did jump into 1d for a short time, it quickly went back to 1k again where it has been steadily for quite a while.

Also, they don't seem to be improving that much right now. They did have a big breakthrough when Monte Carlo algorithms were introduced, and a little more with using improved processors power to maximize the monte carlo brute forcing. But the problems are now beginning to show, and that is that brute force is still brute force even if it is using a more appropriate version for go.

pros can't beat Mogo with 9 stones anymore.

The two rematches with 7 stones didn't go so well though. The pro beat MoGo in both. The game records were quite embarrasing including a total blunder from MoGos side.

On the other hand, crazystone won an 8 handicap game vs a pro.

Still, I don't find these games vs pros very interesting. Lots of even games vs amateurs is what should be used to judge strength. High handicap games simply don't scale linearly enough to give any good indication of rating, and are in general to variable in result (meaning you need more games to get an accurate result), because they rely on the mistake of the weaker player, more than the strength of the stronger player.

Re:Boring Verbs. (1)

evanbd (210358) | about 6 years ago | (#25244277)

AFAIK, none of the programs playing regularly on servers are using more than 8 cores (maybe 4). When playing the pro, Mogo was running on a substantial cluster, and it's well known that Mogo scales reasonably well on clusters. I think it's fair to say that the hardware and software config that Mogo ran in those games could maintain a 1d rating in even games against amateurs. Obviously that hasn't been proven, but I think that speaks more to budget than the strength of the software.

I don't think we've seen the end of the MC-derived improvements, btw. My limited following of the current state of computer Go suggests that the field is less stagnant now than it was shortly before MC appeared -- MC is still being tweaked, and people are exploring a variety of ways to incorporate more knowledge into MC. I'd bet heavily that there's a lot of room to improve the current software before another breakthrough on the scale of MC is needed.

Again, this is EXACTLY what they said about chess (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#25244963)

A couple of years ago the best chess computer was IBM's Deep Blue, a massive custom machine with terabytes of innards.

Now it's a standard desktop PC worth a couple of thousand dollars.

Brute force can compensate for lack of insight but insight advances steadily.

Re:Boring (3, Insightful)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | about 6 years ago | (#25242807)

Pretty much everything gets boring when over-analyzed, right? Besides maybe politics or the stock market. Because no individual will ever figure either of the two out.

Re:Boring (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | about 6 years ago | (#25242863)

I don't agree totally, I mean I have analyzed the hell out of the NES game Kung Fu, and it is still fun. same with Super Mario Bros. I figure I have both of those games solved, yet they are still fun.

I agree with the OP though, there is not the same fun for beginners that chess used to provide... now if you want to try to become a good player you start with some damn thick books and study your ass off. Several times in my life I have "decided" to try to get better at chess and it always ends in frustration at the endless tedium of memorizing the "proper" responses to your opponent's moves.

several times I have found that whatever computer/console chess game I have just purchased, is insanely hard to beat at even the lowest difficulty levels, unless you open with some historically significant pattern. Some people enjoy these types of challenges, I no longer have the patience.

Re:Boring (2, Interesting)

HappyEngineer (888000) | about 6 years ago | (#25243495)

The tutorials in Chessmaster aren't tedium. At least, I didn't think they were. They don't involve any sort of massive memorization.

Really, all you need to do to reach a basic competency (say 1000 FIDE) is to learn how to deploy your pieces, learn the basics about how to checkmate with various pieces, then just play lots of games against a computer opponent who is just slightly better than you.

I really like the Chessmaster opponents. You can select opponents based on their score and move up the ladder as you learn how to play.

You don't need to memorize 10 moves deep in order to enjoy the game.

Re:Boring (1)

pbhj (607776) | about 6 years ago | (#25243971)

Wouldn't it be awesome if someone could algorithmically win at the stock market .. the best part would be the end of the stock market as we know it.

Re:Boring (1)

pbhj (607776) | about 6 years ago | (#25243977)

Oops, my bad .. someone just did - it's called naked short-selling. You don't need any money or stock and you can win enough that you take down banks!

And yes, they had to change the stock market to avoid this method of winning.

Re:Boring (1)

macinit (1332645) | about 6 years ago | (#25243407)

The game of Go will last quite some time since it's been said there are more possible moves in a standard size game of go than there are atoms in the universe. I think it's quite safe from being old hate. It's the best strategy game ever invented, far better than chess.

Re:Boring (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | about 6 years ago | (#25243555)

http://www.research.ibm.com/deepblue/learn/html/e.8.2.shtml [ibm.com]

"They encountered a - problem - that could not be fully analyzed within the lifetime of the Universe. Though it involved only six operators, they became totally obsessed by it."

I think it is safe to say that there are many games that could be invented that has more possible moves then atoms in the universe. A simple application of maths to the problem would be all that is needed.

Given enough pieces, and enough possible combinations...

Chess960 (1)

ConanG (699649) | about 6 years ago | (#25243817)

Have you looked into Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess)? You basically randomize the back rank of pieces into one of 960 different configurations before starting. It makes opening books useless and the game becomes more about skill than memorization. Of course, you'll probably still get slaughtered by a GM, but that's more to do with skill than rote memorization.

Re:Boring (2, Informative)

7 digits (986730) | about 6 years ago | (#25243887)

Whatever. Let's reply to that obvious troll.

1) You need opening preparation to play. Well, that's a given, and it was already the case 20 years ago. Now, with computers, opening preparation is easier, so players are better prepared.

2) Grandmasters have not memorized ending tablebases, first because it is impossible, and second, because grandmasters are still much much better than computers in endgames. Endgame is not about memorisation, but about technique. And yes, you have to work that too.

3) Average chess games is 40 moves long, not 60

4) Computers make opening books deeper but also wider: lines that were considered unplayable are now playable. This adds diversity to the games.

5) Middlegame last anywhere from 0 to 20 moves. Not "1 to 5".

6) Capablanca already said that chess was so analysed that it was boring and draw in 1930. Guess what: he was wrong.

So, what is exactly your complain ? That you have to work a lot to play competitively at your local chess club ? Well, that is not because of computers, it is because the players there are better than you are.

And that is not due to computer play. It is due to the internet. Because on the chess servers, you have people playing chess as if it was WoW. So, the guy you face at that local chess club, maybe he plays 40 "3+0" games a day...

Re:Boring (4, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | about 6 years ago | (#25244021)

P.S. You arrogant fans of Go can frak yourselves. Where do you think the scientists will go once they're done with chess. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Go is considerably more difficult than chess because of how the game moves around the board. It isn't the branching factor per se, but the fact that weaknesses left behind sometimes won't get exploited until as far as 100 or even 200 moves later on. In the meantime, players will try to direct the game in such a way that they can exploit the opponent's weaknesses while protecting their own. Also, the other way around, make use of their strength while preventing the opponent from making use of his.

Without a higher level concept of the board, it is impossible for a computer to understand such ideas, and reading doesn't help because the depth is simply to deep. Monte Carlo bots try by playing out lots of complete game variations rapidly to get a somewhat understanding of the board, but in the end it fails because such playouts are overly simplistic.

This isn't to say that go computers won't beat us someday, but it will be tougher than chess. Also, one point you made stands out to me as arguing for go, even if computers become better.

To even competitively play at the local club level you really need a ridiculously deep memorization of openings and endings. At the grandmaster level, they've basically memorized the tables used by computers.

Due to how go works, memorization isn't nescessary to the same degree. Of course, having some common sequences memorized helps, but in general it is better to have a generic idea about different patterns as to understand the strategic and tactical implications of moves.

While there are established patterns (joseki) that are used in corners, players often deviate from them based on how the rest of the board looks. And when that happens, knowing the joseki is not very useful except to tell you that the player deviated from it. That is why there is a common saying "learn joseki, lose two stones: forget joseki, improve three stones".

Those confined to memorized patterns lose to those with more open minds. Still, studying some joseki is useful, because it helps to broaden you view on what good and bad patterns are.

Re:Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244077)

P.S. You arrogant fans of Go can frak yourselves. Where do you think the scientists will go once they're done with chess. Enjoy it while it lasts.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

P.S. You arrogant fans of human insight can go frak yourselves. Where do you think the scientists will go once they're done with games? Enjoy it while it lasts.

Re:Boring (2, Insightful)

MagdJTK (1275470) | about 6 years ago | (#25244201)

How does this shit get modded interesting?

Chess has become boring, like checkers or backgammon.

Then don't play it. I find it boring too, but I don't look down on people who enjoy it, just as I would hope that they wouldn't look down on me for my interests.

To even competitively play at the local club level you really need a ridiculously deep memorization of openings and endings. At the grandmaster level, they've basically memorized the tables used by computers.

Really? You mean people who put effort into learning the game are better at it?! How unfair!!!

PROTIP: You should play chess with people of similar abilities to you, not grandmasters.

Average games of chess only last around 60 moves. The depth of opening and closing books increasingly has reduced the middle game of actually interesting play. If it's not down to only 1-5 moves, it will be soon.

Just untrue. Opening books are getting bigger, but endtables can only just manage 6 pieces. It takes a lot more than five moves to get from the end of an opening to a position with only 6 men on the board.

The game will be dead--or at least not interesting enough to be seriously played--long before it is solved.

Bollocks. It might transform the way that it's played at the top level, but it will have little to no effect on two amateurs playing against each other.

P.S. You arrogant fans of Go can frak yourselves. Where do you think the scientists will go once they're done with chess. Enjoy it while it lasts.

And just in case people hadn't realised you were an arrogant wanker, you throw in an insult to another group of hobbyists! Way to go! It will be a long time before computers get good at Go and even when they do, it won't affect human players because of reasons I've given above.

Re:Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25244211)

Total nonsense.

You need a 'ridiculously deep memorization of openings and endings' to play at the club level? Then why do I succeed at beyond the club level by playing openings that I invented *on the spot*, or saw in 1 or 2 speed games randomly?

As for endings, quite a few masters don't even have enough knowledge to cover the book 'silman's complete endgame course from beginner to master'. It's not a very deep book and in fact most masters don't know quite a lot of the material.

An average game of chess is not 60 moves.

Saying that the middle game is only going to be 1-5 moves is also complete nonsense. Do you know how many billions of moves would have to be in an opening book for that to be true? Do you realize that any random position usually has several equally good moves available, and that total number of choices increases exponentially? Not to mention that new novelties are being played every day.

Yes, at the top level, there is a lot of opening memorization and preparation, but it's nowhere near what you are talking about, nor will it ever be.

The game is not going to die. There are just too many possible moves for that to happen.

"Arrogant" Go Players? (2, Interesting)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | about 6 years ago | (#25244469)

After having dealt the last seven years [wikipedia.org] with the anime-obsessed crowd invading Go, and (at least in my limited experience) being nothing but whiny about how much there is to learn, I'd say that engineers [wikipedia.org] , chess players [wikipedia.org] , and heads of state [wikipedia.org] (though to be fair, in this case, he was merely Prime Minister and was assassinated trying to avoid the militarization of Japan pre-WWII) would be welcome back into the fold.

On that note, I wouldn't say I'm an arrogant Go player. I've played chess at the local club level for awhile, but then I realized that I'd rather enjoy a game of chess with a friend over a beer out at the park than several hours of study to keep my opening and endgame up. I picked up Go about a year after that, and while I'm not very good, I enjoy it and enjoy teaching it to others.

Re:Boring (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#25244695)

Actually, this was why Bobby Fischer stopped playing chess.

He may have been as crazy as a bedbug, but that doesn't mean he didn't understand chess. The beauty of chess is its intuitive challenge, but gradually, over the years, an encyclopedic knowledge of past games has come t count for as much as insight.

Towards the end of his life, Fischer developed a variant of chess where the initial positions of the pieces were shuffled, but in a way that preserved all legal chess moves. This eliminates the value of having a vast database of chess openings.

Deep Fritz (2, Interesting)

telchine (719345) | about 6 years ago | (#25242977)

When I think of powerful chess programs, I think of Deep Fritz. It did beat the human World Champion after all. Does anyone know why Deep Fritz isn't competing?

Milk and Cookies (0, Offtopic)

Philotic (957984) | about 6 years ago | (#25243135)

Queen to Bishop 6. Check.

Re:Milk and Cookies (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 6 years ago | (#25245067)

Prawn takes Queen!
Discovered check!
Check Mate!

WMSG event in Beijing (1)

Permutation Citizen (1306083) | about 6 years ago | (#25243143)

Today in Beijing is also starting the first World Mind Sport Games, a series of team and individual tournaments of chess, go, bridge, draughts and Xiangqi (chinese chess).

Re:WMSG event in Beijing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25243263)

It won't be complete without a tournament in cracking the Great Firewall.

What's the market for these engines? (1)

risinganger (586395) | about 6 years ago | (#25243417)

I'm actually curious. The engine used by the free chess program supplied with OS X has no trouble whipping me and I'm playing it at one of the easier levels. Fair enough I'm not a great player but I'm not a moron either. My guess is that a significant portion of those that enjoy a game of chess would find many of the free offerings sufficiently challenging.

I understand the desire to create better and more efficient algorithms but I'll be damned if I can see their commercial use.

Re:What's the market for these engines? (1)

superskippy (772852) | about 6 years ago | (#25243437)

Yes, this is very depressing- I struggle to beat GnuChess on easy.

There isnt one , however... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 6 years ago | (#25243945)

.. ther may well be a market for the specialised hardware and what batter way than for example IBM to advertise their hardware & software abilities as a company to the triumph at chess so the marketing paybacks are enormous , far bigger than slapping your logo on the front of a football player or F1 car.

Re:What's the market for these engines? (4, Interesting)

7 digits (986730) | about 6 years ago | (#25243959)

There are several commercial use for better engines:

1) Game analysis. When you have played a game against and lost, you try to understand why you lost. Sometimes it is because you made an obvious blunder, but when you get better at the game, you start loosing for strategical reasons (lost control of a certain square, etc, etc). Having a good engine helps you try new ideas, and play a lot of what-if scenarios

2) Game understanding. When you follow a live tournament between grandmasters, having a good engine can give you an explanation about what the underlying ideas are ("Why doesn't he plays Nb6? You try it, and get the answer instantly")

3) Correspondence & Centaur Chess. Correspondence chess are long running games where both players have access to whatever they want. It delivers very subtle games, where the strategy is a very important aspect, as all the tactical blunders are removed by the use of good chess engines. Centaur chess is the same with lower time control.

And, of course, bragging rights are important too: having a better engine than other people in the chess club is a bit like having the better graphic card among fps players...

As you may have seen, playing against the engine is not one of the uses. Rybka is supposedly at 3200 elo. By definition, 200 elo points higher means you have a 75% win probability. The current world champion is at 2800, which means that he have a 6% win probability against rybka. Good club chess play is around 2000 (it takes several years to reach that level -- at that level, you can generally play blind, or multiple opponents, etc, etc). Such players have a 1 against 4000 chance against a 3200 player. Which means zero chance...

What's the point? (1)

TheTapani (1050518) | about 6 years ago | (#25243587)

I thought it is accepted that Hydra Scylla is by far the best. It is estimated to have a strength of over 3000+ ELO; it haven't been rated since it has never lost a competitive game...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydra_(chess)

In today's soaraway Sun (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 years ago | (#25243831)

Women's Grandmaster played two games against Rybka; the result? Rybka won both games!"

Tabloid headline: Chinky chess chick checked?

Wouldn't you rather... (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about 6 years ago | (#25244389)

...play a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War?
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