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NASA Holding Space Vs. Earth Chess Game

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the do-knights-still-jump-in-zero-g? dept.

NASA 36

A few days ago, NASA and the US Chess Federation teamed up to host a space vs. Earth chess game. Astronaut Greg Chamitoff is playing one side, while the other side's moves will be determined by a public vote. Four potential moves will be selected each weekday by a chess club comprised of students from kindergarten through third grade. Once the selections are made, visitors to the USCF's site can vote for the move they like best. The USCF is maintaining a blog to update the moves and board position, and to provide commentary.

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265759)

first

Cool! (1)

sibsybcys (820086) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265789)

Very cool idea, I especially like how they're using younger children to determine the moves.

Question though, are the K-3 children from a randomly selected chess club, or are they chess (for lack of a better word) prodigy's?

I certainly wish they had a chess club at my elementary school.

73
-sibsybcys

Re:Cool! (2, Interesting)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265997)

Do the kids determine the moves on their own or can they use help from a chess computer? If they can use a chess computer then space has no chance.

By the way the Slashdot poll asks if you'd like to own the space shuttle. That makes me wonder if NASA will sell it when they retire it. I'd think there would be some buyers. A commercial operation might be able to operate it much cheaper than NASA could.

Re:Cool! (2, Informative)

GrayNimic (1051532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25266831)

The kids are the team that won "this year's Kindergarten through Third Grade National Championship." The commentary on the US Chess site mentions that the kids favor "classical patterns" - I'd guess part of their training involves learning many of the well-known scenarios and techniques.

Also given the timescales involved (the vote's open for a week, the station crew member is aiming for a minimum of about 1 move/week on his end), the kids likely have a chance to think it through and discuss - it's not like they have to come up with 4 moves constrained by a 2-hour speedchess match clock.

Re:Cool! (1)

kayditty (641006) | more than 5 years ago | (#25269785)

chess (for lack of a better word) prodigy's

try 'prodigies.' and try not putting the parenthetical statement in front of the wrong word.

Re:Cool! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272361)

Well, at least they're letting some chess experts select four moves for the public to choose from.

The BBC had a "public vs. a grandmaster" game 18 years ago on live TV. "Would the public add up to an awesome chess player with so many minds, or would it be disturbingly poor?"

I think people can guess the answer. Keep that in mind the next time you vote.

Yeah, I know how this is gonna turn out (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265791)

Earth wins, gloats, then...the next thing you know an asteroid mysteriously changes orbit and heads toward Florida.
Space wins.

Re:Yeah, I know how this is gonna turn out (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25267187)

If it hits Florida I think we all win.

hm (2, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265793)

this might have worked, but now that it's on the slashdot front page we're going to see millions of botnet votes for the worst moves

Fuck Chess (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265801)

Real women prefer big-dicked, football-playing niggaz.

Re:Fuck Chess (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265813)

I guess you're ruled out, then.

Are you smarter than a third grader? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265807)

Is NASA trying to one-up "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?", who just had an astronaut on?

Space is going to win (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25265947)

Because it's a public vote, and the majority of the population, even the smaller subset interested in this, can't see more than one move ahead. And if the vote somehow comes up with a long-term strategy, it won't be able to follow through. While the one person up there can think as far ahead as he wants.

Re:Space is going to win (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25266019)

If he's playing against kindergarten through third grade kids, I would think the most likely scenario is for him to lose on purpose.

Re:Space is going to win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285529)

What kind of parent are you? I use to play chess and checkers with my kids all the time. I was 596-0. Then, for whatever reason, they didn't want to play anymore and have since moved on to other stuff. You can teach your children a valuable lesson by never allowing them to win. My son collects guns now.

Re:Space is going to win (1)

ericpearl (122518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25292543)

While the astronaut isn't rated, the kids he's playing against are the 2008 K-3 National Champs, and include kids rated in the mid 1400s.

Re:Space is going to win (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25266079)

That's what I thought, too, but this guy challenged a large group of people who voted on the next move against him in a wiki and lost:
http://www.zefrank.com/thewiki/Fabuloso_Friday_2/Fabuloso_Chess [zefrank.com]

NASA getting desperate for PR (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25265983)

If one of the astronauts wants to play chess by mail, that's fine. But this is just a PR stunt.

Re:NASA getting desperate for PR (5, Interesting)

ctetc007 (875050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25266575)

You're right, sort of.

If one of the astronauts wants to play chess by mail, that's fine.

They actually did a game over the summer between Mission Control and Chamitoff, which ended with MCC resigning on 8-13: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition17/chess_chamitoff.html [nasa.gov] .

Regarding the PR stunt, yes, it is one because it's try to draw lot's of attention, but so is every outreach program run by any kind of organization.

Part of NASA's mission, to quote Michael Griffin, is that "NASA is in the inspiration business." (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=29218) That in itself is PR.

Space exploration needs to be on the forefront of science, along with things like the LHC, etc. Our country is on a decline on the science, technology, and innovation front. Our government has let it go by the wayside (see http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=29133 [spaceref.com] specifically for the space program), and too much of Generation Y is ignoring science, going into "soft" fields (preaching to the choir).

Like I said, NASA needs to inspire more young children to get into science and technology. If what it takes is a "PR stunt" like this, then so be it. Sure, NASA benefits from it, but the real beneficiaries, if it works out right, are the children, and by extension, future society.

Kindergarteners? (4, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25266141)

OH, think of the children!

But seriously - more rational deduction in early education including logic games and reasoning will help fight the absurd and assinie War on Intellectualism [bilerico.com] .

I play chess and Go with my daughter each chance I get.

Intelligence FTW! (Its amazing that one has to even say it...)

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25268833)

Nah, logic is just another tool in the arsenal of people who want to manufacture justifications for their biases. Recognizing the limitations of logic and of hard & fast philosophies is the first step to any real intellectual maturity.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25268973)

Nah, logic is just another tool in the arsenal of people who want to manufacture justifications for their biases. Recognizing the limitations of logic and of hard & fast philosophies is the first step to any real intellectual maturity.

If you reject logic, then your biases are all that's left. This sort of anti-intellectualism is already close to destroying the United States, so please don't spread it any further.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25269323)

No, sir. Intellectualism gave but one gift to the world. The ethos that one need not (and perhaps should not) believe those things for which he has no justification.

The rest is human decency, valuing the needs and concerns of your fellow men.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25269635)

The only way to justify anything is by combining facts with logic. Since you have rejected logic outright, you can't justify anything, so your philosophy simply says that no one should believe anything. You either have a simplistic and misinformed view of what logic is, or you're an advocate for stroke patients.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271265)

Logic combined with facts? Seriously?

No, at the heart of every justification is a value judgment. Every public policy decision, every social decision, every choice in spending a night out or choosing a job or lifestyle, is rooted in a value judgment.

The very worst breed of intellectualism is that which seeks to supplant human concerns with an inhuman, unthinking, and presumptive moral calculus.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25275615)

There is no essential conflict here. As Hume said, "reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions". You're right to criticise those who "[seek] to supplant human concerns with an inhuman, unthinking, and presumptive moral calculus.". But once you have those concerns, logic can be a helpful tool in managing them.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25280365)

Absolutely. Well, almost. "Manage" is a strong word. It's too compatible with something I see fair too often -- the drive to seek a devilish consistency in the ramification of one's feelings at the expense of other feelings, particularly matters of conscience and social justice.

Re:Kindergarteners? (1)

michaelmuffin (1149499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25269543)

all your biases are belong to us?

Manned spaceflight has come to this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25266545)

Manned spaceflight has come to this? And people wonder why regular folks don't care about funding NASA.

Re:Manned spaceflight has come to this? (1)

ctetc007 (875050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25270755)

At least this caught your attention. How much of the real science done in space did you actually pay attention to? This game is being done during his free time up there, and I'm pretty sure the chess board was part of his "personal items manifest", so he wasn't wasting mass by displacing some science experiment.

If you think it's a waste to allow any personal items brought up at all, think about it if you were stranded on an island. Wouldn't you want to have some personal items with you? At least he brought something intellectually stimulating, instead of something like porn.

I've got more to say, see above under "Re: NASA Getting Desperate for PR" for the rest of my commentary.

Wow (3, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25266797)

So, the choices we get to vote on are chosen in advance by people with little understanding of the complexity of the issues involved?

Somehow this seems strangely familiar...

Re:Wow (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25269465)

i have no idea if the parent is talking about slashdot polls or the upcoming election...

but it seems to me that either case is equally valid.

i'll play it safe and go with slashdot polls. yes, that must be it.

Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25267871)

If NASA did this more often, I might actually follow what's going on. ;) Now, back to ICC...

A. Koward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25268233)

Well, you've gotta do SOMETHING up there don't you think? What with the zero-g ladybug experiment gone south.

Russians did it. (2, Informative)

Catmeat (20653) | more than 5 years ago | (#25268287)

The crew of Soyuz 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_9 [wikipedia.org] played chess with the ground in 1970. They had a zero-g chess board that the pieces could clip on to.
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