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Computer Chess Programs Vie "Live" For World Championship

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the too-bad-deep-blue-moved-to-iceland dept.

Software 73

Alex Laburu writes "The 17th World Computer Chess Championship is taking place in Pamplona through the 18th of May. As of this writing, Rybka (winner of the last two editions) is ahead of the pack and playing Shredder to consolidate its lead over Junior. You can watch the games live or otherwise follow the tournament asynchronously on the standings page, where you'll also find information about the hardware used by various teams."

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The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (3, Funny)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985075)

Better than lawnbowls AND curling, chess played by computers is the most popular spectator sport...

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (2, Funny)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985113)

chess played by computers is the most popular spectator sport...

Until they become self aware that is.

The old movies got it wrong. Skynet is going to go live after being entrusted to win chess games for its human masters. It will unleash pawnageddon upon us all.

Fortunately, the robots created to round up humanity will be easily bested. They'll line up, and move in grids, and they'll patiently wait for us to take our turn.

Re: Skynet (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985131)

You missed the obvious joke:
"Pawned!!"

As for the movement, they can jump from Boston to New York in one move over a network.

Re: Skynet (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985149)

As for the movement, they can jump from Boston to New York in one move over a network.

Only if the network is three grid spaces forward, one space to the side ;-P

Failing that, if there are no pieces in the way, they could cross in a straight line, assuming it was either a horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

Re: Skynet (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985277)

3 grids forward? The cheaters!

(Knights move 2 by 1, not 3)

Re: Skynet (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985341)

Whoops.

Although, now that I think about it, three by one still works as a description, if you take the starting position of the piece as 1 instead of 0. That works out logically to 2 grids forward from where you started.

So:
3 empty
2 pawn
1 knight

Knight moves from where it is at square 1 to a square one left or one right of the empty space.

However, when I posted 3 by 1, that wasn't what I was thinking, I just didn't pay that much attention to what I wrote.

Re: Skynet (1)

Dylan16807 (1539195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27992191)

Starting 1 instead of 0? Are you mad?

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (3, Insightful)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985141)

It will be when computers start playing dramatic moves, or really know, read and adapt to their opponents well. As it is, I found that most comp vs comp games very boring in a strangely drawish way.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27985337)

It will be when computers start playing dramatic moves, or really know, read and adapt to their opponents well. As it is, I found that most comp vs comp games very boring in a strangely drawish way.

Well, draws are a lot less frequent between top computers than between top human grandmasters.

Look at this game of the current tournament:
http://www.grappa.univ-lille3.fr/icga/round.php?tournament=192&round=4&id=2

Many human spectators were impressed by the romantic style of this victory of Junior over Hiarcs.

A.C.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (2, Funny)

eennaarbrak (1089393) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985715)

Yeah, there is a complete lack of tension. Watching sport (to me at least) is a lot about how players use psychological maneuvers to get their opponent to make a mistake (or do something they would not usually do).

Just imagine the commentary on a comp vs comp chess game:

Jim: Comp1 just made the most optimal move under the constraints of its x-heuristics algorithm ...
Joe: I agree Jim. He must be trying to optimize the variables of his problem.
Jim: I see comp2 is taking his time choosing between two different but equally scoring outcomes. I wonder if the random number generator used is pseudo or quasi-random?

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (2, Informative)

m00seb0y (677149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985781)

You don't have to imagine anything. The Spanish chess master Leontxo Garcia is commenting (in Spanish) live on the games on the site.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27986705)

I don't speak mexican.

Lack of tension?? Look at the games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27986891)

Are you kidding? These are some of the most exciting games I've ever seen at a computer event! Because there are fewer innovations left in reaching extreme search depths, a lot of effort is being expended in improving positional evaluation, especially the correct evaluation of material imbalance in dynamic positions (what is termed "compensation" in high-level chess). The result is a lot more king attacks, brinksmanship, and long-term positional piece sacrifices than we've ever had at computer events (which I agree used to be all about the bean counting - boring).

Re:Lack of tension?? Look at the games! (1)

andi75 (84413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27992419)

Mod parent up. Anyone who claims computer vs. computer games are dull is either outright lying or has no clue about chess (and hence probably finds all games boring).

In fact, these days it's hard to tell the games between the top 20 players and the top engines apart. Both groups (computers and men) are not afraid of losing and will go for the move that promises the most chances (and will lead to the most imbalanced positions), instead of going for a safer and 'duller' alternatives, as you often see players in the 2500-2700 elo range play (disclaimer: I'm only around 2300 elo).

Mod parent hilarious! (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27994357)

That's the funniest comment I've read on slashdot since that Antarctic movie script idea. "He must be trying to optimize the variables of his problem." Classic!

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27987715)

As it is, I found that most comp vs comp games very boring in a strangely drawish way.

It doesn't help that they play at a level higher than any human can comprehend. Think about that, even a grandmaster watching the game in realtime doesn't fully appreciate the rationale for what he is seeing.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (1)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27993239)

I think you have to be quite a bit more proficient at a skill than whom you're observing to be able to understand the rationale.

As a composer, quickly understanding a piece of music is an indication (to me) that it may not be very good.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (2, Funny)

kandela (835710) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985487)

It'd be better if it was Battlechess 3D.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (2, Funny)

Jeden (1380555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985125)

If the Sarah Connor Chronicles has taught me nothing else, it is that chess programs are bad news.

Re:The World's Greatest Spectator Sport (1)

thedrx (1139811) | more than 5 years ago | (#27986657)

Eh? A post about Sarah Connor Chronicles without a mention of Summer Glau?

Haha (4, Funny)

KWarp (1556259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985137)

This is the nerdiest sport ever. :D

Re:Haha (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985185)

Ah! When will Dungeons & Dragons be admitted as an Olympic sport!

Do they have ratings? (1)

viyh (620825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985143)

Do they get FIDE ratings? It's great to see interest being brought to the game. They should have Anand play against the victor for a man vs. machine championship, like Kasparov vs. Fritz a few years back. Those are such elegant games to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRW9io3myOI [youtube.com]

Re:Do they have ratings? (5, Interesting)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985275)

They usually get estimates of their ratings

As a chess researcher (in human cognition), I once had dinner with Doug Hofstadter and he mentioned his ideas concerning how a chess program should play, like humans do. It has been my goal for over 5 years now, and it's really hard. I could show Doug's idea that "analogy lies at the core of perception (of any scenario, including chess) by making psychological experiments in all levels, from novices to grandmasters. That work came out in journals like Cognitive Science, Minds & Machines, and New Ideas in Psychology (accepted). So I think we're on the right track. But my paper on the computational model [capyblanca.com] has been rejected three times, the last of which, fortunately, has good reports from referees who only want the piece to be rewritten.

I long for the day in which Hofstadter's ideas would become more mainstream in AI and cognitive science.

Re:Do they have ratings? (2, Interesting)

drmofe (523606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985629)

Human play is elegant, but loses to brute force

Brute force is not elegant

"Elegant force" where human characteristics combine with the power of machine computation is the end goal

BUT, winning chess against an equally-skilled opponent is a matter of finding forcing moves. When all forcing moves are known, chess is just a matter of brute force computation and massive memory

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27987755)

How is "analogy" not a synonym for "pattern recognition"? Nothing could be more central to AI and cognitive science.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27987853)

You have a great question there. In my point of view, analogy refers to "experience recognition", not "pattern recognition". It's hard to put that down in a few words, but the idea is that the patterns (outside of any human understanding) do not really matter as much as we tend to think. They only serve as cues, and the recognition that arises in the brain is a function of both (outside) pattern and (internal, previous) experience. We propose that "experience recognition" ENCODES mostly experiences, instead of patterns (outside of any understanding). One of the problem with computer science and Object-oriented programming, in my opinion, is that it is hard to transfer properties and methods between objects and between classes.

When we say "DNA is like a staircase", or "DNA is like a zipper", or "DNA is like a computer program", or "DNA is like a fingerprint in a crime scene", we "explain", and "understand" what DNA is (or what role it plays), based on analogy to things we've had previous experience with, not based on the real thing, in this case, complex molecules of Deoxyribonucleic acid.

We use analogy, rather than pattern recognition.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27988907)

Well, I am open to the idea that pattern recognition is a subset of analogy, rather than vice-versa.

We propose that "experience recognition" ENCODES mostly experiences, instead of patterns (outside of any understanding)

I am having trouble with that, so maybe the following will not be relevant. But I see the brain as largely a pattern recognizer, however that doesn't mean people have a conscious perception of patterns. You can look at a wide range of objects and determine whether each is a "chair," but that doesn't mean you can list the definitive attributes of chairs in general.

One of the problem with computer science and Object-oriented programming, in my opinion, is that it is hard to transfer properties and methods between objects and between classes.

I think OO has actually moved away from that sort of flexibility over time. Dynamically typed languages like Lisp and Smalltalk have a lot more flexibility than more mainstream languages, don't you think? IIRC in CLOS you can add or remove methods from individual objects (not just classes) at a whim, during runtime.

When we say "DNA is like a staircase", or "DNA is like a zipper", or "DNA is like a computer program", or "DNA is like a fingerprint in a crime scene", we "explain", and "understand" what DNA is (or what role it plays), based on analogy to things we've had previous experience with, not based on the real thing, in this case, complex molecules of Deoxyribonucleic acid.

Would not any algorithm capable of recognizing the structural similarity among various staircases also recognize the similarity of DNA to staircases? The other examples are functional rather than structural, but what does that change? I think "explain" and "understand" just means being able to predict responses to new inputs. So a computer "understands" the analogy between DNA and computer code if it can predict that genotype affects phenotype based on its knowledge that code affects execution (which implies that DNA and code were classified as the same thing in some way).

I think all understanding consists of mental models which are generalizations about a simplified set of facts, which deprives analogy-making of being a particularly special case. I place analogy on the same spectrum as creativity (making leaps between very loose analogies, or faint patterns) and the perception of continuity (which is an illusion of our limited perception; all objects, and perceptions of them constantly change, at least minutely).

Re:Do they have ratings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27987783)

I disagree. As someone who has done chess research (on the computer science side), I know that computers aren't really suited to play chess "like humans do."

Early chess-playing machines tried to emulate human behavior by applying fuzzy logic, memorizing certain board positions, and doing "aspiration searches" in the first few levels of play. These machines were generally totally outperformed by machines that did raw computation (i.e. a full-width alpha-beta search) to come to their conclusions.

The general consensus in the computer-science world is that computer chess machines should do what they do best--raw computation; and the fact that chess machines now regularly outperform the best of the best human players is a testament to this strategy.

While making a machine that actually thinks like a human chess player would be fascinating, it would not make the machines better chess players. Makiing a machine play as a human does and STILL WIN would probably involve something the equivalent of having the machine play many hundreds of games, and learn from its mistakes. i.e. we would have to train the machine just as a human grandmaster is trained.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27987869)

I think we're in the same boat in this one. I don't intend to beat grandmasters. I only want to understand better how humans play.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985803)

Do they get FIDE ratings? It's great to see interest being brought to the game. They should have Anand play against the victor for a man vs. machine championship, like Kasparov vs. Fritz a few years back.

They get estimates, but even the single-processor machines they run them on now get 3000+ estimates, both from improvements in hardware and chess algorithms. And if we built a chess supercomputer to the best of our ability now, it'd be way past that again. So either Anand would be totally overrun, or it'd be because they crippled the hardware. Everybody knows that game is over, computers won on raw processing power. They do sometimes do matches with people in the top 100 but then usually the humans are given advantages like taking away one of the computer's pawns and such. But no matter what they do it just looks like two hopelessly mismatched opponents that are desperately looking for a way to make it somewhat interesting.

Re:Do they have ratings? (3, Insightful)

viyh (620825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985821)

Interesting. Well, then computer chess geeks should refocus on cracking a game of Go. That should keep them busy for a while. :P

Re:Do they have ratings? (2, Informative)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985903)

Interesting. Well, then computer chess geeks should refocus on cracking a game of Go. That should keep them busy for a while. :P

No doubt. There isn't a go program running on anything that I can't give a 9 stone handicap to and crush almost without thinking - and I'm only 2k. The day a computer beats a pro seems to be far in the distant future.

Re:Do they have ratings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27987427)

it already happened [unimaas.nl]

Re:Do they have ratings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27988101)

That's a 9 stone handicap game, a good showing, but a long way from "beating."

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

rkit (538398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27988059)

These days are over.

Go program beats professional 9 Dan at 7 stones handicap [ireport.com]

On a side note, Zhou Junxun won the LG Cup 2007, so this is definitely a top player.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27990949)

These days are over.

Go program beats professional 9 Dan at 7 stones handicap [ireport.com]

On a side note, Zhou Junxun won the LG Cup 2007, so this is definitely a top player.

A 7 stone handicap is still HUGE. I've beaten a professional (Kano 7d) with that handicap.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27999941)

A 7 stone handicap is still HUGE. I've beaten a professional (Kano 7d) with that handicap.

Sure, but it certainly puts to rest your boast:

There isn't a go program running on anything that I can't give a 9 stone handicap to and crush almost without thinking - and I'm only 2k. The day a computer beats a pro seems to be far in the distant future.

So, not only has a computer already beaten a pro, but the pro was actually one of the top at the game, having won a major tournament.

Care to wager about beating that program giving it a 9-stone handi yourself? Come on, you said that you could crush any go program running "almost without thinking" with that handicap.

Go may be complex, and the complexities of strategic thinking are really hard (including even the most basic "big" vs. "vital" concepts), but clearly Go computer programs have gotten way beyond where you thought they were.

At this point, it seems like there are at least some programs that outpace your expectations. It is entirely conceivable that Go programs could be good enough in a mid term time frame that they give stones to all but the Dans & pros.

Regards.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28012477)

A 7 stone handicap is still HUGE. I've beaten a professional (Kano 7d) with that handicap. Sure, but it certainly puts to rest your boast: There isn't a go program running on anything that I can't give a 9 stone handicap to and crush almost without thinking - and I'm only 2k. The day a computer beats a pro seems to be far in the distant future. So, not only has a computer already beaten a pro, but the pro was actually one of the top at the game, having won a major tournament. Care to wager about beating that program giving it a 9-stone handi yourself? Come on, you said that you could crush any go program running "almost without thinking" with that handicap. Go may be complex, and the complexities of strategic thinking are really hard (including even the most basic "big" vs. "vital" concepts), but clearly Go computer programs have gotten way beyond where you thought they were. At this point, it seems like there are at least some programs that outpace your expectations. It is entirely conceivable that Go programs could be good enough in a mid term time frame that they give stones to all but the Dans & pros. Regards.

I downloaded the latest publicly available version of MoGo [www.lri.fr] (release 3) and I have to say I was fairly impressed. The program beat me a couple of times at a 9 stone handicap but now I can beat it. Here [hiico.com] is the first game I played. This [hiico.com] is the first game I won. The trouble is that go-playing programs make a systemic pattern of mistakes that's readily apparent after playing a few times. Mogo seems to have a much better "concept" of eyeshape than other programs I've played. Its main overall strategy seems to be to play in a different part of the board (tenuki) when it can't read the local situation, which is actually a valid strategy (used by human players) so long as it doesn't neglect critical situations.

I was really impressed with the way the program uses your time to analyse the position (--pondering flag) and that it resigns when it sees the game as hopeless, although it did resign a game that it had won. The program also keeps track of the time and adjusts its analysis correspondingly, which I've never seen a program do before. Still, there is a loooong way to go.

FYI, the program I downloaded is the 64-bit precompiled linux version running on a 2.2 GHz dual-core AMD under the current Gentoo release, using the GoGui [sf.net] front end. The program was invoked with the options --19 --totalTime 600 --nbThreads 2 --pondering 1

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28012907)

I just found an earlier discussion on slashdot [slashdot.org] about this program. I think two of the comments (this [slashdot.org] and this [slashdot.org] ) might provide insight to someone who isn't familiar with the game.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28014351)

At this point, it seems like there are at least some programs that outpace your expectations. It is entirely conceivable that Go programs could be good enough in a mid term time frame that they give stones to all but the Dans & pros.

I entirely disagree. And anyone who thinks that chess is comparible to go should read about Edward Lasker's experience with the game. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074555)

So you disagree that in the next 40 years a Go program will be created that can win (>50% of the time) against a 1k while giving them 2 stones?

That is what I would consider the upper bounds of the limits of that statement (in my favor, I must admit, but hey, it's my statement!).

I'd like to take you up on that wager, since you "entirely disagree."

Say $1000?

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

rkit (538398) | more than 5 years ago | (#28000135)

Of course seven stones is a lot. Also, this was not a tournament game. But still, this is amazing progress. Btw, an older version of mogo is freely available, try it out for yourself.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27989389)

" There isn't a go program running on anything that I can't give a 9 stone handicap to and crush almost without thinking - and I'm only 2k."

In what reality do you live? Even excluding the new generation programs that are as strong or stronger than you (2kyu-1dan), the old generation programs still hover around the 6-8 kyu range. That would be 4-6 stones handicap. You could possibly get that up to 9 if you trained to specifically beat a program. But it would in no way be easy.

This isn't to say that go programs will overtake humans anytime soon. While the Monte Carlo algorithm did revolutionise the go ai world, it basically meant a quick leap up from the old min-max based ones. But now the reality is beginning to catch up with the programs. Monte Carlo may be better than min-max but brute forcing is still not really viable even if you use a more efficent way of brute forcing.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27990839)

" There isn't a go program running on anything that I can't give a 9 stone handicap to and crush almost without thinking - and I'm only 2k."

In what reality do you live? Even excluding the new generation programs that are as strong or stronger than you (2kyu-1dan), the old generation programs still hover around the 6-8 kyu range. That would be 4-6 stones handicap. You could possibly get that up to 9 if you trained to specifically beat a program. But it would in no way be easy.

This isn't to say that go programs will overtake humans anytime soon. While the Monte Carlo algorithm did revolutionise the go ai world, it basically meant a quick leap up from the old min-max based ones. But now the reality is beginning to catch up with the programs. Monte Carlo may be better than min-max but brute forcing is still not really viable even if you use a more efficent way of brute forcing.

Sorry, I'm from Missouri. You'll have to show me.

Re:Do they have ratings? (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27990969)

" There isn't a go program running on anything that I can't give a 9 stone handicap to and crush almost without thinking - and I'm only 2k."

In what reality do you live? Even excluding the new generation programs that are as strong or stronger than you (2kyu-1dan), the old generation programs still hover around the 6-8 kyu range. That would be 4-6 stones handicap. You could possibly get that up to 9 if you trained to specifically beat a program. But it would in no way be easy.

This isn't to say that go programs will overtake humans anytime soon. While the Monte Carlo algorithm did revolutionise the go ai world, it basically meant a quick leap up from the old min-max based ones. But now the reality is beginning to catch up with the programs. Monte Carlo may be better than min-max but brute forcing is still not really viable even if you use a more efficent way of brute forcing.

I live in a reality where there is such a thing as combinatorial explosion [wikipedia.org] . The higher levels of go playing are quite simply incomprehensible to beginners, much less computer programs.

Who is better at chess, humans or computers? (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27986315)

Everybody knows that game is over, computers won on raw processing power.

Do you have any evidence to back that up?

Deep Blue and Fritz were great chess players, but when pitted against the greatest humans, they were about equal. Fritz had mostly tied. Deep Blue lost one match against Kasparov, and won one match, and then retired. Both games Deep Blue had the advantage. It was programmed specifically against Kasparov, but Kasparov had never seen it play.

I used to think that modern humans didn't stand a chance against modern computers; mostly I got that from the Sarah Connor Chronicles. But after reading some history, I am not so sure. Computers have gotten much faster in the last 15 years, but unless there are some recent matches to look at, we can't be sure.

A history of gaming and entertainment (4, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985197)

First, we played games.

Then, we watched other people play games, and we played computer games.

Next, we watched other people play computer games.

And now, eliminating all human-to-human interaction, we watch computers play games.

Who called us antisocial? ;-) Oh well, king's gambit ftw, rock out with your pawn out, good luck... "ladies and gentlemen"? Or is it "Nuts and Bolts"? "Plugs and Jacks"?

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985237)

And now, eliminating all human-to-human interaction, we watch computers play games.

Well, we can still watch people program computers to play games, can't we?

" . . . and the programmer seems to be reaching for a pointer . . . what an exciting programming round!"

If we add blood and free bread, it might be a hit with the masses.

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (3, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985289)

Er, people still play games, you know. Just because simulations like this get run, doesn't mean that you're suddenl 'not allowed' to play games of your own.

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (0, Flamebait)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27987733)

Sure, but watching humans play chess is like watching the special olympics.

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27989453)

Oh come on mods. You can't really troll mankind. Unless he's a chat bot I suppose...

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (2, Funny)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27986615)

Are you saying what we need now is a computer programmed to watch a computer chess match?!?!

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (1)

gy equals c (1556109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27986733)

What we need now to relieve the tedium of watching computer chess matches is a spectator program...

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#27987055)

I no longer watch computers play games. I have a robot that does that for me. I would use this free time to go outside and play, but I don't remember how.

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27987519)

"Gentlemen! Initialize your CEngines!"

Re:A history of gaming and entertainment (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28000211)

And now, eliminating all human-to-human interaction, we watch computers play games.

Actually, now we don't watch computers play games, and then we talk about it on message boards.

Boring (1)

nih (411096) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985323)

I'll start watching again if they allow Kasparov and Deep Blue to rejoin.

Re:Boring (2, Interesting)

viyh (620825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985343)

Too bad Fischer isn't around. I found him much more interesting to watch than Kasparov. He would smash opponents, including computers (albiet, they weren't nearly up to the level they are now) into submission. Great stuff.

Re:Boring (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985393)

Bobby, being a tactician and swindler, would have lost badly to the modern chess engine.

Re:Boring (0, Troll)

viyh (620825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985433)

Yeah, it's too bad he started focusing his energy on hating Jews and Americans instead of continuing to build up his game. Who knows what he could have been?

Re:Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27986119)

Who knows what he could have been?

Older?

Rybka (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27985357)

I am impressed more by Rybka each year. Certainly, the other engines are strong but Rybka is in another world. I know it has helped me find mistakes in my play. I've already improved a lot. In fact, I'm planning on playing in the Las Vegas International Chess Festival this June. I'll see if my improvement shows. :D Even if I don't win, it will still be fun.

Non-determinalistic behaviour. (1)

rugger (61955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985635)

As a programmer, I am quite facinated.

Without the semi-random input from a human, would computer chess programs eventually simply play a half a dozen different games (based off the more psudo-random beginning moved)

I don't know anything about chess programs though, so I could be wrong with how my gut says they should behave.

Re:Non-determinalistic behaviour. (3, Interesting)

richardcavell (694686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985915)

Perhaps one day there will be a finite number of 'perfect' games which cannot be improved upon, and a computer that is set up to play perfectly is compelled to play one of them.

However, chess is nowhere near played out. The computers in this tournament are still making mistakes that cannot yet be identified as such.

There are two different chess engines in each match-up, so there's enough pseudo-randomness, as you call it, in the differences between the engines, to ensure that these games will be relatively unique.

Richard

Re:Non-determinalistic behaviour. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27993557)

"Eventually"? I imagine that the entire problem space will be mapped, and the draw for black or white will decide the result. That's when we'll have to add the 3rd dimension, and ask the Vulcans if they fancy a game.

Not a real World Championship (4, Informative)

Skuto (171945) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985641)

They restricted the hardware to 8 cores. As a result, the best programs, like those who run over clusters, are not playing.

Supposedly, this was to make money not a factor. In reality, some very nice expensive dual Nehalems are in action.

Re:Not a real World Championship (2)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27988327)

The same organization ran 2 competitions at the same time. The Open Hardware Computer Chess Olympiad had no limits on hardware, and the World Computer Chess Championship has a limit to 8 cores.
Both were won by the same team, running the Rybka chess engine.

You can read their recap of the competition and get details of the hardware here:
http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=11022 [rybkaforum.net]

I used to work at RL chess tournaments (1)

wwphx (225607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27986797)

Including the US Championship and a huge one held in Vegas every year. I'd love to see how this is done and would really like to attend one of these. Gotta dig in to the site and see the rules for draws: if the machines can offer them, or if only the operators. IIRC, when Kasparov was playing Deep Blue, it was up to Blue's operators to decide whether to accept an offer. The current leader has one draw and is up against #2, who has 2.

That was one thing that fascinated me when I started working high-level events: the number of draws was very high.

I'm not a great player, but I do enjoy watching the greats play.

Looks like USA won. (1)

sbillard (568017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27988587)

9 games with a score of 8.0 [univ-lille3.fr]

This is very interesting. Being a baseball fan, and thinking back to strat-o-matic as a kid, I can't help but think how I would code such a thing in that game/sport. Football too.

One could be issued a limited number of "skill points" in different disciplines of the game, allocate among his/her team. Situational strategies could be coded so that when certain in-game criteria were met, specific functions could be called.
Play Ball!

Open Source Java (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27989185)

http://tty.wanfear.com/~mbrito/games/twoplayer/chess.html

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27993567)

anybody knows if there has ever been an online game of chess in the way that ... for example 10k users play against one computer?

i would bet on the humanoids (the supposed collective intelligence on our side should not be to beat very easy).

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