Anand's knightmare...
November 22, 2013 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Magnus Carlsen, the 22 year old Norwegian prodigy, is the new World Chess Champion. Yesterday's game 9 was the most exciting of the tournament; a desperate Viswanathan Anand played very aggressively and appeared--to most human commenters--to have an advantage (though the best computer programs saw the Carlsen was always fine if not slightly ahead); however, Anand made a serious blunder and lost. All Carlsen needed today was a draw--which he got. Many have called it the end of an era.
posted by whatgorilla (54 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
The official announcement. The King is dead, long live the King. Carlsen's style--a mix between Karpov and a super-strong chess program--is based on capitalizing on weaknesses in the late middle game, or--primarily--the endgame. It's not nearly as much fun to watch as more aggressive players, but it works.
posted by whatgorilla at 7:01 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was only a matter of the before Carlson won. It's an exciting time on chess to have a champion so young. He could hold the title for a decade or more.
posted by milarepa at 7:02 AM on November 22, 2013


The $896,000 Anand gets for coming in second probably helps a little.
posted by mediareport at 7:11 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like King's analysis of game 9 (in the game 9 link).
Looks like that was intense.
posted by MtDewd at 7:13 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Magnus is the highest ranked player in history and almost 100 points higher than the next best (at the moment, Aronian). But there is a batch of other exciting young guns--Nakamura, Caruana, Karjakin, Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, and Anish Giri--who are all chasing after Carslen; still, he's been at or near the top for like 5-7 years, and deserves to be Champion.
posted by whatgorilla at 7:16 AM on November 22, 2013


Today's game was surprisingly aggressive (relatively speaking). I expected a draw in 25 in the Berlin. Carlsen seems to have had winning chances a few times that he missed. Anand's been a super boring tournament player almost without exception for several years now. Defenders said 1) he was saving everything interesting for world championships and 2) he was a great match player and could still wipe the floor or at least hold his own against anyone. To many people 1) seemed clearly true but 2) seemed dubious. Turns out that was correct.

It's interesting knowing just how much work the players, probably especially Anand, put into preparation, because in some ways it never really showed. Carlsen seems not to have found any special novelties (or at least none that Anand walked into) and more to have actually done his openings homework for once. It's terrifying to think that he'll probably be a stronger player now having done some deeper study of opening theory to prepare for Anand. Anand, on the other hand, basically had almost all his work made to look irrelevant, much like he did to Kramnik and Kramnik did to Kasparov. It's one of those kind of sad things that the longer you'e a champion the more likely it is that when you finally lose it's because age has finally caught up and you've lost a step.
posted by pdq at 7:19 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, every chess championship is required to take place in Bangkok by the Murray Head Agreement of 1984.

Magnus is like a superhero for Norway too, apparently. They can't get enough of that guy.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:20 AM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interesting discussion of Carlsen's "nettlesomeness" in the comments of this Marginal Revolution post.
posted by painquale at 7:24 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whenever people bring up Magnus Carlsen, I always get him mixed up with former World's Strongest Man Champion Magnus Ver Magnussen. Now that would be impressive: A world chess champion who can carry an entire car on his back.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:38 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whenever people bring up Magnus Carlsen, I always get him mixed up with former World's Strongest Man Champion Magnus Ver Magnussen. Now that would be impressive: A world chess champion who can carry an entire car on his back.

To be fair, we haven't ever seen Magnus Carlsen fail to carry an entire car on his back.
posted by Etrigan at 7:41 AM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'd like to get into chess, but I don't think some of my executive functions are working properly. I am good at strategy games for the most part, but planning ahead for some stuff is where I falter. I'd never be able to see what the later game is, and stuff concerning the big picture is a little difficult. Nonetheless, I love reading about chess and the players.
posted by gucci mane at 7:44 AM on November 22, 2013


I'd never be able to see what the later game is

Working through lots of endgame tutorials can help with that. There are recurring themes that become clearer once most of the pieces are off the board, and you gradually get a sense of which features of your position it's important not to throw away too casually in the middle game.

stuff concerning the big picture is a little difficult

Stuff concerning the big picture is horrendously difficult. That's kind of the point of chess.

In fact very few well-played games actually have a big picture. They have themes and ideas and positional strengths and weaknesses, but in a closely fought match the big picture remains obscure until suddenly one player sees a little picture that looks like it can be exploited for a sustainable advantage.

Playing against computers is much less fun than playing against people who are slightly better at the game than you are. Get yourself a FICS account and you'll find plenty of those.

FICS also has lecturebot, which is a useful study resource, and YouTube is just crawling with chess tutorials. Really, it's never been easier for somebody willing to put in the time to improve their game.
posted by flabdablet at 8:11 AM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


gucci mane,

The biggest part of getting good at chess is studying, not some innate ability to look ahead*. It requires a pretty massive time investment and obsession-level dedication to reach even an A-ranking play level, unfortunately. I got out of tournament chess when it dawned on me that the people I was learning from were really mentally unwell and put that energy into programming instead. At least someone pays me for it. I love chess, but will never pursue it seriously again, and can't in good conscience recommend that course for anybody. I do enjoy kibitzing though!

* Does not apply to the highest levels of play like the players discussed here. However, in my opinion, anyone can get good enough to clean the floor with casual players with enough investment. hell, just learning the basics of theory such as point value of the pieces, how to mate in the endgame with certain piece advantages, and learning the most popular openers is enough to do that. This is rote memorization. It's really hard to stop there though, and the laws of diminishing returns kick in hard.
posted by cj_ at 8:12 AM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


"It's interesting knowing just how much work the players, probably especially Anand, put into preparation, because in some ways it never really showed."

-- yeah, no one seemed to walk into a prepared line; Magnis DID have to avoid expected theoretical prep, and later, when Anand played the anti-Berlin the second time, it was shocking he didnt seem to have anything prepared (unless Carlsen preempted that with his own prep). Anand didn't seem to have much prepared for Gelfand last year, either.

Today, Carlsen definitely seemed to choose less sharp lines (which MAY have been winning, though requiring a ton of thought/effort) in favor of just playing solid, equalizing chess--10 games at this level even takes a toll on the young. But none of these games were as exciting as Kramnik vs Anand in 2008 (even if the moves in those games weren't as precise)--that and Topalov/Kramnik (famous for "Toilet-gate"--And I think Topy missed a mate in 2 or 3 that likely cost him the match) & Topalov/Anand were also more fun.

This match went perfectly according to plan for Magnus.
posted by whatgorilla at 8:14 AM on November 22, 2013


Gucci: in addition to FICS, chess.com is free and/or cheap with a more user-friendly interface. The ICC is pretty expensive but it offers even more guidance and tutorials than chess.com...all have chess players at all levels.

Studying Master games, practice (recording your moves, then going over them with a computer to see what you missed), and reading good instructional books (I recommend anything by IM Silman, and--my favorite--The Art of Attack in Chess by Vukovich) or watching DVDs helps too--DVDs are great for helping with opening strategies/themes.

I stopped playing tournament chess in 1997, after winning a US Open weekend round robin in the 1800 section, but I have a few IM and GM scalps. I didnt start playing until I was 20, so no hope of ever becoming a GM (chess, like language, appears to need to be fostered prior to puberty to really develop to that point). My goal is to get to Expert at some point--but my style is too aggressive for that probably. All my heroes are aggressive, non-World Champions: Frank Marshall, Chigorin, Keres, Morozeviich, Joe Gallagher, etc. Spassky and Tal are the now ones who won WC titles.
posted by whatgorilla at 8:21 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Studying Master games

When you do that, start by studying the ways they end.

Trying to learn openings before developing any clue about what they're trying to achieve is way too hard.
posted by flabdablet at 8:26 AM on November 22, 2013


To be fair, we haven't ever seen Magnus Carlsen fail to carry an entire car on his back.

I'd also like to point out that, to my knowledge, Magnus Ver Magnussen has never lost to Magnus Carlsen in a chess game.
posted by inigo2 at 8:42 AM on November 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


So is losing the championship twice, to a nineteen and twenty two year old hard on the ego?
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:50 AM on November 22, 2013


Just curious: are there any women players in the highest levels of chess competition? I don't know anything about the sport; I just only can recall men and computers who play.
posted by ben242 at 8:58 AM on November 22, 2013


Just curious: are there any women players in the highest levels of chess competition?

Very few. There are separate women's championships and tournaments, but a few will play against men, generally without success. I think Judit Polgár is still the only woman ever to be ranked in the top 10 worldwide.
posted by Etrigan at 9:05 AM on November 22, 2013


How much work does it take to get to the point where you can read about one of these high-level games and take pleasure in following it?
posted by vogon_poet at 9:19 AM on November 22, 2013


How much work does it take to get to the point where you can read about one of these high-level games and take pleasure in following it?
posted by vogon_poet at 9:19 AM on November 22 [+] [!]


Roughly the same amount as a comparable EVE Online narrative, I'm guessing?
posted by ben242 at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, I am a chess dunce, but I was looking at game 9, and maybe somebody can explain this:

What is the deal with Anand's rook move on turn 27? Is this his "serious blunder"? It seems super obvious that he's giving up a defensive position for... what? His rook is now trapped behind all those white pawns and he doesn't seem to have gained any positional advantage, while leaving black wide open to convert his pawn and put Anand in check.
posted by neckro23 at 9:39 AM on November 22, 2013


"Just curious: are there any women players in the highest levels of chess competition?
-- Yeah, Judit plays with men and is currently ranked #58 in the world. She's tricky and aggressive with a vast knowledge of openings, so she can generally hang with guys in the top 25. The NEXT female (and current Women's World Champion--after decimating her opponent) is Yifan Hou from China. She's ranked 144 overall in the world (and #2 in women, behind Judit). I think she's only played Judit once, and won.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:40 AM on November 22, 2013


Anand's Rf4 move 27 was pretty much forced by that time--he did it to get the rook moved over behind the queen (Rh4) to threaten mate on h7, BUT Anand then made the big BLUNDER next with move 28, blocking the Queen check with the Knight instead of the Bishop (even blocking with the Bishop leads to a draw most likely). However, in hindsight, Anand could have made better moves prior to 27, such as 26. Ne2 (with many sharp threats) or 24. Nh5.

Most GMs think 20. a5 or 20. f5 was much stronger than 20. axb4.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:46 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"How much work does it take to get to the point where you can read about one of these high-level games and take pleasure in following it?"

-- I think it takes a good bit of practice, BUT even just reading and playing along with game books (like "Life & Games of Mikhail Tal") will show you WHY he moved where me moved and the variations that could have occurred had he or his opponent responded differently. WHEN you don't understand WHY a move was made, you can usually download the game (.pgn format) and have your chess program point out why it happened. People often wonder, "Why did he resign here?" and then a program shows that they were down by 7 points (roughly a rook and two pawns worth).

(Middle games and openings are more interesting than endgames--which can be very tedious and complex. Endgames are my weakness--I once lost a forced draw (King versus King+pawn) because I'd yet to learn the simple concept of "king's opposition"; I'm more into tricky gambit openings and tactical shots (not well rounded enough yet).)
posted by whatgorilla at 9:53 AM on November 22, 2013


Whenever people bring up Magnus Carlsen, I always get him mixed up with former World's Strongest Man Champion Magnus Ver Magnussen.

Or Magnus Samuelsson. There's clearly a market for a speed chess TV show played on a giant board with 400lb pieces and competitors all named Magnus.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:54 AM on November 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, every chess championship is required to take place in Bangkok by the Murray Head Agreement of 1984.

Or Iceland. Or the Phillipines. Or Hastings.
posted by 7segment at 10:04 AM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Norwegian press tends to use either a photo like this (VG is the largest newspaper) or perhaps more often one of the G-star photos. There are more photos at his official web site - isn't this exactly what you would expect the web site of a chess player to look like?

My theory is that Magnus will take up chess boxing soon.
posted by Baron Humbert von Gikkingen at 10:09 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am good at strategy games for the most part, but planning ahead for some stuff is where I falter.

If this is the case I may suggest that despite what those games may claim, they are likely actually tactical games, not strategy games.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:51 AM on November 22, 2013


It's worth noting that Magnus's nickname is Sauron (i.e. he sees everything, spots everything, then comes in for the kill)
posted by Riton at 11:15 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anand's Rf4 move 27 was pretty much forced by that time--he did it to get the rook moved over behind the queen (Rh4) to threaten mate on h7, BUT Anand then made the big BLUNDER next with move 28, blocking the Queen check with the Knight instead of the Bishop (even blocking with the Bishop leads to a draw most likely). However, in hindsight, Anand could have made better moves prior to 27, such as 26. Ne2 (with many sharp threats) or 24. Nh5.

Most GMs think 20. a5 or 20. f5 was much stronger than 20. axb4.


oh. ok.
posted by Riton at 11:20 AM on November 22, 2013


he was saving everything interesting for world championships

Chess-ignorant question: why would one do that? Is it about not revealing the extent of your skills in advance, or what?
posted by bac at 12:34 PM on November 22, 2013


Except for game 9, marred by that blunder by Anand, and maybe game 4, this was a pretty dull championship match, to be honest. And mostly down to Anand being seemingly well out of it - Anand has played much, much better in the past. Here he seemed distracted, losing concentration, generally uninspired. Even game 9 was more notable for Carlsen's gutsy defense than Anand's precision. The best thing about game 9 was how complex and dynamic it was - my favorite kind of game, where you have to use your instincts and strategic sense. One of the great dulling effects computers have had is to kill the endgame, because of course now any small mistake can be punished and you can't play psychologically against a computer. Meanwhile complex highly dynamic middle games and openings still leave room to beat computers. And in such situations, you use more of your inherent sense of position than calculation. Now, I have no doubt Carlsen calculated a ton when he had his black pawn on b3, but how did he make that series of decisions to push the b pawn in the first place all the way back even before b5 - was this a strategic choice in the back of his mind when he went c4, releasing the tension in that pawn formation? I mean, at that point, c4 may have been more about denying the white bishop the d3 spot than thinking about pushing a pawn along b - and that was of course dependent on what Anand would do. Either way, of course, Carlsen made the decision to develop the queenside pawn push and deliberately hold his fire on the white's pawns advance on the king side - ice in the veins I must say, given how nasty that white attack could potentially be. But that's the inherent sense of strategy and position - Carlsen couldn't calculate early on all the potential moves available to white in the kingside pawn attack, but he made the decision that (1) he could withstand the attack - which he did brilliantly (and where he really did earn his championship stripes with precise play and adroit use of his knight) and (2) that the queenside pawn attack would be adequate compensation and relief. I don't know if at that early stage Carlsen was even playing for a win - perhaps all he was hoping for was a draw. But the situation was highly unstable and dynamic and even a computer would not have been of much use - what a wonderful situation. Anand deserves credit for his aggressive play - but he really was under pressure to win as that was his last realistic chance to change the course of the match. It's just a pity that Anand wasn't similarly aggressive earlier on in the match. And his blunder kind of spoils game 9 as far as status of one of the great games, though no doubt it was a very interesting game and a display of Carlsen's talent, his precision in defense and his positional instincts.

I hope to see more interesting championship matches in the future, as Carlsen will come to fight less tired/old and timid players.
posted by VikingSword at 12:34 PM on November 22, 2013


bac: "'he was saving everything interesting for world championships'
why would one do that? Is it about not revealing the extent of your skills in advance, or what?"

-- it's kinda like how Lance Armstrong ONLY practiced for the Tour de France, while the vast majority of cyclist raced year round. Anand, at 43, has a family now, and is a huge star with lots of money (chess, like Cricket, is front page "sports news" in India). Chess is primarily a young man's game due to the memorization and deep concentration and focus one needs to maintain for hours on end. Anand's first two losses came in endgames after 4-4.5 hours of play and many deep, long thinks.

Vikingsword:
--yeah, Carlsen said game 9 was the first time in the tournament he was actually scared. There were too many complications, and he had played into an Anand type position--dynamic and unbalanced. However, in the end, Anand couldn't find the type of moves he found against Kramnik in 2008 (a very exciting match!). I do hope this doesn't signal the end of the value of opening prep, early novelties, tactical combinations, etc. The greatest champions played very exciting chess--namely Fischer and Kasparov. I hope Carlsen doesn't just bore people into blunders, but I don't see anyone who can really challenge him (though I have high hopes for many of the young guys, especially Nakamura--who is playing more conservative,y, but still is fun to watch). Aronian, Kramnik, and Grischuk all seem too weak and old (and Ivanchuk too erratic) to beat him, but Aronian would have put up more of a fight than Anand I think.
posted by whatgorilla at 1:32 PM on November 22, 2013


Addendum:
BAC--"Is it about not revealing the extent of your skills in advance, or what?"

To some degree this is also true. He's done lousy in the few tourneys he played in this year, and some think he didn't want to give away any of his prep work--he's always been much better at matches than tournament ( just ask Kramnik). That said, he DID destroy Aronian with a prepared line at the Tata Steel Tournament this year (the last 8 moves were phenomenal).
posted by whatgorilla at 1:45 PM on November 22, 2013


(though I have high hopes for many of the young guys, especially Nakamura--who is playing more conservative,y, but still is fun to watch)

Heh, well, that particular 'young guy' is actually slightly older than Carlsen :)... no question he's a pretty brilliant player when he's on, but he's clearly more erratic than Carlsen. I don't think he'll ever challenge Carlsen for the crown, but certainly their games would be very interesting.

But that's the thing, Carlsen is still very young. My question is whether he can maintain interest - I mean, where does he go from here? What other goal is there in chess for him? Sometimes when you've hit the top early on, and you're still plenty young, your attention might wonder to see what else is life about... he still has time for a second act. Looking at the field it's hard to see viable opponents today, but the strongest player who could potentially defeat Carlsen is Carlsen.
posted by VikingSword at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2013


Yeah, Carlsen generally beats himself--he doesn't get outplayed much.
All of them are "erratic" compared to the even keel of Karp, er, Carlsen. Carlsen used to be aggressive, but has adopted a more boring but winning strategy.
Kasparov, also a WC at 22, went on to have a great career in chess, and he seems to think Carlsen is just as devoted to promoting the game. I can see him holding on to the title for 10 years, but Naka, Karjakin, Caruana or Aronian might could beat him (especially if they had the right team and the right computer team on their side)--a 12 game match is short enough for surprises to happen.
There are also a lot of 14-18 year olds who are coming up (like Wesley So and Wei Yi, who's the youngest 2600+ GM at only 14yrs, 4 months and 30 days), and could be a force to reckon with in as few as 3-5 years if they don't peter out like so many young ones do (from Josh Waitzkin to Gabriel Schwartzman).
posted by whatgorilla at 2:58 PM on November 22, 2013


I want to know if Carlsen really missed the wins today or if he just wasn't in the mood to do more than play as solid as possible, equalize and draw.
posted by whatgorilla at 3:19 PM on November 22, 2013


A lot of it is timing. You mentioned Karp, and that's also a very interesting case. I actually think Karpov is underrated. He was a phenomenally consistent player who had no significant weaknesses - sort of like Capablanca. He wasn't a freak like Alekhine, who was mostly an attacking player. A great all-around chess master. And that's where timing enters. Karpov was just a bit off his peak by the time Kasparov came around - though it could be argued that Kasparov in turn didn't hit his peak until a beat later. But who knows - Karpov at his peak might have beat Kasparov at his peak. So in a way, just because Karpov and Kasparov or whoever were active at the same time, doesn't mean those were fair matches. For that matter you could say that about Anand and Carlsen. Clearly Anand is past his prime - by quite a bit. It would have been interesting to see Anand at his peak take on Carlsen - and again, like in the Karpov/Kasparov cases, you could argue that Carlsen still has not hit his peak and is still developing and maturing as a player. It's great to see these guys matched, but it's also just the nature of life, that you rarely see these guys fighting it out when both are at their best. And that's another reason why consistency is so important. There were quite a decent number of players who in a very brief period of time were really quite unbeatable. Like poor Tal always dogged by poor health, was absolutely brilliant at his very brief peak period. So championship matches don't reflect best games played, or even best players at their respective peaks. There are so many who had a brilliant year or two and could have utterly slaughtered the nominal champion, but who just were not in a world championship match.

whatgorilla: re match 10, I think he just wanted a safe draw, it struck me. Anand was aggressive, but he had no choice, it was a hail mary, and Carlsen would have none of it. I think he just wanted to win and get out.
posted by VikingSword at 3:24 PM on November 22, 2013


Karpov had been playing at top level by 1973, and his matches with Kasparov from 1984 through 1990 were all so close that Kasparov didn't really dominate him (he just played more exciting chess); but Karpov has been consistent now for almost 40 years--rated over 2660 since 1971).

I think Karpov may have been playing a few years shy of his peak, and Kasparov was playing a few years prior to his peak, so it seems fair, but it's always fun to wonder how they'd match up at their peaks (like imagining Sampras vs Federer, etc.).

That said, I'm glad Fischer never payed Kasparov in the 90s.
posted by whatgorilla at 3:50 PM on November 22, 2013


Or Iceland. Or the Phillipines. Or Hastings.

Re-listening to One Night In Bangkok, I am now convinced that the lyricist is obsessed with ladyboys to an Alan Partridge-like degree.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:52 PM on November 22, 2013


I meant Karpov played Kaspy a few years past....not "shy" of his peak.
posted by whatgorilla at 4:01 PM on November 22, 2013


And then there's temperament. Can you control your emotions. I've known very good players who could analyze stuff and played on a different level casually, but would invariably fall apart in matches. There are a lot more factors that go into being a consistently winning player. Carlsen seems reasonably strong psychologically, though by no means exceptional - he's got his nerves too. I love the game, but I could never muster the kind of devotion necessary to reach any decent playing level at tournaments. Early on, I recognized the path - it demands you put in 100%, and I just couldn't do that... there's too much other interesting stuff out there, so I dropped out of anything other than casual play. Folks who can play at that level have unbelievable focus and determination in addition to talent.
posted by VikingSword at 4:12 PM on November 22, 2013


So, how does a player like Carlsen stack against the best computer players? Has that door closed, or can the best humans still compete?
posted by bouvin at 4:23 PM on November 22, 2013


It depends. Computers are strongest in end games due to sheer computational power and not making mistakes, and also strong in the openings because of their mastery of books - they know them all and never forget. The only chance for a human is to get to middle game without falling behind on the beginning play, and then making the middle game so complicated, dynamic and unstable, that the computer simply can't see that far ahead computationally, and is also out of the books, and then through superior positional instinct the human can pull ahead to a commanding advantage in the endgame (where they must not make any mistakes, of course). So I think it's still possible, but as these programs get more and more sophisticated (they can analyze all the games of the human opponent to spot weak points etc.), and their heuristic rules improve, the time will come when it's utterly impossible. We're still not there, but only a handful of GMs can still pull wins, seems to me.
posted by VikingSword at 4:38 PM on November 22, 2013


A very exciting series of games, this was top notch chess.
posted by Renoroc at 5:29 PM on November 22, 2013


I think either Houdini 3 64-bit or Komodo 5.1 64-bit (both running on dual processors) would beat any GM in a classical match. Houdini can run on up to like 32 cores--but on a quad-core, it's rated 3254, over 350 points higher than Carlsen. A human would have to get lucky to get into a good position since a computer can have a "book" that steers away from such openings--in the old days, humans could close the position and slowly improve while computers couldn't find a plan and just started shuffling their rooks. There's a great game out there with 271 moves where Nakamura beat Rybka by taking advantage of this (and the computer was obviously set to avoid repeating moves for a draw--which ultimately caused the loss). Naka has some fun at the end under-promoting and winning with like 6 Bishops.
posted by whatgorilla at 5:36 PM on November 22, 2013


Carlsen himself has admitted he can't beat modern engines. "It's like playing someone who is extremely stupid but who beats you anyway." (his quote from the New Yorker)
posted by jcruelty at 12:40 AM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Every now and again you hear talk about computers being the death of chess because they will get to a point where no human can beat them. This is, of course, poppycock. You might as well claim that cars will be the death of foot racing. Computers have made chess better due to being such a wonderful training aid, and more accessible due to the Internet.
posted by flabdablet at 2:20 AM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank you for your insight.
[Checks web pages] Fascinating. 60 pounds (and a reasonable PC) will get you something that would crush Deep Blue (and the puny humans, too). Considering the considerable amount of custom ASICs and wotnot in Deep Blue, this is presumably not only Moore's law at play, I assume that algorithms have improved a lot since then.
(Disclaimer: computer scientist, not a chess player).
posted by bouvin at 6:30 AM on November 23, 2013


For those interested in computer chess, there is right now going on the 48-game final match in the Thoresen Chess Engine Competition, with games played on 16-core hardware at 2-hour time control with 30 second increment each move.

Finalists being the open-source engine Stockfish (of Norwegian origin, like Magnus!), and Komodo. Both engines have made large gains in strength recently, and managed to beat the long highest-rated engine, Houdini, to the final.

There's a fair amount of sadness in the computer chess community surrounding the final, since Don Dailey, the main author of Komodo, died of leukemia soon after the match began.
posted by Anything at 4:46 PM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bouvin:
I recently read that the strongest chess engine in 2003, Shredded 7.04 (which dominated the field playing on the same hardware) scored one draw and 99 losses to Houdini, when both use the same hardware, the best chess program of 2013 (well up until recently). So software and programming seem to be making leaps and bounds.
posted by whatgorilla at 10:40 PM on November 23, 2013


In the TCEC, I wish they'd played a final with Komodo, Stockfish and Houdini. The latter only finished a point behind Komodo, and that could have just been a fluke (Houdini 3 had all draws versus Komodo, and it had 3 wins versus Bouque, whereas Stockfish and Komodo both only had one win against Bouque--though fewer wins than both against Naum and Gull).
posted by whatgorilla at 11:06 PM on November 23, 2013


« Older Items of Beauty   |   Ms. Browne's final contact with the spirits Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments