Thinking machine
April 28, 2005 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Play chess against the computer & Watch it think.
posted by growabrain (23 comments total)
Incredible post--this is bookmarked.
posted by Prospero at 7:30 AM on April 28, 2005

posted by furtive at 7:32 AM on April 28, 2005

It looks neat.. but.. most of the lines it's drawing are moves it cannot make, so I'm a bit confused as to what the "thinking" is that's really going on.

Still, looks very neat.. nice post.
posted by twiggy at 7:32 AM on April 28, 2005

Very cool.
Twiggy-I would assume that those phantom lines are actually moves it could make later. It isn't just looking one move into the future, it's looking several.
posted by OmieWise at 7:37 AM on April 28, 2005

Sorry for the DP - I checked "chess", "thinking machine", and a couple of other words, none came up -
posted by growabrain at 7:40 AM on April 28, 2005

Wow, what an exercise in humility. Thanks to some serious blunders I lost my queen in a few turns. The lines are a little confusing but given that every chessboard contains myriad possibilities (especially when you increase the amount exponentially by charting more than one move ahead), that's to be expected.
posted by Kosh at 7:42 AM on April 28, 2005

It's fascinating.

Of course, it's a big advantage to the human player that the computer reveals its future options. I wish this had existed when I was learning to play.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:43 AM on April 28, 2005

addendum: I don't understand why it thinks illegal moves that would put my king in check are "good" ones, though. Looking ahead to a time when I've moved my king so that the move no longer puts him in check, maybe?

I wonder how it determines what a "good" move is.
posted by Kosh at 7:44 AM on April 28, 2005

This illustrates just how futile it is to play a computer in chess.
posted by fungible at 9:09 AM on April 28, 2005

Where's Bobby Fisher when you need him?
posted by debralee at 9:36 AM on April 28, 2005

I suck at chess.
posted by kenko at 10:01 AM on April 28, 2005

It's quite 'pretty', but I can't work out whether it's telling me anything.


Gratuitous plug for the ChessFilter team at Gameknot
posted by daveg at 10:11 AM on April 28, 2005

For anyone interested in how it works: the minimax algorithm.
posted by skyline at 10:12 AM on April 28, 2005

Wow, that's really cool. I like how the more likely moves end up being darker, etc.

pretty too.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2005

Similarly, there's this visualization of the influence, tension, etc. that arise in a game of Go.
posted by squidlarkin at 11:33 AM on April 28, 2005

Thanks growabrain... this was beautiful and interesting at the same time. I've played my share of chess and never seen these symbols for chess employed before. Information design by Martin Wattenberg is always intriguing.

On preview, quick Post Kids article on the growing Go phenomenon here. I had never heard of it before today. (WaPo registration may be required).
posted by mania at 11:41 AM on April 28, 2005

Strangely, its not a very good player. Maybe it dazzles itself.
posted by Rumple at 12:15 PM on April 28, 2005

So... you beat the computer in how many moves, Rumple?

Great post, though I include the obligatory finger-wagging for it being a double.... since I missed it, though, I appreciate seeing it.
posted by soyjoy at 1:07 PM on April 28, 2005

It's a nice visualization of the algorithm. Pretty.
posted by jcruelty at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2005

rumple - the about page says this about the difficulty:

The chess playing engine is designed to be at the same level as the average viewer of the piece. If you're a tournament chess player, you would clobber most casual players--and you'll clobber Thinking Machine 4 too....The chess engine we built is simple and uses only basic algorithms from the 50s (alpha-beta pruning and quiescence search).
posted by carsonb at 4:49 PM on April 28, 2005

So you do alright here. Sorry, but not impressed.

See how you fare against this chess A.I.
posted by dreamsign at 7:06 PM on April 28, 2005

thanks, carson, I didn't see that. I usually get waxed by the computers so this was a pleasant if unrealistic surprise.
posted by Rumple at 7:25 PM on April 28, 2005

For those who find the plethora of coloured lines confusing (though pretty), you may like later versions of Fritz which allow you to "draw back the curtain" and watch listed moves spill through the computer's processing and watch also as it chooses certain ones over others. I find that far more comprehensible and it actually does teach good chess.
posted by dreamsign at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2005

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