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    Entries in computers (10)

    Friday
    Sep142012

    Icepick's Game

    A few posts back I mentioned computer cheating, and in the comments section "Icepick" noted that the ability to consult with the silicon oracle even once in a game could make all the difference in the world. He alluded to one of his own games to illustrate the point, noting that the engine later found a particularly striking winning move at one moment. (To be fair, he was winning easily without it, and had many wins until a couple of blunders at the end led to a most unfortunate loss.) He had White, and hints only that the notable blow occurs somewhere between moves 25 and 35. Here's the game:

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O d6 5. Re1 Be7 6. h3 O-O 7. c3 Nb8 8. d4 c6 9. Ba4 Nbd7 10. Nbd2 Qc7 11. Nf1 Nb6 12. Bc2 Be6 13. Ng3 Rad8 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. dxe5 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Be6 18. exd6 Bxd6 19. Nd4 Bc4 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Qf5 g6 22. Qf6+ Kh7 23. Qh4 Rh8 24. Bg5 Rde8 25. Bf6 Rhg8 26. Nf5 Bh2+ 27. Kh1 Bf4 28. Nxh6 Bxh6 29. Bg5 Rh8 30. Bxh6 Kg8 31. Qg5 Qe5 32. Qd2 Qh5 33. Bg5 Nd5 34. b3 Qg4 35. Kh2 Rxe4 36. bxc4 Nf4 37. Bxf4 Qxf4+ 38. Kg1 Qxd2 0-1

    Friday
    May182012

    Behind the Scenes with Sergey Shipov

    If you're curious to see the strong Russian GM and well-known commentator Sergey Shipov at work, here's your chance. All the videos are in Russian, but enough excerpts are translated to make it worth at least a glance.

    (Two side notes. First, I've never seen anyone type so quickly with one finger in my life. It's a pretty awesome sight. Second, I recently read someone describe my analytical work as that of a cyborg. I don't deny that I use a computer to check and extend my work, but let's get real here. Practically all responsible commentators are cyborgs now, and Shipov is using three computers simultaneously! Of course, the person describing me as a cyborg didn't refer to Shipov in the same way. Grr. Of course Shipov is a terrific player, certainly stronger than I am, but we're all cyborgs now. I haven't checked all his match commentaries yet, but I've compared a number of other ones by GM/cyborgs with my own work, and I'm not embarrassed but what I've done. Very occasionally they've found a nice line that I missed, but the vast majority of the time I've found what they have and then some - and that "some" has been relevant, not padding or irrelevancies. The point isn't to blow my horn [especially compared to Shipov, who I'm happy to praise as a player, analyst and author!] but to suggest that a decent player who is experienced with using chess engines can do very good work if he puts his mind to it.)

    Wednesday
    Apr042012

    The King's Gambit Remains Unsolved

    ...but still bad. (Mostly joking, please don't write in to protest.) The ChessBase story alleging that the King's Gambit was solved was an April Fool's joke after all, as many of you knew and almost all of us hoped. Here's their admission.

    Monday
    Apr022012

    The King's Gambit, Solved?

    Believe it or not, Vas Rajlich of Rybka fame claims to have solved the King's Gambit, and the alleged result is that after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 only (the utterly unprincipled) 3.Be2 even allows White to draw; 3.Nf3 will eventually lose to 3...d6 4.Bc4 h6 5.d4 g5 (but not 3...g5, when White again escapes with 4.h4) while 3.Bc4 is refuted (eventually) with 3...Nf6. Shortly after I started reading this article, I assumed it was an April Fool's joke, but the ChessBase page dates it April 2. So maybe it's serious?!

    Assuming it's true, readers, do you find this:

    (a) Inevitable, so we might just as well get used to it.

    (b) Depressing, a big first step to the final death of chess.

    (c) Invigorating: Go technology!

    Tuesday
    Mar202012

    Ken Regan's Cheating Detection Program Profiled in the New York Times

    The title is a bit too strong, as Ken Regan's program can certainly provide strong statistical support (or disconfirmation) for accusations of cheating, but not proof. Nevertheless, it's a useful tool with some nice fringe benefits (intrinsic performance ratings, for example, offer a comparatively objective metric for comparing past and present players). Read all about it in this New York Times profile.

    Tuesday
    Nov022010

    Kasparov on Technological Innovation

    Here's a summary of a talk Garry Kasparov gave for Palantir Technologies. One interesting remark comes in the context of computer chess, where he wishes that the triumph of chess programming had come from an artificial intelligence breakthrough rather than by brute force. What's interesting is that this echoes the approach taken by his great teacher Mikhail Botvinnik. Botvinnik was not only a world chess champion, but an engineer and programmer whose desire was just what Kasparov wished for: a truly AI-based chess program.

    HT: Brian Karen

    Tuesday
    Jun012010

    Information, Please: Chess for i-Junk?

    I'm considering getting an iPod Touch and want to know if there is ANY chess program with a halfway decent engine that will save analysis done on it. Years and years ago I had a Pocket PC and it could do it with ease with Pocket Fritz 2, but according to a friend of mine with an iPhone there is no program written for the i-market that lets you do it. (Unbelievable if true.) Does anyone know of such a program? (A further near-requirement is that it can export the saved game and its analysis to a PGN file you can copy to your traditional computer.)

    Thursday
    May202010

    An Interview With Anand, Part 2, And Topalov Interview Excerpts

    This part is a little less interesting, but there is a brief discussion of Topalov's strongest "second": Rybka 4 on a computer cluster with 114 cores - and not only that but access to an IBM super-computer capable of running 50 trillion floating point operations per second. (If my quick online research is correct, that's about a thousand times faster than even a really souped-up home system.)

    Have a look here, too. After a recap of the first part of the Anand interview, there's a brief interview with Topalov. Kind of amazingly to my mind, he boasts about what he takes to have been his superior preparation against Anand, as if having access to a super-computer reflects favorably on his abilities. He also reiterates his triumphalist story about game 1, as if it wasn't just decided by a one-move blunder which Anand claims was the product of mixing up his moves.

    Anyway, Topalov aside, the idea of chess preparation moving to the super-computer stage is slightly nauseating to me. I'm no Luddite and I find the progress of opening theory interesting, but is it really the game we play and are trying to understand when Blue Gene blinks on to tell us at depth 55* that our favorite opening variation loses unless we find 27 only-moves in a row? I guess it's not that bad yet, since Topalov, for all his (alleged) dominance in the openings, (allegedly) better nerves, relative youth and better physical condition still couldn't beat Anand, but how long do we have before machine prep renders the gap between those with access and those without unbridgeable?

     

    * Depth 55 is a made-up figure, but can anyone out there tell us what sorts of depths such a machine would reach in a given time period, using Rybka or Fritz or some other contemporary engine on a desktop computer as a benchmark?

    Monday
    May172010

    Can We Solve Chess One Day?

    That's the title of a guest blog by computer scientist Ken Regan, who also happens to be an IM and a regular commenter on this site. Have a look!

    Sunday
    Feb072010

    The Role of Computers in Planning Chess Strategy

    That's the title of an article by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, a computer professional who happens to be the mother of Hikaru Nakamura's second, Kris Littlejohn. It's an interesting read (one factoid that caught my eye was Nakamura memorizing 500-1000 moves of opening prep before each game, which is a lot, although I suspect he already knew at least a fair amount of it), but I do have two quibbles/additions/clarifications.

    First, the author mentions that ChessBase 10 runs 349 euros/almost $500 and that ChessBase Lite is free. Both statements are true, but the best deal by far is to download ChessBase 2009 and buy the activation key. Then, for well under $100, you have ChessBase 10, albeit without a database. As there are ways to buy databases for far, far, far less than $400, you still come out way ahead.

    Second, she writes that once Nakamura knows the "colors" in the tournament, his second gets busy doing specific prep for the opponents, looking for novelties, etc. I suspect this is a slight misunderstanding on her part, as this information is only known the day before play starts, when the players draw for lots to receive their pairing numbers. Considering how far in advance she reports on their accumulating data on forthcoming opponents, I doubt they'd wait until the night before the first game to start looking for novelties.

    Quibbles aside, it's a good read, and you'll get to see what hardware they use in their prep, too.

    HT: Nate Criss