Man and Machine – How Computers Affect the Game of Chess – News

Man and Machine - How Computers Affect the Game of Chess - News
Contents

The computer is superior to humans at chess. Learn from the machine. This changes the game and the rules.

Chess has more positions than atoms in the visible universe. Normally, there are 20 to 40 possible moves, says Richard Forster, an international expert, AI expert, and author: “You can usually calculate a few moves, and then you have to make an assessment.” Even a world champion cannot constantly think of a game to the end. However, strong players intuitively recognize three or four characters worth considering, says Richard Forster.

Practice creates masters

In order to get to this point, you have to deal with chess for years: playing, analyzing other people’s games, memorizing the slots, and thus absorbing as many patterns as possible.

Computers also have to make decisions, because the complexity of chess confuses the machine. Even computers cannot calculate every possible step in advance and have to make a choice. To do this, programmers gave the machine human experience, such as historical games or opening strategies.

Learn while playing

That changed in 2017 with the AlphaZero software. The developers at DeepMind only taught the program the rules of chess – and above all the ability to learn from your mistakes like children. Then they let AlphaZero play against themselves. After about four hours, the program had reached the level of a great master – at least.

Richard Forster explains that the gap today between himself and world champion Magnus Carlsen is smaller than the gap between Carlsen and a chess computer.

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Analyzes show that AI plays differently from humans. “The program is doing maneuvers that were previously neglected,” says Richard Forster. So the pawn is used to the edge early on, which leads to an advantage in the long run.

The machine changes people

Chess programs also affect the game in other ways. “It is no longer possible to prepare for a game without a computer,” said Nico Georgiadis, chief educator and one of the strongest players in Switzerland currently.

The 26-year-old feels that because of computers, many young players become very good very quickly. “You used to sit at the board and study the editorials. I needed the help of others.” Today, computers show you how the slot works, which makes a lot of things easier.

Since machines are significantly superior to humans, all means should be used to prevent opponents from accessing a computer during the game. Since the strong player knows any three or four important characters, a small hint from a partner in the audience is enough to gain an advantage.

The professional does not need detailed instructions for the following movements. That is why the regulations had to be modified, eg there were no longer periods of rest.

Nico Gorgadis hopes that computers will not improve. For him, it would be the end of chess if the machine could always calculate the move to the end. We’re still far from that, said the old master. It will remain that way for a long time to come.

On September 30th at 2:20 p.m. at SRF 3

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