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Thread: Chess

  1. #31
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    Finally, the reason computers don't win constantly at bridge / poker etc is because of the hidden information. Can't brute force optimal plays nearly as well when you don't know what your opponent has.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4linehaiku View Post
    A grand master is supposedly thinking ~12 moves ahead or something, I forget the exact figures (which were obviously fairly vague estimates any way), but the point is they are actually considering all the available moves and plotting the optimal one, though obviously with lots of clever heuristic pruning. .
    Apparently, accordsign tot he book I mentioned above, it's much less than people assume (for most grandmasters, sure there're some freakish exceptions), and very few lines are worked out that far in advance unless acutely tactical. general strategic principles take over a lot of the time, which explains why grandmasters still fall for shrouded but not super-complicated tactical ruses sometimes, cos they simply didnt' see any danger and so didn't work out the exact moves.

  3. #33
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    Yeah, I also read somewhere that most top players don't actually plan as far ahead as you might assume they do.

    I had a conversation with my chess buddy a while back that wandered into general game theory (not a subject I know the first thing about, but anyway...) and for some reason I started wondering if it were theoretically possible to devise a game with rules that are so counterintuitive and seemingly paradoxical - but nonetheless ultimately self-consistent - that someone playing it for the first time would be relatively good but would get progressively worse the more they played it, so that a novice would in general beat a someone who'd played before.

    Um, admittedly this conversation happened in a nightclub at around 3am...
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Yeah, I also read somewhere that most top players don't actually plan as far ahead as you might assume they do.

    I had a conversation with my chess buddy a while back that wandered into general game theory (not a subject I know the first thing about, but anyway...) and for some reason I started wondering if it were theoretically possible to devise a game with rules that are so counterintuitive and seemingly paradoxical - but nonetheless ultimately self-consistent - that someone playing it for the first time would be relatively good but would get progressively worse the more they played it, so that a novice would in general beat a someone who'd played before.

    Um, admittedly this conversation happened in a nightclub at around 3am...
    I've often wondered (and admittedly, mosttly around sports, which is a bit different) what would happen if you pitted world champions against the worlds WORST players. Would they get completely thrown by the out-of-nowhere, wtf-are-you-doing moves?

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtrain View Post
    I've often wondered (and admittedly, mosttly around sports, which is a bit different) what would happen if you pitted world champions against the worlds WORST players. Would they get completely thrown by the out-of-nowhere, wtf-are-you-doing moves?
    It's not easy to think of sports or games where that would happen.

    It's reasonably easy to beat a really bad player at chess, you just follow basic positional principles, be patient and wait for them to balls up.

    Total novices can be pretty dangerous at poker, though...

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtrain View Post
    I've often wondered (and admittedly, mosttly around sports, which is a bit different) what would happen if you pitted world champions against the worlds WORST players. Would they get completely thrown by the out-of-nowhere, wtf-are-you-doing moves?
    That's an appealing thought, isn't it? I think it's far more likely the computer would just crank through a very obvious checkmate in four or five moves, however.

    You could test it against another AI (or "AS", I suppose!) making moves literally at random, I suppose.

    I expect chess ability probably exhibits 'strange loops' on occasion, whereby Player A can usually beat Player B, B can usually beat C but C can usually beat A, because a player's style may have particular strengths in certain areas but idiosyncratic weaknesses in others. Whether the same is true of chess programs, I don't know.

    However I'd have thought that most of the time the chess ability hierarchy will be simple and linear, i.e. a player generally regarded as terrible will lose to a merely bad player, the bad player will be beaten by a guy who's kind of OK, and so on up to grandmaster level.
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 01-07-2011 at 01:37 PM.
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    Apparently, accordsign tot he book I mentioned above, it's much less than people assume (for most grandmasters, sure there're some freakish exceptions), and very few lines are worked out that far in advance unless acutely tactical. general strategic principles take over a lot of the time, which explains why grandmasters still fall for shrouded but not super-complicated tactical ruses sometimes, cos they simply didnt' see any danger and so didn't work out the exact moves.
    That makes sense.

    This is why I'm always a bit careful talking about this because I don't want to end up with the classic lazy generalisation that chess is simplistic and western and calculating and rational while Go is subtle and eastern and instinctive and, like, totally zen, maaan.

    It'd be quite interesting to do brain scans of expert chess and Go players to see whether or not they're using the same parts of the brain when they plan their moves, actually.

    But perhaps not interesting enough to justify the effort...

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowtrain View Post
    I've often wondered (and admittedly, mosttly around sports, which is a bit different) what would happen if you pitted world champions against the worlds WORST players. Would they get completely thrown by the out-of-nowhere, wtf-are-you-doing moves?
    "WHY IS HE HOLDING THE RACKET WITH HIS FOOT??!"

    In chess, the simultaneous exhibitions are interesting. Excellent players can crush you (and 40 others at the same time) almost without trying, by never making stupid mistakes.
    Last edited by baboon2004; 01-07-2011 at 02:49 PM.

  9. #39
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    "In chess, the simultaneous exhibitions are interesting. Excellent players can crush you (and 40 others at the same time) almost without trying, by never making stupid mistakes."
    I was saying when I was playing against beginners last week that there are two elements that you need to be aware of - one is you have to try and think tactically but the other, arguably more important one, is you have to concentrate and not just forget that something can take your queen. When you start playing you make loads and loads of stupid mistakes and it's easy to forget that once you've stopped doing it.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothrop View Post
    That makes sense.

    This is why I'm always a bit careful talking about this because I don't want to end up with the classic lazy generalisation that chess is simplistic and western and calculating and rational while Go is subtle and eastern and instinctive and, like, totally zen, maaan.
    I can't see how anyone could call chess 'simple'...

    I'm sure its, ultimately, possible to compute the optimal Go strategy any number of moves ahead. It's just going to involve a far greater amount of branching than the equivalent number of moves in chess. Where intuition seems to come into it is that human playes use intuition to prune away the overwhelming majority of possible branches that are clearly hopeless, whereas a program (at least a naive, brute-force type program) will mechanically crank through all of them. So in Go you're just going to have to do a lot more pruning - easy for a (good) player, using intuition, but extremely laborious for a computer. But remember that it's only 14 years since Deep Blue stunned the chess worl by beating Kasparov, and now a cheap program that runs on a home PC can reliably beat grandmasters on its hardest setting. So it's only a matter of time before some combination of clever heuristics and sheer CPU power allows a Go program to beat top human players, I reckon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slothrop View Post
    It'd be quite interesting to do brain scans of expert chess and Go players to see whether or not they're using the same parts of the brain when they plan their moves, actually.
    Yeah, for sure!
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  11. #41
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    Anyone read about the new Bobby Fischer documentary? - sounds pretty interesting, all told, with contributions from Karpov, Kasparov and all the big players. Even if the review I saw did suggest that it was 'especially odd' (!) that Fischer turned out to be an anti-Semite since his own father was probably Jewish (some historical reading clearly needed), the rest of the review seemed pretty convincing that it was a film I'd like to see.

  12. #42
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    Yeah, read something about it, it sounds pretty interesting what with the whole cold war issue around his match against Karpov - especially since both players later turned out to be far from proselytisers for their respective "empires". With the father issue, I believe that it's most likely that his actual father may not have been the person who was with his mother at the time and whom he grew up believing was his father.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Yeah, read something about it, it sounds pretty interesting what with the whole cold war issue around his match against Karpov - especially since both players later turned out to be far from proselytisers for their respective "empires". With the father issue, I believe that it's most likely that his actual father may not have been the person who was with his mother at the time and whom he grew up believing was his father.
    Yeah, not sure of the family backstory, but seems that, whatever the exact story, that there was something of self-hatred in his crazy anti-Semitism (though I read his 'real' father was Hungarian Jewish? May have read too fast).

    Karpov is one scary motherfucker. Eyes like a fish. However much I dislike Kasparov, he was a welcome change from that.

    D'you ever see one of the various docus on the Spassky-Fischer match (to me one of the great sporting match-ups of all time, up there with Ali-Foreman, McEnroe-Borg etc)?

  14. #44
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    I think I meant Spassky above didn't I not Fischer.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    I think I meant Spassky above didn't I not Fischer.
    ah possibly, thought you might be referring to the whole Fischer-Karpov unconsummated thing around 1975, cos Karpov apparently has quite a large role in the film, from what I understood (but hey, Spassky is dead, I think (?), so that might be an explanation).

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