World Chess Challenge: Kramnik vs. Machine

Kramnik will take on Deep Fritz starting tonight in a six match game. I expect he’s got very little chance – especially the way he played against Topalov. He played better than Topalov and Topalov is a great player, but . . . Topalov didn’t play that well against him (except in a couple of games) and Kramnik made quite a few bad mistakes. But we’ll see. Troppodillians will be amongst the first group of people not particularly interested in chess to find out!

Kramnik has this to say.

Fritz examines millions of moves per second. It is extraordinarily difficult to play against such a calculating monster. Right from the start you are walking on a very narrow ridge, and you know that any inattentiveness will be your downfall. It is a scientific experiment and I will have to fight very hard for my chance

Well, I guess we can be grateful that we live in an age in which humans do beat the best computers . . . in some games anyway.

A matter of some interest is that chess computers never got anywhere until they began aping humans ability to recognise patterns. In other words their strength in analysing millions of moves per second didn’t rate against humans’ ability to recognise patterns until they worked out ways to train computers to recognise patterns and added to that their monster calculating abilities.

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James Farrell
James Farrell
15 years ago

But what does ‘recognise patterns’ mean? If that’s the key concept in your post, isn’t it worth spelling out a bit? Does it mean seeing something familiar in a particular configuration and thinking, ‘I’ve come across this situation before, and it lead to the knight taking the bishop four moves later, so I should avoid it while I still can’? If so, does it mean the computers are fed a database past matches which they can scan? If not…