February 10, 2003


I talked to a friend - my main chess connection, actually - about the match, and his reaction was concern about whether chess competition has a serious future, given that it has been "solved." This, to me, is a really strange reaction, especially for someone who really understands the nuances of chess. For people at least, a sharp distinction gets drawn between tactical and positional ability. Good tactics have more to do with calculation and move order, but position is something much harder to throw a processor at. Programs like Deep Junior have been only been able to approximate positional play with the help of endless tweaking by human grandmasters, who can assign values to particular positional circumstances. In a sense, Kasparov played against the combined chess knowledge of all the grandmasters involved with the project, backed up by a processor that never makes mistakes.

Saying the game has been "solved" admits none of this nuance. I don't know whether chess programs will be able to reliably beat grandmasters down the road, but I'm not willing to give up the ghost just yet.

Enronapab  {August 28, 2008}

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