Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

“Chess is like looking out over a vast open ocean; checkers is like looking into a bottomless well.”

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The quotation is by Marion Tinsley, the greatest checker player who ever lived, who is the subject of Alexis Madrigal’s article in the Atlantic. From the article, this anecdote:

. . . When Tinsley came to Edmonton in 1991 to play the friendly matches against Chinook, Schaeffer was also blown away that the world champion would agree to play this computer for fun.

The two men sat in his office and began the matches, Schaeffer moving for Chinook and entering changes in the game into the system. The first nine games were all draws. In the tenth game, Chinook was cruising along, searching 16 to 17 moves deep into the future. And it made a move where it thought it had a small advantage. “Tinsley immediately said, ‘You’re gonna regret that.’” Schaeffer said. “And at the time, I was thinking, what the heck does he know, what could possibly go wrong?” But, in fact, from that point forward, Tinsley began to pull ahead.

“In his notes to the game, he later wrote that he had seen all the way to the end of the game and he knew he was going to win,” Schaeffer said.

The computer scientist became fixated on that moment. After the match, he ran simulations to examine what had gone wrong. And he discovered that, in fact, from that move to the end of the game, if both sides played perfectly, he would lose every time. But what he discovered next blew his mind. To see that, a computer or a human would have to look 64 moves ahead.

“I was absolutely stunned,” Schaeffer told me. “How do you compete with somebody whose understanding of the game is so deep that he immediately knows through experience or knowledge or doing some amazing search that he was gonna win that position?” . . .

Written by LeisureGuy

19 July 2017 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Games, Technology

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