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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Chess Engines
Posted: January 17, 2020 at 3:42 am
Chess teams that pair humans with machines beat humans alone and beat unaccompanied machines. The lesson is that workers should not fear being replaced by technology, says Xavier Litt.
While Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg hails artificial intelligences potential to make the world better, many others are far more cautious.
Tesla boss Elon Musk has warned against machines taking over the world. Reluctance to technical progress is not a new phenomenon.
In 19th century Britain, the Luddites, worried about being replaced by technology, sought to destroy textile machinery.
The fear persists, all the more since AI is improving by the day, including at tasks previously thought of as exclusive to human intelligence.
In 1997, the IBM computer Deep Blue spectacularly defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov for the first time.
Many commentators were shocked by the prowess of AI in a strategy game often referred to as the king of games.
AI has moved beyond being a super calculator and most advanced machines will be prominent in strategic thinking and creativity.
While many people worry about being overtakenby some form of Skynet, the artificial intelligence defence system from the Terminator film franchise, the last 20 years of computer usage in the game of chess actually suggests the future could be a lot more positive.
Chess was one of the first areas tackled by AI, making it an interesting case study. In hindsight, AI brought chess and its human players to previously unattainable heights.
Advanced chess computers helped humans improve their own skills. Nowadays, top chess players spend most of their time analysing the game via computers.
AI can be used to re-evaluate positions that were previously misunderstood or to rule out moves that are inefficient and focus, instead, on more promising game plans.
This evolution occurred despite critics lamenting the end of chess when the machines first defeated man in 1997.
Though it was feared at the time, chess players have not given up on the game.
They trained harder and became stronger than players of the past. Rather than competing against AI, chess players utilised it.
The benefit of teaming up with AI is illustrated by a new game mode, cyborg chess.
It is named after the cybernetic organism, an entity with both organic and mechanical body parts.
As in a typical chess match, the human players face each other across a chessboard, but in cyborg chess they also each have a computer, running chess engines.
While AI is superior to the human brain in a one-to-one chess contest, human players still contribute to the team.
Humans may let the machines make most of the calculations, but, ultimately, they have their own understanding of the game.
In some situations, human players make better decisions than machines, and successful cyborg chess players know when they can let the machine decide on the move to play, and when they shouldnt.
Hence, the best cyborg chess team is higher ranked than the best chess engine. This means that the association of human intelligence and AI outperforms stand-alone AI.
Another crucial teaching of cyborg chess is that there is a specific skill set for collaboration with AI.
The ability to work efficiently with AI matters more for cyborg chess players than their standalone strength in chess. Several cyborg chess competitions were not won by the strongest attending chess players.
For instance, in the PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament in 2005, three chess grandmasters could notdefeat the team Zacks, comprised of two average club players using less powerful AI than the grandmasters.
However, the latter were extremely well-prepared. They had trained extensively with several chess engines and had selected the one they understood the most.
In a one-to-one game againsta grandmaster, these two amateurs would have less than 1% chance of winning.
Hence, this stunning performance suggests that although mastering chess is a valuable skill for cyborg chess, it is not the main skill.
Instead, fruitful collaboration with AI is the key skill.
This example teaches us that humans and machines have complementary capabilities.
Machines supervised by humans are often capable of doing more than machines or humans on their own.
This is becoming common in many fields: plane pilots assisted with auto-pilot programmes, computer-assisted surgeons for complex surgeries, and many others.
AI will increasingly be used in the near future and automated tasks will bring forth new jobs.
A recent study of the Institute for the Future and Dell Technologies states that 85% of jobs that will be occupied in 2030 do not exist yet; just as countless jobs that exist today were unimaginable 20 years ago.
These new jobs will most certainly revolve around this specific human-machine collaboration skill.
Since machines first defeated humans 20 years ago, the evolution of chess suggests that AI need not be feared; it can be embraced and pave the way for continuous improvement in all fields.
The key is to switch from competition to collaboration with AI. Businesses should neither turn away from AI nor simply replace employees with machines.
Success will come from creating adapted teams of men and machines working together.
We humans should primarily focus on improving our understanding of AI by honing our human-machine collaboration skills.
Xavier Litt is chief executive of Skylads, an AI-driven, digital marketing research lab and technology provider
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Posted: at 3:42 am
The Women's World Championship match between defending World Champion Ju Wenjun and her challenger Aleksanda Goryachkina is proving to be a tough struggle. The first three games ended in draws, but they were hard fought.Then the pair traded wins, before a sixth-game drawbrought the first half, played in Shanghai, to a dead-heat close. Let's get caught up:
Report on Games 1 & 2All stories on the Women's World Championship
After the first rest day, Goryachkina took the white pieces and once again played1.d4 as in game one, but this time asemi-Tarrasch defence came on board.The opening's popularity was revived severalyears ago by the likes of Vladimir Kramnik, and later picked up by Chinese starsWang Hao and HouYifan.
Semi-Tarrasch: A universal weapon against 1.d4
Even though the Semi-Tarrasch cannot offer a complete repertoire against 1.d4, being conditioned of Whites move order, it is an excellent complement to the Nimzoindian Defence. Throughout history, great players like Fischer, Kortschnoj and Kramnik have included the Semi-Tarrasch in their repertoire which strongly speaks about its safe character and Blacks possibilities for counterplay. GM Mihail Marin presents a complete Semi-Tarrasch repertoire for Black, explaining the main strategic ideas of the resulting structures.
The structure resembles the Gruenfeld defence andusually continues as Ju played7...cxd4 8.cxd4 b4 9.d2. White has a strong pawn centre, against Black's queenside majority. After the opening, the game was roughly balanced with both sides looking for some way to gain an edge.
Der WM-Kampf der Frauen
On the 23rd move, Black decided againstwhat was in retrospect a good option.
After 23.d3, Black was able to play 23...e5 here. Since 24...xf3 is a huge threat, 24.dxe5 xd3 is practically forced and White's centre would have lost much of its dynamic potential. Instead, Black opted for 23...dc8.
A few moves later, the players reached this position:
After 31.c4, 31...c5 was the right reaction, but Ju played 31...exd5 and lost a pawn after the intermediate move 32.xb6!b7 33.xd5. Even so, it was not enough to win. After exchanging the remaining major pieces, Goryachkina went into a rook endgame with her extra pawn and pressed until move85, but to no avail.
The match was tied at 1:1.
Aleksandra Goryachkina stares down her opponent
Ju took the leadwith a win in the fourth game. At first, it looked as if this game would also end in a draw, but the world champion pull out the point in a pawn endgame.
Queen's Gambit Accepted Powerbook 2019
How do you play the Queen's Gambit Acceptedt? Does White have promising variations or can Black construct a water-tight repertoire? The Powerbook provides the answers based on 195 000 games, most of them played by engines.
Ju returned to her regular opening move 1.d4 after surprising with 1.e4in game two. Her young Russian opponent chose a variation of the Queens Gambit Accepted via transposition.
Black did not play 5...f5 here, leading to a Slav, but instead 5...e6. After 6.e3 c5, Black lost a tempo compared to the main line (c7-c6-c5 instead of c7-c5 in one move), but having provokeda4, can aim to exploit the hole onb4. This idea came from Vladimir Alatortsev in the 1940s, was then forgotten before being picked up again by players from Vietnam in the early 2000s. In the past, this might have been called the "Vietnamese variation". This line became popular after Vladimir Kramnik used it in 2004 in a game of his World Championship match against Peter Leko and earned a quick draw. After that, other top players had confidence in this idea, not least of whom was Magnus Carlsen.
Ju Wenjun lines up her next move
After a few natural developing moves, the playersreached this position:
The main move here is 10.e2. Instead, Ju liquidated her isolated pawn with 10.d5, which is a common motif in this type of position, but often also releases the tension. That was the case here too, but White kept a slight initiative and reached an endingin which her own king was a little more secure.
Soon the last minor pieceswere exchangedand the drawing chances in the queen-onlyendgame apparently increased. However as has been a hallmark of this competition so far the players fought on.
White has advanced herpawn to a6, which gives the queen a base on b7. With 44.f3 she activatesthe king. The game is still objectively balanced, but Black is under pressure. A few moves later this position was on the board:
Chess Endgames 3 - major piece endgames
The third part of the endgame series tackles queen endings, rook against minor pieces, queen against rook and queen against two rooks. Queen endings are not nearly as mysterious as they appear at first sight. Knowing a few rules of thumb and principles will make things very much easier for you.Over 7 hours video training.
Black covered her a-pawn with 50...e7, allowing the transition to the pawn endgame. However, this is lost.
She could have still defended with 50...e8. If 51.xa7 then 51...d5 with perpetual check.
Instead, after 51.xe7 xe7 52.g4 d6 White is winning.
(52...hxg4+ 53.xg4 e6 54.f4 f5+ 55.g5 f7 56.h5 gxh5 57.xh5 f6 58.h6 +-)
53.gxh5 gxh5 54.e4 c6 55.f4(55.f5? b5 56.xf6 b4 57.f4 xb3 58.f5 c4 is not enough.)
55...b5 56.d5 +- f5 57.d6 b6 (57...xa6 58.c6 leads to the game. [Not 58.xc5 a5 59.c4 b6 60.d4 a5 61.e5 b5 62.xf5 b4 63.g5 xb3 64.f5 a4 65.f6 a3 66.f7 a2 67.f8 a1 with draw.]58...a5 59.xc5 +-)
58.d7 a5 59.c7 xa6 60.c6 a5 61.xc5 a6 62.b4 b7 63.d5 1-0
A fierce fight arose as early as the opening:
4.e5 is by far the most common move but Goryachkina choose 4.cxd5.
12...e4 was the first new move, and it looks more ambitious that 12...e6 which came before (e.g. Nepomniachtchi vs Anand, Batumi 2018):
13.xb7 This looks like the only good move for White.13...c8 Black can handle the dangers on the a4-e8 diagonal and the pawn deficit is not yet a factor.14.g5(Here 14.g5 was the better move. Not only is there a mate threat on f7, but also e5-e6 or f2-f3 are in the cards. Perhaps the bishop retreat to e6 really is better.
Ju tooksome bold decisions for example when she decided to go into an endgame down the exchange:
21...cxd4!? The world champion gets a strong pawn in the middle of the board as compensation, but21...g6 was a more cautious alternative.
Thingsmight have worked out for the Chinese, but forone last mistake:
29...g6 only after this move is Black in truly dire straits.(After29...d5, White would have to be careful:30.g4?! [30.e8 is better]d3 31.d1 d2 32.h2 e5=).
30.f4! Goryachkina, still had some work to do, but was on the path to victory, restoring equality to the match score.
The Russian bouncing back in Game 5
The game offered an interesting insight into the interaction between bishops and pawns. A bishop which is hemmed in by its own pawns on the same colour squaresis generally considered "bad". On the other hand, these pawns are also defended by the bishop and thus protected from theopposing army. And pawns so anchoredhave the ability to constrict an opposing bishopof the same colour. The players had to deal with such questions, mindful of the associated opportunities and risks.
Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3
The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest openings which continues to enjoy high popularity from club level to the absolute world top. In this video series, American super GM Fabiano Caruana, talking to IM Oliver Reeh, presents a complete repertoire for White.
Concentration before the "kick-off"
Iranian arbiter Shohreh Bayat is the first and only international category A arbiter in Asia. She is also the only female general secretary of a sports association in Iran. She is currently the chief arbiterin the Women's World Championship match. This should be cause for celebration inthe Iranian chess community.Yet now Bayat may be unable to return home!
Video interview with Bayat in 2019
As the German news media ARD Tagesschau reports,Iranian websites loyal to the hardline religious leadership were hostile towards Bayat, alleging that she did not properly wear a hijab or Islamic headscarf during the match as required for Iranian women, and implying that she was engaged in some sort of political protest.
In fact,Bayat dutifully worea headscarf, but in an elegant and unobtrusive way, commonfor many young Iranian women,especially when visiting countries where the custom is unusual and certainly not compulsory.
Bayat rejects the assumption that she was engaged in any sort of politicalprotest. Yet, the Iranian Chess Federation even went so far as to request a written apology from its official representative and instruct her to wear a particularly formal headscarf from now on.
Instead, Shohreh Bayat boldly took another approach: she omitted the headscarf completely.
Bayat, with long brown hair freely flowing
Speaking to ARD:
"I asked the Iranian Chess Federation to assure me in writing that I could return to Iran without worrying about my security," she says. "When I didn't get an answer to that, it was clear to me that it was not safe for me to return, and that it made no difference whether I wore the headscarf or not."
Nigel Short, as Vice President, FIDE's official representative at this World Cup, expressed concern for referee Shohreh Bayat and stressed that FIDE was very happy with her performance.
With the departure of Alireza Firouzja, the Iranian Chess Federation has just lost its greatest talent of all time and is now in the process of alienating another high-ranking chess personality. It's a dark time for this burgeoning chess power.
Click or tap any result to open directly viaLive.ChessBase.com
"Vladivostok" that means something even to people who are usually not geography buffs. The end point of the "Trans-Siberian Railway" lies in the far east of the Russian expanse, on the coast of the Sea of Japan, not far from the only 19 km long land border between Russia and North Korea. The second half of the World Championship match between Ju and Goryachkina will be played in Vladivostok starting Thursday.
As the Russian city is still further east than Shanghai, chess fans who want to watch the live broadcast of the games from Europe will have be up bright (or dark as it's January after all!) and early at6:30 in the morning. In New York, night owls can tune in a half past midnight!
Commentary by GM Nigel Short & WGM Zhang Xiaowen | FIDE chess on YouTube
Klaus Besenthal contributed reportingTranslation from German: Macauley Peterson
Originally posted here:
Posted: at 3:42 am
Wesley So took time out to thank the Lord for an early winafter Vishy Anands bishop sacrifice backfired in Round 2 of the Tata SteelMasters. There were also wins for Vladislav Artemiev over Nikita Vitiugov,Daniil Dubov over Vladislav Kovalev and Jeffery Xiong over Day 1 hero Jordenvan Foreest, with those four winners catching Alireza Firouzja in the leadafter the 16-year-old missed a great chance to beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda. MagnusCarlsen remains on 50% after a 31-move draw against Yu Yangyi that left him justtwo games short of setting an undisputed unbeaten streak.
You can replay all the games and check out the pairings fromthe Tata Steel Masters using the selector below:
And heres the days commentary from Peter Svidler and JanGustafsson:
Remember there are two offers available when you Go Premiumduring Tata Steel Chess!
In Round 2 of the Tata Steel Masters the only complete non-eventwas the game of World Champion MagnusCarlsen, who played the Najdorf against Yu Yangyi but got absolutely nothing. He commented later that obviouslyits not inspiring:
I tried to be clever in the opening and I feel like I justended up tricking myself and he was a bit better, but he didnt play the mostambitious way and then it just petered out to a draw.
In a way the 31-move draw suited both players. Yu Yangyi gotback on track after losing in Round 1, while Magnus is now just one good resultagainst Jeffery Xiong away from matching Sergei Tiviakovs claim of a 110-gameunbeaten streak.
That draw left 16-year-old Alireza Firouzja with an opportunity to move a full point ahead ofthe World Champion, who seemed to catch Jan-KrzysztofDuda off-guard by playing the Queens Gambit Accepted. Duda offered anearly queen exchange only to end up worse with White by move 7 and lateradmitted the best that could be said of his performance was that hed survived:
Its kind of a miracle, isnt it? Today I was basicallymissing everything. I even missed 23Nc2!after 23.Kc4?, which is of coursekindergarten level, but I was lucky enough to draw.
For a second day in a row Duda was in deep trouble, with thetwin threats of Ne3+ and Na3+ hard to parry, but after 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Rf3 and a few inaccurate moves from Alireza thedanger had passed. It was even White who had any winning chances by the time adraw was agreed on move 39.
The longest game of the round saw Anish Giri pressing for a win against Fabiano Caruana in a sharp theoretical line of the Nimzo-IndianDefence thats covered in Jan Gustafssons ARepertoire against 1.d4: Part 3: The Nimzo-Indian Defence:
Here Jan suggests 13Bxc3 in his repertoire, while Caruanainstead went for 13gxf4. As isoften the case in modern chess, all the mayhem ultimately only led to aslightly better endgame for White, though when Giri picked up a pawn he wasabsolutely within his rights to press until a draw was agreed on move 63.Afterwards Anish mentioned a very interesting idea suggested by Fabi for move23:
23.f4! is a pawn sacrifice to gain complete control in thecentre, while after 23.hxg3 Bxe5 24.Rd7material was equal and White was better, but some of the tension had beenreleased.
In any case, that meant Anish Giri had started this yearsWijk aan Zee by getting the better of opening struggles against the world numbers 1 and 2. Anish commented:
Thats good, but its early to say. So far the tournamentjust started and I think the people in the lead are not the ones who are goingto eventually win, so basically the standings are irrelevant.
That brings us to the days four wins:
We mentioned in ourpreview that you could make a case for WesleySo being Magnus Carlsens most likely challenger in Wijk aan Zee, given theUS star has won the event before and doesnt have the distraction some of hisrivals have of preparing for the Candidates. That case has been strengthened byWesley revealing in the post-game interview that he now has a second workingfor him again, since Wesleys previous peak coincided with his work withVladimir Tukmakov. The unnamed second wasnt the first person Wesley thanked,however:
Id like to thank the Lord for an early win Hopefully thiswill be a better year than last year, because last year around the middle ofthe year I wasnt playing very well, but then in December I was playing a bitbetter, also online I was playing a bit better, and then today I won, sohopefully its a good sign that good things are coming to my chess. Also Idlike to thank my second who works with me online, but I cant name him yetbecause we didnt agree on that, but actually this was his idea, this 7.h3, 8.Bb3.
Our commentary team noted that it was an uncommon way tohandle the Giuoco Piano position in the game nowadays, and a crisis arose onmove 12:
Vishy Anand herethought for almost 12 minutes before going for what Wesley called the totallyunexpected sacrifice 12Bxf2+!?.Afterwards Wesley said 12Qe8 was the best, when its almost totally equal,while he said that Vishy mentioned the interesting 12Nd5!? after the game.
Wesley had looked at the sacrifice in advance until 13.Kxf2 Ng4+ 14.Kg1 Ne3 15.Qe2 Nxc2 16.Rb1,but he said he didnt look deeply, and this may be one of those cases wheredeeper analysis was required to accurately assess the position. Wesley knewthe computer liked his position a lot, but in fact the advantage drains away asyou continue the lines, and it was with some justification that he feared arepeat of the 2004 Kramnik-Leko World Championship match. Back then Peter Leko founda hole in Vladimir Kramniks preparation at the board and went on to score awin that could have altered chess history. In this case, however, the hole wasonly that the position seems still to have been completely equal until 22.Qxe5:
Here Black can hold with 22Nxg2! and is only in troubleafter 22Raf8?!, which Wesley metwith 23.Qg3 rather than the computerssuggested killer, 23Qg5! Peter Svidler took that as a cue to reflect on theinfluence of engines on modern chess:
Challenge accepted! In this case the difference seems to bethat in the game after 23.Qg3 Blacksbest defence is 23R8f6 with Rg6 next, but after 23.Qg5 h6 24.Qg3 Black nolonger has that option, since without a pawn on h7 the rook would be en priseon g6.
That was ultimately academic, since Vishy played 23Qe2?!, missing Wesleys devastatingreply:
Black would have good chances of survival if not for 24.b4!!, threatening both Rb3 and Bb2.Vishy thought for almost 17 minutes but there was nothing to find, and after 24Rxg2+ 25.Rxg2 Nxg2 26.Qg4 Black resigned rather than trying to play on in what would have been ahopeless ending.
There was a pattern in Round 2, with the other three winsfor the players with the white pieces also owing a lot to successful openingplay. Daniil Dubov played a nearnovelty with 7.Qf4 and felt he wasmore or less winning when VladislavKovalev played 10Qxd6!? insteadof 10Bxd6:
Daniil had a 50-minute advantage on the clock by this stage,and although he was kicking himself I think in general I played like anidiot! he begins his post-game interview the plan he followed gets the computersstamp of approval. Kovalev was playing on increments by move 22 while Dubovstill had 50 minutes, and the Belarusian duly collapsed under the pressure. Vladislav hastherefore started with 0/2.
There was a similar pattern in Xiong-Van Foreest. Jorden, who started the day as co-leader, hadblitzed out most of his moves in a 3.Bb5+Sicilian, but 19Rc3? was a mistakethat saw him respond to 20.Bf2! withan epic 54-minute think.
That meant that even when he got back in the gamelater on he was doomed by the clock situation:
30Kf8! and Black has a playable position, but good luckfinding such only moves with under two minutes on your clock. Jorden insteadplayed 30Bh4? and Jeffery, whostill had almost half an hour, replied 31.g3!,when it was game over. Heres Jeffery talking about the game and his upcoming clash withMagnus Carlsen in Round 3:
Weve arguably left the days most impressive game to last,as 21-year-old Russian VladislavArtemiev scored a remarkably smooth win over his compatriot Nikita Vitiugov. Artemiev identifiedthe innocuous-looking 12a5?! as a bigmistake:
He set about proving that immediately with 13.Nb3! and the later plan of 16.Be3! and 17.Bb6! to target the weakness. It was fitting that the game endedwith Vladislav finally putting the pawn out of its misery with 50.Nxa5:
Artemiev had more trouble with everyday matters!
Yes, its my first visit in Wijk aan Zee and its a newexperience for me. Ok, the weather is cold, but Im from Russia and its usualfor me. Ok, and one problem is many shops close early, so I cannot go after theround, but still its not a big problem. I will have a few free days and I doit here Shopping, maybe souvenirs forfamily and maybe some milks or drinks.
That leaves a 5-way tie for first between Xiong, Dubov, So,Artemiev and Firouzja, though with 11 rounds to go that means almost nothingyet!
Once again there were only wins for veterans in theChallengers, if you can call 31-year-old RaufMamedov and 34-year-old Jan Smeetsveterans and in this field, you probably can!
The win by Smeets over 15-year-old rising star Nodirbek Abdusattorov was particularlyimpressive given that Jan has essentially quit top-level chess since he lastplayed in Wijk aan Zee in 2013. Im glad to be back, he said, adding, Ofcourse I want to qualify for the Masters now! How would he expect playing inthe top group to go? To be frank, I think I would suffer like hell in the Mastersgroup!
Games to look forward to in Round 3 includeCarlsen-Xiong (Magnus won their previousgame in the 2017 Isle of Man Open), Anand-Giri and Firouzja-Artemiev.Follow all the action live here on chess24 from 13:30 CET: Tata Steel Masters | Tata Steel Challengers
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Posted: November 23, 2019 at 11:44 am
11/20/2019 Garry Kasparov became, at the age of 22, the youngest World Champion in chess history. His famous matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue brought chess and artificial intelligence into the mainstream. Now, hes focusing on the quiet war Russia is waging against U.S. democracy. Last week he sat down on the PBS show (in collaboration with CNN) Amanpour and Company and, with Miles OBrien, discussed everything from computer chess, troll farms to election interference.
Master Class Vol.7: Garry Kasparov
On this DVD a team of experts gets to the bottom of Kasparov's play. In over 8 hours of video running time the authors Rogozenko, Marin, Reeh and Mller cast light on four important aspects of Kasparov's play: opening, strategy, tactics and endgame.
A recent addition to the stable of shows on American public television,Amanpour and Companyis aone-hour public affairs seriesfeaturing, as described on its 'about' page, "wide-ranging, in-depth conversations with global thought leaders and cultural influencers on the issues and trends impacting the world each day, from politics, business and technology to arts, science and sports."
Garry Kasparov's appearance was published on November 12th:
Here is some of the main chess-related points in the interview:
Miles O'Brien: Take us back to 1997, and a match, a quite celebrated match, between you and a machine. Going into that tournament in 1997, did you think humans still have supremacy?
Garry Kasparov, chess grandmaster & activist: Yes. Most likely. We experienced troubles against some chess engines like Fritz or Deep Junior. And I think one thing we couldnt understand is that the machine would always have a steady hand. So its not about solving the game which is mathematically impossible, the number of legal words in the game of chess. According to Claude Shannon, its I think 10 to the 46th power. But its about making mistakes. So Deep Blue was by todays standards, todays chess engine standards, not sort of a great success. The free chess app on your mobile is probably stronger than Deep Blue. Try chess engines that you can buy online and put on your laptop: they are so much stronger than the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen. The gap between the world champion today and a chess engine, just an ordinary one that you can buy online is the same between say Usain Bolt and a Ferrari.
OBrien: People have looked at that moment and seen it as a pivot point. You think thats overstating it?
Kasparov: For me, that was a revelation that started human versus machine. We should look for human plus machine, for a collaboration. Anything that can be classified as a closed system, the machine will be better. If we know how to do it, a machine will do it better. So whether its game of chess, any video game, Texas Hold Em Poker, machines will do it better. For a simple reason: not because they play perfectly theres no perfection to the universe. No machine will ever reach 100%. They will make a few mistakes. Its about precision, its about vigilance during the game that no humans could sustain.
OBrien: I think its probably accurate to say that youre the first knowledge worker in the world who had his job replaced by machine.
Kasparov: Again, "replaced" is overstatement. Threatened, endangered, challenged. Because the chess hasnt stopped. People are still playing chess. Actually, chess is far more popular today than it used to be 25 years ago. One of the reasons, actually: computers. More people can follow chess games and while understanding what is happening. So theres simple to have their computer at their elbow. They look at the game played by the top players, the world championship match and they dont need even commentaries. Okay commentaries are always nice, but they can look at their computer screen and they can know exactly whats happening.
OBrien: So are you making a larger point about technology here? We always fear that technology is going to displace us in some fashion. But it doesnt always turn out that way, does it?
Kasparov: It never did. I mean the problem is that while those who are spreading this fear, this army of doom-sayers, they are ignoring the fact that many times in history, the humanity faced this kind of challenges. Many industries have been ruined, jobs lost, people got desperate. But then we move forward. And I think now its we simply ignore the fact that technology is the main reason why so many of us are still alive to complain about technology. Just look at the average lifespan, the quality of life, thanks to technology. Its a human pride we always thought that our cognitive skills will never be challenged. Its the same story. I think eventually it helps us to become more human, to become more creative. I mean you can sit passively, waiting for technology to change your life around us. But you can be more proactive and look for ways to free us, to inspire our creativity and to help us to realize our grandest dreams.
Read (and listen to) the rest of the very interesting interview on PBS.
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Posted: at 11:44 am
11/23/2019 Chess is spread all over the city of Kolkata! Amidst the hoopla of the opening ceremonies, IM SAGAR SHAH managed to do a small quiz with the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi and Erwin l'Ami. The quiz dealt with the best games of Anand's chess career (because the players were in India and Vishy will turn 50 in a few days!) and the players had to guess Anand's best move and also the opponent in the game. Magnus Carlsen impressed one and all with his memory! Check out how he and the others fared!
Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen
Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.
The opening day is when you findthe participants in the most relaxed frame of mind. Not affected by losses yet, nor tensed aboutwinning the event, you are able to get the best out of them when it comes to interviews. That's the reason why I prepared a quiz for them! What was the topic of the quiz? Well, when Amruta and I visited the Tal Memorial in 2018, we decided to ask the players if they recollected the gems from the games of the great Mikhail Tal. Now that the players were in India and also Vishy Anand would be celebrating his 50th birthday, it looked obvious to ask them to recognizesome of Anand's gems! I managed to get four players to solve these positions Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi and Anish's second Erwin l'Ami.
Carlsen holding the sheets of paper in his hand and trying to think about the answers! | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour
So which were the positions that were given to them and howdid these players fare? Well, we will put down these positions here. Try your hand at them and then have a look at how these super GMs performed!
Magnus and Vidit were the best performers scoring 8.0/9.But the ninth position was theone that no onecould solve! Magnus was very impressive because he could remember not only the move (that he could even work out by looking at the position), but he also knew the name of the tournament and the year in which it was held!Now this issimply tremendous!
Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen
Let endgame expert Dr Karsten Mller show and explain the finesses of the world champions. Although they had different styles each and every one of them played the endgame exceptionally well, so take the opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best endgames in the history of chess.
The 'Magnusificent' memory of Carlsen
My Career Vol. 1 and 2
The first DVD with videos from Anand's chess career reflects the very beginning of that career and goes as far as 1999.
For Anish there is no form of structured learningrelated tosuchgames
The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2
The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Blacks play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.
He picked up a position some time ago fromsocial media, one from a conversation and so on!Well,it just goes to show how many different ways of improving at chess exist!
Vidit was super quick for the first six positions and then found the going slightly tough!
The Shining Sveshnikov Sicilian
Always wanted to play like a World Champion? Search no further! With Magnus Carlsen using the Sveshnikov variation as his weapon of choice in the World Championship match against Fabiano Caruana, this DVD could not be better timed.
Erwin l'Ami does well on the Anand's test!
A photo for posterityall ten players in front of the national library | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour
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It is a curious fact that when the whole world, or most of it, is entirely agreed upon a point there is always someone prepared to come forward as advocatus diaboli. When the frontier from end to end teemed, or reeked, with stories of several Headquarters failure to foresee the course of events in the Afghan campaign someone came out as the protagonist of the Simla system. Even Indian civilisation has found its defender in Mr. Havell, who finds the social system of this country delightful and its art sublime. The Bagdad correspondent of our Allahabad contemporary has now taken up the cudgels on behalf of the War Office administration in Mesopotamia. Apparently he considers the methods of road-building and port construction employed there such as should commend themselves to a society of paupers on a desert island. We fear he is too late in the day and that most of those whose fate it was to go to Mespot must be ranked with the myself and other thinking men of Sir George Buchanan. The extravagance was, and, according to observers of every degree, until recently remained, brobdingnagian and for the rest of time all the best stories of the P.W.D. type will certainly be derived from Basra and the Tigris just as all good fish stories are derived from the middle Thames, despite the fact that a few other streams have been known to furnish good sport to the angler.
BOMBAY, NOV 21
The Bombay Factories Report for the year 1918 states that a feature of the labour problem during the year under report was the frequency of labour strikes for increases of wages owing to high prices. The strikes amicably ended on the grant of increases in wages. The Collector of Bombay, writing on the factory report, says a slight decrease in the employment of women, and also in the employment of children, in Bombay city was noticeable, while in the mofussil child labour was greatly increased. He attributes this to the failure of the monsoon last year. Figures in Bombay City show one child to 47 adults, while in Broach, Ahmedabad and Surat it is 1 to 6, and the number of child operatives in the mofussil in 1918 increased by 1,800 over the figures for 1917. In Bombay some mills employ no labour under 14, which is a welcome change.
RANGOON SHIP WRECKED
RANGOON, NOV 21
News has reached Rangoon of the ship Hyastan, built by A.C. Martin. She was on her way to Calcutta and had taken a pilot on board near the Sandheads when the cyclone began, and she was obliged to stear to south-west eventually going ashore. No lives were lost. Mr. Martin left for Calcutta this morning to learn full details. The ship was insured for pound 75,000. After her return from Calcutta it was Mr. Martins intention to send the Hyastan to England to be fitted with auxiliary engines. Telegrams have been received from Captain Brown, who was in command of vessel, stating, Hyastan on beam ends. Dismasted. Lives saved. Hoping to arrange for salvage. The telegram was despatched from Baruva, which is in the Ganjam district.
BEATEN BY A BLIND BOY
Signor Capablanca, the worlds chess champion, has been beaten by a sightless boy at Worcester Blind College, where he engaged fifteen of the students in simultaneous matches, in addition to twenty-five representatives of Worcester city, Stourbridge, Evesham, Malvern and other district clubs. The champion won thirty-nine of the forty games. The blind boy, Reed, who played the fourth board for the school, had the honour of the solitary victory. Signor Capablanca opened with the Ruy Lopez game, to which Reed replied with the Classical defence. The champion lost his Queen in the middle of the game, and also the exchange. He resigned on the thirty-seventh move. Reed is in his fourth year at the college and learned his chess there. He is eighteen years old.
MUNICIPAL PREMIUM BONDS
RANGOON, NOV 21
At the Rangoon Municipal Sub-Committee meeting, today it was decided to introduce the municipal premium bond loan system, subject to confirmation of the general meeting to be held on December 2, and the approval thereafter of the Local Government. The loan would be for Rs 2,00,00,000 in 200 thousand bearer bonds of Rs 100 each, divisible into quarters, redeemable in forty years by half yearly drawings of 2,500 bonds at each drawing. A 200 lakhs loan would have the effect of giving the municipality 100 lakhs in cash free of interest and without additional taxation.
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Posted: November 17, 2019 at 2:21 pm
The final of theFIDE Grand Prix in Hamburgwill be decided in a tiebreak on Sunday.Jan-Krzysztof Dudawas under pressure twice but held the draw against Alexander Grischuk in both standard games.
Over the board Duda and Grischuk had played each other in only rapid and blitz, and you might also remember their epic Speed Chess match here on Chess.com, played 14 months ago and narrowly won by Duda. On Friday, they met for the first time in classical chess (or "standard" as FIDE now calls it).
In a Queen's Indian, Grischuk seemed to surprise his opponent when he used a recent idea from Ivan Cheparinovon move 13. Duda thought for more than 50 minutes for his next two moves.
Grischuk wouldn't be Grischuk if he played the remainder of the game with more time on the clock, so he spent 47 minutes for his next two moves! He did manage to get a stable, positional advantage but missed a chance in time trouble.
The second game was even more exciting, with Grischuk again getting the better chances out of the opening, this time as Black in a Queen's Gambit Declined. It was obvious that Duda hadn't expected this particular variation.
Grischuk found a great pawn sacrifice behind the board, and engines gave him a big advantage after Duda took it. Again both players spent a lot of time early in the game; they weredown to 20 minutes after just 13 moves.
It became extremely tactical, and with so little time Duda found a number of great defensive moves and somehow held his own once again.
"Maybe a better calculator like Maxime Vachier-Lagrave would have found something," said Grischuk, "but he would not get this position because he doesn't play the Queen's Gambit, which is the most aggressive opening."
The biggest chess fans will know what to do on their free Sunday: follow the tiebreak between these two great players. It will start15:00 CET, which is 9 a.m. Eastern and 6 a.m. Pacific. You can follow the gameshere as part of our live portal.
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Posted: at 2:21 pm
How do you improve and build upon the worlds longest lasting chess playing program series? If you have followed the news pages for the last weeks, you will have heard of Fat Fritzas a concept, and while it is indeed the show-stopping addition to Fritz 17, it is far from the only novelty.For one thing, a brand new Fritz 17 engine is now in placewith no need for a fancy graphics cardto reap the benefits.Developed by Frank Schneider, the author of a very strong private engine known as Gingko, the new Fritz 17 engine will not only surpass the previous Fritz 16, but also provide new analysis for those seeking yet another new look at things.
As far as the interface is concerned, the key concept is 'helping you learn'. A number of brand new functions have been created with the sole purpose of helping you learn and train your openings. Let's face it, while studying openings can be fun, memorizing them is not and is often the reason many players avoid openings they might prefer, because of the challenge that presents. Fritz 17 brings an assortment of tools to help you and make that process as painless as possible.
Created the most gorgeous 3D chess images in record time (click or tap to enlarge)
Finally, Fritz 17 and ChessBase will not be left behind in the wave of new 3D technology. Readers may have heard about the concept of Ray Tracing, the new buzzword by Nvidia on fantastic lighting in 3D models, even used to debunk moon landing conspiracy theories by demonstrating the accuracy of all lighting effects. Their new series of video cards was designed around this concept, and new games and 3D modeling have exploded with the steady inclusion of it. New in Fritz 17 is a powerful set of live ray tracing effects for the 3D chess boards, with a staggering amount of control on how and where they are lit. Even fancy camera effects such as background blurring are possible. However, these do require those fancy new video cards to be enabled.
In any previous version of Fritz, all the above would more than justify a new version and release, but the icing on the cake is of course Fat Fritz.
The pice de rsistance in Fritz 17 for many people will be the inclusion of Fat Fritz. Based on the AI technology by DeepMind that created AlphaZero, Fat Fritz is a new set of custom made neural network weights that work in the open-source project Leela Chess Zero. The Leela Chess Zero project is based on the Go program Leela Zero and was designed to reproduce AlphaZero on the PC. One of the key tenets is that it follows the zero philosophy which means it uses nothing except what it learns of its own accord.
The philosophy behind Fat Fritz has been to make it the strongest and most versatile neural network by including material from all sources with no such 'zero' restrictions, such as millions of the best games in history played by humans, games by the best engines including Stockfish, Rybka, Houdini, and more, endgame tablebases, openings, and so on. If it was deemed a possible source of improvement, zero or not, it was used. Even millions of exclusive self-play games were created, but tweaked to create content that was more aggressive and speculative to learn from and mold its style. The only material that was not used to train Fat Fritz, out of principle, was content from the Leela project itself, as this was developed by their community for their neural networks.
After over a year of development, thousands of hours of computer time and human effort, we feel this will enrich analysts and players with creative and unique moves, all of the highest quality, to explore openings and the middlegame. While there is no question that making sure the engine can bring the highest standard is vital, and worry not it is there, it would be quite uninteresting to present an analyst that was essentially exactly the same as Engine X, except 20 Elo better. Instead, a contrasting point of view, no less strong, is far more interesting, and of far greater use.
Over the past weeks, many games, matches, and articles we have waxed poetic on its virtues, but instead of just throwing more mind-numbing resultshowever goodthe following game speaks far louder than words on what sort of player it is.
This was a draw (yes, a draw, but what a draw!) between Leela and Fat Fritz in a game played without a book by Fat Fritz. It played the French defense, and took a line that is considered by theory to be quite bad for Black, and saved it with novel moves, and then gave up pawn after pawn to fight with dynamic play.
A Classical Guide to the French Defence
This DVD gives you the key to start out with the French Defence. GM Yannick Pelletier is a specialist of this opening, and believes that the most efficient way to understand its ideas, plans, and typical structures is to study classical lines.
For our Discount Day, everything is 25% off!
Important note: While Fat Fritz is already incredibly strong, its development is not over, and over the next months, owners of Fritz 17 will enjoy upgrades to the neural network.
Many fans of Leela have complained about the complications in the installation process and requested a solution by ChessBase. As such Leela will also come installed with its best neural network (and you can always use another of course) and configured for use on the spot. Hopefully this will help bring more users and admirers to their project as a result.
Readers will have seen that to use Fat Fritz and Leela properlyyou will need a solid graphics card. There really is no way to get around this. The neural network weights are a massive file with tens of millions of values that comprise its vast knowledge of the game, and while the calculations are all done on the CPU, the graphics card, thanks to its unique design, is used to read the neural network and feed the CPU the evaluation for every position it examines. Even though Fat Fritz might be running a thousand times slower than conventional engines, it will still providetop analysis, but without a graphics card the experience will be only useful as a demonstration, andwill be slower by a factor of 1000-2000.
If you wanted an excuse to get a fancy new graphics card, you can now tell your better half, "but honey, it's for chess!" Photo: Zotac
The recommended hardware is an Nvidia RTX 2060 or faster, but the better the card, the better the experience. Needless to say, a graphics card will also bring far more advantages than just running Fat Fritz, such as gaming, 3D graphics, video rendering, AI development, and more. On the upside, nearly any computer can use this and there is no need to buy an entirely new machine. The Fat Fritz in the Engine Cloud runs on a quite modest quad-core CPU (five years old), though bolstered by two fast RTX 2080 video cards.
One of the characteristics of the neural networks is that they learn and evaluate a position based on winning chances. Fat Fritz will break this down into not only the overall winning chances, but the expected wins, draws and losses. This is useful since saying a position has a 50% chance won't tell you if that means it expects 50% wins and 50% losses, or just 100% draws. Fritz 17 has been modified to allow users to see this pure output of the neural network.
There is a new engine output option Display win probabilities that is active by default.
When you run the engine you will also see the breakdown at the bottom. You can see the first is the overall win rate, followed by the details of the wins, draws and losses.
In Fritz 17 you will find several new opening management and training functions:
The new opening repertoire in Fritz 17 is called "My Moves". It is separate for White and Black. You add variations to your repertoire by clicking on a move anywhere in the program and marking it as "My Move". This will include the whole variation up to this move into your repertoire. Marking moves is the only way to store variations, but this also saves a lot of time from entering moves one by one, copying from a source.
Manage and drill your opening repertoire
Your "My Moves"repertoire is stored online. You can access it from any machine, and also from a web browser.But the goodies don't stop there. Imagine you are watching a live game in Playchess, whether a casual blitz, or a broadcast from a top GM tournament. Even then you can instantly check to see if a game played is following an opening from your repertoire.
In the LiveBook in Fritz (and via the web app as in the image below) the moves will be color coded, and you can see if the move is in your repertoire already. If it isn't, just click on it to add it.
Blue = This move is in your repertoire for White.Green = Move is in your repertoire for Black.Cyan = You play this move with both colors.* (an asterisk) = Marked as 'My Move'.** (to asterisks) = Marked as 'Important for me'.
Chess database software creates a seductive illusion. The well structured management of opening variations in your personal analysis creates the impression that one can reproduce them easily over the board. Of course pure opening research is fun. However for practical success you really have to be able to recall everything from memory. Fritz 17 introduces the Drill as an efficient and entertaining way to help with this.
When Drilling, you play your lines and Fritz answers in a way that you stay within your prepared repertoires. Moves are played according to their frequency in master games.
After some time, Fritz 17 detects which variations you know well and which you dont. Then the shakier systems are offered more frequently so that you can solidify your memory in an efficient way.
The drill dialog displays your Memory Score If you reproduce the correct move for a position five times in a row, this position is counted as fully learned and scores one point. You have learned your repertoire 100% if you achieve this for any position.
Fritz 17 provides access to standard opening repertoires for nearly every prominent line in chess. Those repertoires are regularly updated to current theory and recent games on our server. You can either drill them with Free Drill or upload them to My Moves. Or you pick single lines by marking moves. Of course you may simply store them in your traditional databases. Open a list by calling Openings Standard Repertoires. Click on any entry and it will automatically load.
Standard Repertoires are available in four levels: Easy Club Tournament and Professional. This saves work: As a normal club player you dont have to extract the best moves from a deeply nested professional repertoire suitable only for master level players.
The best way to memorize opening variations is to execute moves physically. On the screen or even better on a board. Your brain will be more engaged in what you do. However, sometimes at the end of a long day you just might want to lean back, relax and leave mouse and keyboard untouched.
To satisfy this, Fritz 17 introduces the replay of variation trees. You can watch your repertoire being played out on the screen. Lines are picked randomly and repeated as often as you like. Just let it run, set the speed and watch.
Standard Repertoires and Full Tree Replay
Still, learning is not just memorization, and improving upon one's games is a key part of it all. Here too new functions will now go through your games,or games of your choice, to highlight mistakes, combinations, or sacrifices, and present them as ready-made exercises you can solve on your computer, or print out for yourself or your students.
You can print out the puzzles just like a book, with diagrams first and the solutions at the end.
Blitz games contain tactical errors. Errors usually happen at interesting positions, so you can learn from them. Since the last version of Fritz, games played on Playchess.com are analysed automatically, but that brought a dilemma:
Should one look at the analysis or play the next game?
The new function Blitz & Train helps with this: It creates training material from your online games, no matter whether they have been played today or last month. A few clicks and you can print exercise sheets from your own games. Click the tab 'Training' in the Playchess section of Fritz:
The option Sacrifices finds exercises with beautiful moves, whileBlunders asks for the best move in position where one side blundered.
With the arrival of the newest generation of video cards from Nvidia, Ray Tracing has now become a reality in real time. In anutshell the idea is that it is able to calculate and show light reflections from surface to surface in all of the incredibly complex relationships such as sunlight bouncing off a wall, which gives a lighter light, filtered through humid air, and so on. ChessBase has now introduced this added layer of realism to its 3D boards, with full control over every aspect if such is your desire.
The menu will now offer the option between the CPU built ray traced boards and the new GPU acceleration.
The options are enormous and even include fancy optical effects such as background blurring.
Needless to say, if you do not have a graphics card that can handle this, or do not want it, the classic 3D boards are still there for your enjoyment.
Fritz 17 represents one of the most ambitious and progressive versions ever, bringing to you tools that should help all players contend with modern problems. From the challenges of memorizing and studying complex opening theory, to easily reviewing games with a focus on improving your practical skills, to bringing what is bound to be an amazing addition to your arsenal of tools: Fat Fritz. In fact, Fritz 17 brings not one engine, but four: a brand new Fritz 17 engine, the new custom made neural network Fat Fritz with its penchant towards cutthroat chess, the well-established Leela with its very Karpovian approach to chess in a no-headache installation, and Stockfish itself.Plus a surprise in the near future!
Order Fritz 17 in the ChessBase Shop
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Geek of the Week: If theres roadwork ahead, Kurt Stiles uses 3D modeling and more to drive project – GeekWire
Posted: at 2:21 pm
Kurt Stiles and his team at the Washington State Department of Transportation often take to the air to better illustrate the stories theyre telling on the ground. (Photo courtesy of Kurt Stiles)
If a new roadway or bridge or other infrastructure element in Washington state looks and drives exactly like youd hoped it would, perhaps Kurt Stiles and his team at the Washington State Department of Transportation are to thank.
Stiles and the Visual Engineering Resource Group (VERG) are the visual media professionals who use a variety of tools, such as aerial photography, 3D modeling and animation, to communicate the stages of all types of projects.
Our latest Geek of the Week spent 10 years in the military before going to school for civil engineering. He was helping to raise three boys and working full time at WSDOT when he discovered the world of 3D modeling and visualization in 1998. Today he leads the group he helped develop at the agency in 2008.
The tech for 3D modeling has grown tremendously. There is no excuse now we have tremendous tools to visually communicate infrastructure change, Stiles said. Our productions can tell any story, to any audience and at any scale. Decision making processes have improved, saving time and money. All stakeholders and the public alike have a deeper understanding which translates to improved consent.
Stiles points to a variety of projects which VERG has had a hand in, whether its photography work showing everything from highway overpasses to rest areas to ferry terminals, or drone footage of a mudslide. Video production and animation is especially useful to show renderings of completed projects, such as this video-game-like fly-by of Interstate-90 near Snoqualmie Pass:
Stiles is particularly proud of the teams 3D modeling work for whats called a diverging diamond interchange, a project being implemented for the first time in Washington, in Lacey.
This retrofitted interchange will handle much more daily traffic volume and do so in a much safer way, Stiles said. Moreover, the new interchange will provide improved, safer pedestrian and bike travel, too much better than what was there originally. This type of interchange design is very progressive and will be a hallmark project for other interchange retrofits to follow in Washington.
Modeling cars and trucks on conventional roadways is all fine and good, but what is VERG going to do when we get the flying vehicles were all waiting for?
That will be fun! Im sure we can animate all sorts of flying objects, Stiles said. But we will have to make sure there is a solid tax-structure to handle all those landing pads that are going to have to be built everyone will want one! Perhaps a new tax on leather flying jackets and goggles? Im sure that will work.
Learn more about this weeks Geek of the Week, Kurt Stiles:
What do you do, and why do you do it? I built and lead a visual communication content development group that is centered in 3D computer modeling, video production and commercial photography. We provide strategic communication content for infrastructure decision makers. They use it so they can get understanding, consent, funding, etc. from their stakeholders and constituents when building civil projects.
Whats the single most important thing people should know about your field? Civil infrastructure change needs to be first and foremost communicated correctly so all parties understand what the change is and why it has to happen. Twentieth-century problems of the built-environment cannot be fixed with 20th century technology. By using 3D modeling and other tools, tremendous insight can be gained in a precognitive way. A future view can be displayed showing the pros and cons, decisions can be made quicker and with increased understanding. Time and money is saved while the project moves forward in an accelerated way.
Where do you find your inspiration? Watching an underdog, any underdog, work hard, work long and then beat the ass off some self-righteous, privileged SOB.
Whats the one piece of technology you couldnt live without, and why? Blender. Open source software that you can make a living with. You can model anything the built environment needs. Remember to give back though with donations keep Blender open source!
Whats your workspace like, and why does it work for you? VERG works in an office like a lot of Geeks. We also have a lot of outside field work, too video shoots, helicopter photography, flying drones, etc. Its never dull in VERG.
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) Setting and managing production expectations. Lead the conversation with your clients based upon their spoken need and youll never go wrong.
Mac, Windows or Linux? Windows.
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Picard.
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Time machine. I wanna go back so I can get it right the second time.
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would Run to the hills with the dough? No, Id do it, but its gotta be MY startup.
I once waited in line for A warm Coke in the Philippines, which I drank with fevered intent.
Your role models: Napoleon Bonaparte: Capability is worthless without opportunity.Gen. George Patton: Lead me, follow me, or get the hell outta the wayTony Robbins: There are only two options: make progress or make solutions
Greatest game in history: Chess.
Best gadget ever: Theyre all great, but not without WD-40.
First computer: Compaq Portable.
Current phone: Android S7 or Motorola DynaTAC CellStar, I cant remember which.
Favorite app: WAYZ.
Favorite cause: Dog rescues for any dog.
Most important technology of 2019: Gaming engines.
Most important technology of 2021: Gaming engines.
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: Just do it. Suck it up, stand for something and take the risk. Feel free to draw a line in the sand, just be able to defend it. Take ownership no one else will and youll impress the hell out of people for it.
Website: Visual Engineering Resource Group
LinkedIn: Kurt Stiles
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Posted: November 3, 2019 at 2:48 pm
GM Larry Kaufman's bookKaufman's New Repertoire for Black and Whiteis now available in Europe in all formats, and in the United States as an e-book. It will soon be sold worldwide in all formats, including as an e-book from Forward Chess.
The book serves as a follow-up to the excellently received The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White,but it is not a second edition. Kaufman has completely revised his repertoire from the White side and is now recommending 1.e4 instead of 1.d4the most impactful of many changes.
Kaufman's perspective is unique among chess authors. Kaufman is a graduate of MIT who has been involved in computer chess since the 1960s. Today, most chess players will be familiar with his work on first Rybka and now the Komodo chess engine.
Kaufman first became an IM in 1980 and a GM in 2008 when he won the World Senior Championship. He is currently a vital part of the Chess.com and Komodo team.
GM Larry Kaufman: My first complete repertoire for both colors was written in 2003 (The Chess Advantage in Black and White, Random House), and was partly done as a way to force myself to work out a complete repertoire that was both sound and compact enough to fit in one book, so that I could hope to remember most of it for my own tournament games. I reasoned that many others would also like such a book. The 2012 book was a completely new one for New in Chess, but with largely similar motivation, with the difference that now the engine I had been developing, Komodo, would play a major role.
The 2019 book was largely motivated by the MCTS [Monte Carlo Tree Search, a method for computer engines to choose which moves to investigate] revolution, because MCTS engines favor lines that are apt to work in over-the-board play against humans, not just ones intended for correspondence play vs. engines. The reason is that normal engines assume "perfect" play by the opponent, while MCTS merely assumes "good" play. My hope was that the analysis would be very different from books that use traditional engines. Of course there are good and bad moves in chess, so there is considerable overlap, but I expect people will see substantial differences from existing theory.
Why did you think the time was right to release the new repertoire?
Because Lc0 [a machine-learning chess engine that uses neural networks and MCTS] and Komodo MCTS had reached high-enough level to make an MCTS-based book logical. Also because the improvement in both hardware and software in seven years made the earlier book rather obsolete.
Who do you think will most benefit from this book?
The actual analysis is at a very high level, so is suitable for strong players, even for grandmasters. However the explanations of the moves are aimed at average amateur players, maybe in the 1200 to 1800 range. So I hope that players of a wide range of abilities can learn from this book, although they will learn different things. I suppose that players in the 1600 to 2000 range might get the most benefit, as they are not too strong to need the explanations but strong enough to utilize the advantages they may get from the lines.
Chess players today often suggest that opening theory is draining chess of its excitement. Do you agree?
Yes, I do agree, even though saying so won't help sales of the book! But if you are going to play competitive chess with reasonably strong players, whether over the board or online, you will get better results playing good openings that you know than playing poor ones or good ones that you don't know. I am a big advocate of reforms in chess, whether that means balloted openings, playing Fischer Random, Armageddon playoffs, special anti-draw rules, or whatever. But this book is written for chess as it is played currently.
How do you think opening preparation is different today from when you first became an IM and GM?
Well, that's two completely different questions, because I became an IM in 1980, before computers were of any use to chess players, but a GM in 2008, when I got my title by winning the World Senior Championship with the help of massive computer preparation both before the event and for every game. In 1980, preparation meant carrying around a couple books and reviewing the lines in the books that you wanted to play. Two different worlds!
Which major openings are you no longer recommending in the new repertoire, and which ones are you recommending now?
For White, it was a total switch from 1.d4 to 1.e4, motivated by some positive developments for 1.e4 and some negative ones for 1.d4. For Black, the main change is that the Breyer defense to the Spanish is now my backup line, with the Marshall becoming my main one, along with a chapter on the Moller that I suggest might be better for correspondence play than for over the board. No major change vs. 1.d4, although the games and analysis are heavily revised.
In analyzing the opening, in which aspects was Komodo superior, and in which aspects was Lc0 superior?
Lc0 was generally superior on my computer, because it has a very powerful, expensive GPU with 3,000 cores; Komodo just uses six of the eight CPUs. Lc0 has some weak points though, which Komodo patches up: Lc0 is rather blind to perpetual checks, relatively weak in evaluating many endgames, and lacks specialized chess knowledge that applies in infrequent situations. Also I would say that Komodo is generally superior when it is necessary to see a long, precise series of moves to justify the initial move choice. Lc0 will usually find good moves quicker with my GPU, but will be slow to admit that it is wrong.
Is Lc0 as strong as AlphaZero now?
If they both ran on the same or comparable hardware, I think they are close in strength. But even Chess.com doesn't have hardware like Google. Probably a five or 10-minute Lc0 think on my computer is comparable to a one-minute think of AlphaZero on Google's hardware.
Given your expertise with engines, have you any interest in competing in the International Correspondence Chess Federation?
The percentage of draws between top ICCF players is in the mid or high 90s, I'm told. Playing a game with such a draw percentage doesn't interest me.
How do you evaluate the future of Chess960 (Fischer Random) as a means of circumventing opening theory?
I am a big advocate of Chess960 (Fischer Random), especially after seeing the semifinals and finals of the World Fischer Random Chess Championship. I actually won the only U.S. open championship of the game ever held (I believe), about a decade ago. I don't find it interesting to watch two super-GMs reproduce 20+ moves of computer analysis in a broadcast standard chess game, but I try not to miss a single game of 960 live between the top players, knowing that they are thinking for themselves after just a couple moves. I only regret that there are hardly any live, over-the-board events that most players can join. I would love to see 960 take an equal footing with standard chess before I become too old to play.
Is the French Defense as bad as IM Danny Rensch says it is?
Normal chess engines think it's more or less as good as anything, but statistics and the neural-network engines rate it as inferior to the "big three" (1...e5, Sicilian, Caro.) I think that you need to know a lot to prove that the French is inferior, but at super-GM or correspondence level, it is just the fourth-best defense. But I owe my GM title and World Senior Championship to the French!
Is Bobby Fischer right that 1.e4 is "best by test"?
Yes, I agree with him on this (as well as on 960 and on the use of increment in chess, although I have a better claim to being the inventor of increment chess than he does!). But 1.d4 and 1.Nf3 are not far behind.
Which question do you wish you had been asked about the new repertoire?
"How can I write a technical opening book full of the latest games and novelties played and analyzed in 2019, when I'm old enough to have had a chess teacher (Harold M. Phillips) who played against Steinitz in 1894?"
As an active partner in Komodo, I have the technical knowledge needed to make best use of computers. I can afford the best practical hardware. Also I probably understand better than any other GM where the displayed scores are coming from, at least in the case of Komodo, and so I can explain the +.53 eval to the reader. I'm still an active tournament player, the oldest active American GM, about to turn 72. My parents lived to an average age of 100, so I'm pretty young still for an old man!