How AlphaZero Wins

December 15, 2017

So far I have looked at three games from the AlphaZero-Stockfish match: #5, #9, and #10 from the ten games provided in the arXiv preprint. All three are amazingly similar, and at the same time they are amazingly unlike almost any other game I’ve ever seen. In each case AlphaZero won by sacrificing a piece […]

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One Small Step for Computers, One Giant Leap for Mankind

December 6, 2017

Today, like many people, I was shocked by the news in my Facebook new feed. AlphaZero beats Stockfish! For those who (like me) had never heard of AlphaZero, let me explain that it is a new deep-learning algorithm created by the same folks who gave you AlphaGo, the computer program that vanquished the human Go […]

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My Shortest Loss

December 4, 2017

A few years ago I wrote a post about a game where my opponent resigned in a drawn position. I mean really, truly drawn: I had just sacrificed a queen to force a perpetual check, but he somehow misread it and thought it was a checkmate. Of course, there have been even worse cases in […]

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Video and Movie Reviews

November 28, 2017

I hope that everybody reading this will check out the new video about the 2016 Chess Olympiad at YouTube! I apparently cannot embed it in this post, but here is a link to the video. I really don’t think that people outside the chess world appreciated what a major event this was, definitely in U.S. […]

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Chess Personality Test

November 22, 2017

A few days ago my chess friend and correspondent, Larry Smith, sent me a position from a game he had played against his computer. Larry was White: White to move. FEN: r1b4k/pp2N2p/4p2Q/3pP2B/3b4/P7/KP3r2/8 w – – 0 1 First of all, let me say I’m glad that I’m not the only one who likes to play […]

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What Would Daisy Do?

November 18, 2017

Recently I had a kibitzer for one of my chess games against the computer. As we all know, man versus computer is an uneven battle. But a little bit of canine assistance can even up the odds! Daisy and Dana — Shredder (2220) 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 d4 3. d4 d6 4. f4 […]

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A Ghost Named George

November 13, 2017

The Kolty Chess Club, a San Jose-area club where a lot of my friends play, recently completed its club championship, which ended in very dramatic fashion. Going into the last round, Henry Wang, a 15-year-old Expert who is surely headed for Master and beyond, had put in a dominating performance. He had scored 5½ points […]

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Poochie the Chess Game

November 7, 2017

Last week, during the World Series, I read this hilarious article about the wonderful, wacky, crazy fifth game. This was the game when the Houston Astros fell behind, 4-0 and 7-4, and they were facing the best pitcher in baseball (Clayton Kershaw), yet somehow came back to win, 13-12. It was a game when impossible […]

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Playing Abroad, Part Two

November 3, 2017

Recently I wrote a post about my first experience playing a tournament abroad, back in 1978 in Russia. Coincidentally, I got together last weekend with some chess-playing friends, and tournaments abroad were one of our big topics of conversation. Mike Arne, a Life Master who has played almost no competitive chess since 1999, has recently […]

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Close But No Cigar

November 2, 2017

I’m sure that this will come as a surprise to no one: The Minnesota Blizzard won the fan vote for the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions of the PRO Chess League. The San Francisco Mechanics came in second and we will be the first alternate to take somebody’s place if one of the teams collapses. This […]

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