Sunday, August 26, 2007

Better Chess

Higher Games On the 10 year anniversary of Deep Blue beating Kasparov, some thought provoking suggestions:
It is interesting in this regard to contemplate the suggestion made by Bobby Fischer, who has proposed to restore the game of chess to its intended rational purity by requiring that the major pieces be randomly placed in the back row at the start of each game (randomly, but in mirror image for black and white, with a white-square bishop and a black-square bishop, and the king between the rooks). Fischer ­Random Chess would render the mountain of memorized openings almost entirely obsolete, for humans and machines alike, since they would come into play much less than 1 percent of the time. The chess player would be thrown back onto fundamental principles; one would have to do more of the hard design work in real time.


Fischer Random Chess, or Chess 960 removes one of the reasons that I've always disliked chess (as I never really could apply myself to remember openings).

Why isn't it just as nice--or nicer--to think that we human beings might succeed in designing and building brain­children that are even more wonderful than our biologically begotten children? The match between Kasparov and Deep Blue didn't settle any great metaphysical issue, but it certainly exposed the weakness in some widespread opinions. Many people still cling, white-­knuckled, to a brittle vision of our minds as mysterious immaterial souls, or--just as romantic--as the products of brains composed of ­wonder tissue engaged in irreducible non­computational (perhaps alchemical?) processes. They often seem to think that if our brains were in fact just protein machines, we couldn't be responsible, lovable, valuable persons.

Via wonderTissue.
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