The beauty of chess?

championshipI have found this question reading 538: “Are Computers Draining The Beauty Out Of Chess?” Nice, but I wonder why computers have not killed our willingness to play chess at all.

I cannot understand why people still spend time and effort playing chess, particularly professional chess. Oh, of course, money. Let me re-frame it: I do not understand why someone might be interested in watching other humans play chess, much less pay for it. When I was child, playing chess was… heroic, but today, c’mon!

Humans are mincemeat to a good computer chess engine.

Playing chess professionally is like a business trip from Madrid to Beijing on foot, or trying to build the Empire State without cranes. No, seriously, what’s the point?

The only thing that remains to be done, is to solve the game. And it seems this will not happen tomorrow.

4 comments

  1. I agree that looking it is not comparable to doing it… as it happens in most situations

    However, the chess problem is still interesting. In the book from C. Thompson “Smarter than you think” discusses (among many other issues) the possibilities of using computers to help someone to play better chess. The winning hand is not the computer alone or the human alone, but the combination. The combined effort approach is the real step forward. Not to solve the game (which incidentally is quite irrelevant after all) but to use it in other domains.

    By the way, I think it is clear that the chess solution is draw. (but I cannot prove it!)

    • You are right, very likely it will be a draw, but let’s think for a moment that the solution is black wins. It would have such beautiful philosophical implications: If you start ,you will lose. For sure! So, Don’t do it… And yes, there might be tons of good reason to play chess, but it’s so uncomfortable to think there is a better way of doing something you are doing…

      • Well,… There was a famous chess player, Nimzowitsch, who devise a strategy whereby his opponent could not make a good move and then, any move would lead to defeat.

        I agree essentially that it is somewhat uncomfortable to do anything knowing there is a better way. That is why I liked this idea of using computers but together with human players. The good news is that computers + human beat Deepblue. Deepblue alone is not the best way!

        It is like doing mathematics using computers. It does not mean that human are hopeless. It means there is a better way doing it together. But, of course, this is not new,… humanity have always used aids to do interesting things, call it horses, oxen, cars, trucks, planes, computers,…

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