Chess

woops

is not like other people
And of course it was just a reminder to all that when I'm typing this it could be read by anyone out there in the world who takes an interest.

quite scary really. We lapse into thinking we’re talking to the same dozen people


wait what? you mean anyone can read this stuff?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
And of course it was just a reminder to all that when I'm typing this it could be read by anyone out there in the world who takes an interest.

quite scary really. We lapse into thinking we’re talking to the same dozen people


wait what? you mean anyone can read this stuff?
I'm sure the FBI has an entire team dedicated to monitoring this hotbed of dangerous revolutionary thought.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
.quite scary really. We lapse into thinking we’re talking to the same dozen people
Exactly. Obviously I was joking with the specific questions I listed, but he did ask about people by name - he could be reading this...
 
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muser

Well-known member
Once you've accepted that computers are best at chess, it's actually quite interesting watching them play each other. The main site for that is the continually rolling Top Chess Engine Championship...


Stockfish and Leela are currently playing their umpteenth final together.

But the very strongest program doesn't play anymore: that's AlphaZero, a self-learning AI designed by Deep Mind (now part of Google). They gave it the rules of chess, let it play millions of games against itself for nine hours... after which it was the strongest chess player in the universe ever :)

The AI works on more important things now, serious science projects. Last year, apparently, it made a major breakthrough in protein folding.
I like watching this players videos,she does a good job of showing how much better AlphaZero is/was and completely different playing style it developed.

 

Woebot

Well-known member
I do have a funny story (well, it amused me) about chess which I thought I'd told here, but seems I haven't (apologies if it is somewhere and I missed it), so I will tell it if anyone is interested.
Basically I've got a mate that I met when we both worked in a call centre, we had a mutual interest in records and music and stuff and we DJ-d together a few times. We also both liked gambling and we often used to do little bets for records, like the loser had to buy the winner a record of his (the winner's) choice up to a value of twenty quid say. And then sometimes we would double or quits and it could mount up.
At one point we both had office jobs in different companies and we hated them and we spent all our time on the internet avoiding work as much as possible and I got a message from Olaf saying "I've never played chess before, now is the time to learn". He'd found some website where you could simply play someone else and so we played on that. Now I wouldn't claim to be good but I'd played a fair bit when I was younger, chess club etc for the geeks after school and so on. Obviously, the first game he very quickly lost - he was sending me hilarious race-baiting messages like "brother on the run from whitey" as I chased his king round the board - cos he was playing with the black pieces and he himself is black (mixed race whatever).
So we played a few games I won them all without having to try of course. After a while though he says "I've got the hang of this, it's not too hard, I reckon I can beat you soon". Which I thought was quite a strong claim given the circumstances. In the end he suggested that we play ten games and if he won one of them then he would win the bet. At the moment our account together stood with him owing me £100 worth of records so he suggested a double or quits - so to me I was thinking that this would be easy money and I could pick up some tasty bits with two hundred quid so... why not? Only thing was it would take ages to play the ten games cos we were obviously gonna do it when we were at work and some days one person might be too busy to make more than a couple of moves, or even too busy to play at all, so there would be a delay on collecting my prize - but whatever, I was greedy I wanted some rare electronic Italian libraries or something and I wanted the satisfaction of Olaf buying them for me.
So yeah we played ten times, over the next six months or whatever. Only a few moves a day but he was weak and it didn't take that many moves to beat him - well, that was the case at first anyhow, but he did get better. I could see he was really trying, really keen to get somewhere, concentrating really hard so that quickly he stopped making utterly amateurish mistakes that everyone makes at first, just leaving pieces unguarded to be taken for free and so on. He was really determined to improve and each game he WAS better than the last.
Well anyway, long story short(ish) - and I'm sure that anyone not as trusting as me can see where it's going - by like game seven it was getting a little bit ticklish. I was still on top but things were lasting longer, I couldn't afford to make any mistakes, I had to fully concentrate. Game nine was a bit too close for comfort. But I still won and I just needed the final one to get my hands on that lovely money. I knew it would be a bit trickier than I had anticipated at the start but I thought I would still win.... obviously though, I didn't, the fucking arsehole got me on that last game and smugly accepted the writing off of the hundred he owed me. Crowed about it a bit for, you know, the next two years or whatever, told everyone there if we happened to meet up, that kind of thing.
And then, one day, literally years later, he admitted what should have been obvious I guess, but which I didn't think he was enough of a devious cunt to do, but basically he'd entirely cheated from day one. He had just put my moves into a chess program and then played the computer's response against me. The sneakiness - which I'd greatly underestimated - was in the way that he had played the first game on level 1, the second game on level 2 or 3 or whatever, and so on, so that it showed a natural progression of small incremental improvement from game to game. Apart from in the last game where, not wishing to take chances, he's bumped it up to level ten billion or whatever that could beat Magnus Carlsen.
My error was in never having thought that someone would be prepared to pretend to play chess for months on end simply to fool me. You know, the fact that he had approached me, seeming so genuine and saying that he wanted to learn, and yet he didn't even play one of his own moves over the months and months while the bet was in progress, he probably never even looked at the positions or tried to figure out why the computer was doing what it was doing. The whole thing was an elaborate sham (and scam) to get out of buying me some records and, fair enough, I fell for it hook line and sinker, cos a) I didn't realise the depths to which he was capable of sinking and b) the skill with which he maintained the deception for so long, pretending to be angry at each defeat yet enthused with his growing ability - plus the constant barrage of jokes about the whites bullying blacks and so on which were, I guess, a deliberate part of his strategy of distraction.
great story. reading it back the moment he says "i think i can get the hang of this" definitely looked like he was softening you up for the kill. total deviousness though!
 

Woebot

Well-known member
my theory is that only paranoid people are good at chess.

i think that the chess mindset is one which is supremely unhelpful in the game of life in which the only way to play correctly is love and compassion. as a trusting individual.

in chess you have to play all the time like someone is planning to kill you.

in geopolitical terms it's no coincidence that russia - the most paranoid country in the world - as it sees itself "encircled" by a coalition of western powers (most of whom aren't ACTUALLY often in agreement with another) produces chess masters.

also that the russians drink themselves to death with vodka as a rule.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
There must be some reason why the Russians dominate chess so much though, right? There are far more Russians on this list than any other nationality, and many who aren't Russian are from elsewhere in the (former) USSR, or other once-communist countries:


It talks here about state sponsorship of chess under the Soviet regime:


Stalin cared so much about his reputation as a chess master that he publicized a fake game in which he claimed to defeat party loyalist and future chief of the secret police Nikolai Yezhov. (Stalin later had him executed.)

Classic Stalin!
 

luka

Well-known member
It might be 'twaddle' in the actual reality sense but chess does represent that to me. Long term strategising. Setting traps and weaving webs. Dissembling. Every action considered and in service to a greater goal. Weighed for its advantages. Being willing to sacrifice members of your own party for strategic gains. A kind of detachment from the passions. The cold eye. Thinking in terms of territory and control. The Grand Chessboard of Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Great Game of Imperial Powers.
 

luka

Well-known member
on one pole you have deliberate conscious action, with all possible ramifications considered at the other pole, the spontaneous act, gratuitous and hopeful.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Chess represents evil and the use of men as pawns of other men.
The fact that I'm a deeply good and kind person no doubt correlates with the fact that I'm a bit shit at chess, then.

@Slothrop won our first game and is making mincemeat of me in the second one, so I reckon he's probably a bit of a wrong' un.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
It talks here about state sponsorship of chess under the Soviet regime:

This is pretty much it, AIUI - during the cold war, building a ruthlessly optimised system for training, developing and supporting professional chess players was a fairly cost effective way of demonstrating the fundamental superiority of the Soviet system over the decadent West, where chess was still pretty much treated as a game for gentleman-amateurs who found time to study chess in between some sort of academic work and/or alcoholism. And both the remnants of the system and the accumulated cultural capital are still influential on the tendency of former Soviet states to produce very strong players, although probably increasingly less so these days
 
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