The big chess news today is the chess program known as Houdini, rated 3134, lost to the much lower rated Jonny 6, rated ‘only’ 2799. To make things worse, Houdini had the White pieces. The Legendary Georgia Ironman said Houdini lost because it had “…shown human like qualities by making bad moves.” Ouch! The man from the High Plains, former Georgia and Ga. Senior, champion, David Vest, said the machines were showing Tron like tendencies with the possibility of becoming sentient entities. He added, “We may just think they are off, but in reality they continue to compute chess variations even after the plug is pulled!” I got in on the conversation by adding, “And in the future, when humans are battling the machines, as in the Terminator movies, future humans will look back and blame it on those humans who started it all by programming machines to play chess.” Quiet reigned for a few moments while everyone contemplated the prospect…
Life is change and chess is a part of life, at least for now. How long chess will remain relevant is an open question. I lost interest in the computer tournament after learning humans force the machines to play openings played by other humans at the recent Tata Steel chess tournaments, in lieu of allowing them to play the move the program considered best. I have no interest in the USCL because teams are forced to play an inferior player rather than someone much stronger. The same thing happens in Little League baseball when the rules require a team to stick some obviously under qualified child in right field for a certain number of innings, possibly costing his team a win. Many years ago Maddog Gordon and I, watched an episode of the cartoon series, King of the Hill, in which the poor young son of the King was the unfortunate one placed out in right field, against his wishes, I might add. We laughed uproariously as the poor kid tried, and failed, to catch a fly ball. Although the adults meant well when they forced the poor boy to play, they did not take into consideration what it would do to him to be put into a position to fail. This is often the position some, lower rated player finds himself in when the score of the top three boards, often manned by GM’s, is tied, and the outcome of the match is riding on their small shoulders. What is the point? If a team cannot play their four best players, that means some worthy player is forced to sit while a player of much lesser quality plays in his stead. Imagine the outrage if college maimball teams were forced to play the third stringers in the fourth quarter. How much interest would there be in college maimball?
I sent this chess game to a few friends recently:
[Event “Oslo Chess International – Håvard Vederh”]
[Site “Ullevaal Stadion”]
[White “Johannessen, Leif E”]
[Black “Istratescu, Andrei”]
1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nf3
Nc6 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 cxd4 11. Bxe4 dxe4 12. Qxe4 dxc3 13. Ng5 g6 14. Qh4 h5
15. Ba3 Nxe5 16. Rad1 Bd7 17. Bxf8 Qxf8 18. Qd4 f6 19. f4 Ba4 20. fxe5 Bxd1 21.
exf6 c2 22. f7+ 1-0
The Discman sent this reply, “I read your blog. (Concerning cheating in chess-AW) I am sure some with their heads in the sand will say we’re being paranoid and this type of thing would never happen at your normal weekend tourney but I would be willing to bet does in fact happen. Even if it’s only a small percentage of people who are cheating that’s too much – the integrity of the game is shattered.
Looking at the game below – wow what a hay-maker!” The Legendary Georgia Ironman sent this pithy comment, “I wonder if Leif was “hooked up”?” This is my point, exactly. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it can never be put back, unfortunately. There will always be a question about any outstanding move played by a human. Was it from the mind of man, or was it from the innards of a machine?
Well, hard to blame white for Black’s losing moves, as in this game… I think people only look at a player’s rating and goes, hey, he must have cheated. However, computers do affect the way we play, and the term ‘human move’ has always sounded stupid to me. Good move or bad move, that is the question, to paraphrase Mr. Hendricks.