Google’s AlphaZero destroys Chess

The headline of the American Go E-Journal reads:

Google’s AlphaZero destroys highest-rated chess engine in 100-game match

Thursday December 7, 2017

Chess changed forever today. And maybe the rest of the world did, too.

Chris Garlock writes the AGEJ and this is his take on the development:

“A little more than a year after AlphaGo sensationally won against the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program AlphaZero has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine.

Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017 Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, didn’t stand a chance. AlphaZero won the closed-door, 100-game match with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses.

Oh, and it took AlphaZero only four hours to “learn” chess. Sorry humans, you had a good run.

That’s right — the programmers of AlphaZero, housed within the DeepMind division of Google (https://deepmind.com/), had it use a type of “machine learning,” specifically reinforcement learning. Put more plainly, AlphaZero was not “taught” the game in the traditional sense. That means no opening book, no endgame tables, and apparently no complicated algorithms dissecting minute differences between center pawns and side pawns.

This would be akin to a robot being given access to thousands of metal bits and parts, but no knowledge of a combustion engine, then it experiments numerous times with every combination possible until it builds a Ferrari. That’s all in less time that it takes to watch the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The program had four hours to play itself many, many times, thereby becoming its own teacher.”

The article (http://www.usgo.org/news/2017/12/googles-alphazero-destroys-highest-rated-chess-engine-in-100-game-match/) continues with a comment from the ‘Deep Thinking’ Garry Kasparov from an article by Mike Klein at another website.

Thomas Magar posted a comment on the USCF forum under the thread, AlphaZero – first true AI in chess? (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=23721&start=15), which gets right down to it; cuts to the chase, or gets to the heart of the matter. No matter how one puts it, this is the $64,000 Question (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_$64,000_Question):

“Think of the endless possibilities for silicon based cheating. It is going to be a challenge for the anti-cheating committees to compare games and catch someone who is using a new algorithm based on AlphaZero. The unique and paradoxical moves may not be comparable to known move selection by present programs. If the chips are small enough, virtually anything could become the device that can be used to generate moves quietly, stealthily, and effectively.”

Could this be the end of Chess?

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