Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

Computers in chess... Good or Evil? Part Three.

  • GM Gserper
  • | 2013.02.27.
  • | 10999 megtekintés
  • | 37 hozzászólás

The first two parts of this article generated many comments from our readers so let me address a couple of popular misconceptions.

First of all, the goal of this article is not to find out who plays chess better, computers or human players. This question was definitely answered years ago and the difference in the playing strength will be getting bigger and bigger as the computers become faster and their programs get more sophisticated. So when I analyzed the game where Nakamura managed to take advantage of the 'horizon effect' and beat the silicon beast, it was a good example of human being smarter than a computer, not stronger. (Of course this statement doesn't even need a proof since computers and their programs are created by humans and strictly speaking computer is just a piece of metal that executes human commands quickly and without mistakes). So to me Nakamura's game is a celebration of the human mind. 

The following point is more important in my opinion. Chess.com is a very nice virtual place where people from all over the world can share their views and ideas about our beautiful game. And my article is just that - my personal opinion. So, before you write in your comment that being a Grandmaster for over 20 years doesn't make me an expert in computer chess, please remember that I never claimed that my article is the ultimate truth about computer chess. It is just my personal view based on my personal experience.

After above mentioned disclaimers, let's focus on our subject.  Many chess players use chess engines as their guides. Indeed it is very convenient to ask Houdini or Fritz why Anand played that move and why his opponent didn't capture a pawn for free.  But remember, this approach has its limitations.  If the position is sharp and it is all about calculations there, then your chess engine is as close to the ultimate truth as it is possible.  But if the position is relatively quiet, then the computer's suggestions could be misleading. Here is a simple example:

I call this position "Capablanca's position" because I saw a similar position many years ago in one of Capablanca's books.  What's the evaluation of this position? Capablanca claimed that White is strategically winning due to his superior pawn structure. I am sure that most of the modern GMs would share the opinion of the great Cuban.  Meanwhile many computer engines think that White has a significant but not a winning advantage. Here we again see sort of 'horizon effect'.  Capablanca knows that in the long run a weak backward c6 pawn and a strong , potentially passed e5 pawn should bring White a win, meanwhile a chess engine cannot see that far (White will probably need 20-30 moves to convert his advantage into a win). The next game of Capablanca is a good example of this concept.  Please note that in his game Capablanca's e5  pawn wasn't potentially passed pawn and Black's c6 pawn wasn't backward or weak, and yet he was able to slowly grind down his opponent.
This is a good opportunity to answer a question from one of the readers about my game vs. Kramnik that I analyzed in this article: http://www.chess.com/article/view/what-is-a-proper-moment-to-resign-a-game?page=2
In the position after Kramnik's move 18. f4! I was about to resign and the reader asked why.  According to a chess engine White's advantage wasn't that big (less than +.5)
I wasn't afraid of Kramnik (we played five games and this game was my only loss) but I simply didn't see how to stop his coming attack on the King's Side while I had no counter play whatsoever. Therefore, in my opinion, the computer's evaluation is totally wrong. It simply doesn't see the coming attack due to the same 'horizon effect'.
Finally, let me show you my game vs. Nakamura. But please don't ask me what was going on between moves 17 and 25.  I am planning to discuss it in one of my future articles. The game reached the position on the diagram and there is only one move that saves White:
I was told that when I played my only saving move, many spectators who watched the game live on the ICC screamed that Serper had lost his mind because their chess engines showed evaluation of -4 or even more.  Of course  as I mentioned in the first part of this article, the computers simply don't understand the concept of a fortress and therefore they wouldn't be able to save the game. So, whenever you use your trusted engine for chess explorations, please remember that computers are a wonderful learning tool, but they have their own limitations!
to be continued...

Hozzászólások


  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    calemcc

    I don't know what egines you or other people are using.  I used Houdini 1.5a w32 and it immediately recognized Capablanca's position as immediately winning and recognized the other position (w/Nxe4!) as drawn right away

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    GabrieleMiceli

    "he tells me that it mean he was better by 4 tenths of a pawn.  I then asked him but why were you better?  The blank look was priceless." Laughing lol
    It's food for thought

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    EdJohnson26

    "Chess engines, like chess books are tools to improve that's it."

    Exactly. And if one simply points out a position (in this case Capablancas position) that engines and GMs evaluate differently, without even asking which side is correct, then the "tool" is not being put to use because you haven't learned how/why black can hold to a draw with black (or vice versa). That's the only point I'm making

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    richardep

    Comparing chess engines to GMs is a bit like comparing Usain Bolt to a 19th century car. Inevitably the human brain and body gets left behind because we've built a specialist. Still, people will pay thousands and travel hours at 1000kph in a plane to see Bolt run 40kph for 10 seconds.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    EdJohnson26

    "Its one thing to know the answer to a question, but if you dont understand the answer it doesnt matter."

    This is a good point that I think ties into what I was trying to say.

    The article says "most modern GMs" would evaluate Capablanca's position as winning, whereas most engines would not.

    Is this difference due the engines being incorrect, or is it due to "most modern GMs" not understanding the correct answer?

    That would be the relevant question to ask and it's also why computers can actually advance human positional ideas and understanding. That was my only point.

    I'm guessing Bobby Fischer is pfren's idol. Fischer was very good at chess, obviously. And also a complete tool.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    Ranger_Squad

    IM pfren  

    Nice article- just as the previous two.

    Why, oh why computer fanboys have to be so blatandly stupid?

    I  think IM title entitles him to say anyone stupid..This horizon effect is not a new problem its been first questioned in 1984..do you think programmers are moron people and are not aware of it..its 2013.come on , any programmer has to choose between alpha beta pruning or quiscence algorithm some programmers still go with 

    alpha beta prunning bcoz they dont want to cut interesting lines but he drawback with alphabeta prunning is that it can take around 10-15 minutes for 25+ply..therefore some go with quiescence to cutdown this time. since chess is not a completely solved game any game situation can be horizon for any computer or even for humans..if u want to beat a engine on the basis of concept of fortress or 

    horizon buy a software with queiscence algorithm it would not be easily possible.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    i-ck-e

    First of all I agree with the author. People are smarter than computers because we can find the mistake within the engine. Therefore it does not matter if the engines are brand-new or very old, the point is the same: Computers are build by humans and therefore they cannot be perfect.

    A little example: I had a computer and at every game he made the same opening mistake and I could win or draw. I found the mistake. Whenever I play something against computers I look for a way to "cheat". I did that with FifaSoccer and with Shootergames and with all other games. I even cheated against Mario.

    I am not a good chess player but I see the author´s point that good players find a mistake that programmers did not know about and they always will I guess.Maybe the engines today don´t make the same mistakes they used to do, so humans have to find the newest blunder within the engine.

    Finally: we do not discuss here and that is a pity. It is a good topic but we don´t talk with each other. Best example is Pfren. No arguments, just waste. Why are their arguments "lies"?

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    IM pfren

    Nice article- just as the previous two.

    Why, oh why computer fanboys have to be so blatandly stupid? Their comments fail to be even laughable... They are also full of shameless lies, but this is something to be expected.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    sofouuk

    Mihaialin, not only have you 'seen this position before' in IMBryanSmith's epic breakthrough article, but you also evidently saw my suggestion that it would make a good test for a computer (full attribution is always appreciated). it does make a good test, but rybka finds the win at 28+ ply.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    sofouuk

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    RevealedCheck

    Of course this statement doesn't even need a proof since computers and their programs are created by humans and strictly speaking computer is just a piece of metal that executes human commands quickly and without mistakes

    Should read more Alan Turing. What does he think a human brain runs on? Magic? The disappearance of limitations is inevitable...

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    MaxLangeIsGood

    Only one of "my" engines even discovered the Ne4 move. Houdini found in zero secs and then rejected it as fast. Ng4-lines were totally dominating at depth of 47/60 or something.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    EdJohnson26

    Here's the part of the article that I think misses the point:

    "What's the evaluation of this position? Capablanca claimed that White is strategically winning due to his superior pawn structure. I am sure that most of the modern GMs would share the opinion of the great Cuban. Meanwhile many computer engines think that White has a significant but not a winning advantage."

    This part of the article seems to suggest that this difference in evaluations between GMs and computers is a matter of opinion. It isn't. Either "most modern GMs" are correct (i.e. they can play white and prevent a computer engine from holding to a draw), or they are wrong.

    I mean sure, a weaker player like myself may not hold certain dead draws against stronger player. But that doesn't change the evaluation of a given position.

     Roman Dzindzichashvili did a video a few years back analyzing a similar point regarding an endgame where white is a pawn down. Except that he gives the answer, which is that the computer was indeed wrong in evaluating that black had an advantage when in fact white was slightly better, which (after a few moves) the computer eventually "realized".

    http://www.chess.com/video/player/instructive-unorthodox-endgae-evaluation

    The relevant part of the video starts around 6 minutes.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    panchovillain

    I was about to go to bed when I followed a link and get to these articles and problems...I am gonna have a very hard time going to work tomorrow...

     

     

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    Sabonis11

    I'm going to continue to be a skeptic until there's an example regarding a computer's capabilities that isn't easily debunked by Houdini running on my mom's 4 year old laptop.

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    Ranger_Squad

    problem given below is drawn (horizon) check ur engines..

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    Ranger_Squad

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    Square247

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    dragonair234

    A most fascinating article! I learned a few new concepts by researching their definitions as used in the article.  

  • 19 hónap ezelőtt

    Mihaialin

    Put a computer to solve this!

     
    I think this position vever occured in a real game,but it's a great challenge
    for a computer.White moves and wins!
     
     
                                              I've seen this position in an article. 
Vissza az elejére

Válasz elküldése: