It was recently suggested to me that modern chess programs are nothing more than calculators that use mathematical equations in a brut force attack on chess positions. I began to speculate that this may be a common belief among engine chess players. Of course we all know that calculators do not play chess. Modern chess programs use a variety of sub-routines that prune or limit the number of moves that are considered. Many sophisticated heuristically based techniques have been used to impart a limited but quite effective knowledge of chess to these programs. While far from being sentient, a modern chess engine is much more than a mere calculator.
It seems to me that there is a vast difference between scientific development and practical application of principal. To be sure both are important to the fledgling sport of engine chess.
The computer programs we enjoy today are a direct result of 50 years of scientific research in the field of Artificial Intelligence (Specifically that of Expert Systems, a sub-field therein.) Hundreds of unnamed contributors from many diverse disciplines came together to infuse that first spark of intelligence into a mass of inert circuitry. So slowly did it come about that we don’t clearly see its improbable wonder.
Most of these brilliant men are computer scientists and mathematicians and world class *Nerds. Not the kind of people capable of commercially profiting from the practical application of their work.
A two hour video on the history of computer chess:
The fact that there are industries businessmen that are willing to stand upon the shoulders of these geniuses in order to grab the brass ring of profit, is the way of the world. However as Henry Ford had little to do with the invention of the automobile, so to do the commercial chess programmers of today have little to do with the underlying heuristics of the programs they produce. Ford help put autos into the hands of millions, by doing this made them a practical and useful tool for the average user.
What I am saying is give credit where credit is due and seek the next quantum leap in chess programming from the unknown men and women working in the field of artificial intelligences. Locked away form the world, hidden behind secrecy contracts, in places like Bell Labs and Los Alamos where they continue the advancement to this day.
single-minded enthusiast: an enthusiast whose interest is regarded as too technical or scientific and who seems obsessively wrapped up in it (often used in combination; offensive in some contexts)
In the last few months a new website has made it appearance upon the net. One that’s mission statement and execution is so aligned with my viewpoint of what is best for the advancement of computer chess that I must shout its praises.
Norm Pruitt’s: www.enginechess.com
The mission statement of Norm’s site is to attempt to bring the computer chess player the tools needed to be competitive in a computer vs. computer environment. In this he is succeeding superbly, where others have fallen short. His site is clear, easy to navigate and very comprehensive.
Here you will find opening books by some of the top engine players (many found nowhere else). Articles about and interviews with Freestyle players. Links to all the right websites to get the information that is needed to increase your Elo in engine play. A new forum has just been established there and I will be closely monitoring it and adding to the discussions.
If you need to down load EGTB this is the place to go.
Norm is an acknowledged expert on the use of end game table bases and the hardware require to run them as well as a innovative book maker. He has held the top ranking in engine play, both in Blitz and longer time controls many times over the years. He resides in North Carolina with his wife Joyce and Sissy the chess cat.
I have been receiving a considerable amount of correspondence relating to my book making theories. The overwhelming majority of it positive in nature. Thank you all for your kind words. I have started posting on my website some of the more representative comments and questions. Look here Book Making Q & A Please do not hesitate to email me with your inquires, I will try to respond to all. Kevin@frayerchess.com
The most ask question is; can I have the Password to download the books for book testers. (the most current updates) The answer unfortunately is no. These are the books that the book testing team that works with me are currently engaged in playing online. It is from these games played under rated conditions that the updates are derived. In order to give the dedicated testing team a competitive advantage I do not release an update to the public until I am sure that it has been superseded by the latest update available to the team.
Never the less I feel that the public updates are very strong and used correctly by the serious player will provide a clear advantage, especially in blitz play.
One more quick word about this new chess blog. The article you just read was originally posted on my blogspot.com Blog, February 21,2008. I am transferring all my older post from blogspot.com over to WorldPress.com. I will soon be caught up and hope to maintain both blogs. I have been advised that this new format on WorldPress is easer to read and will reach a more diverse audience.