Chess vs. Computer

by Milica Knezevic on January 11, 2022
Chess Engine

The Chess Land Before DeepBlue

  • The era of human superiority in chess lasted for a very long time. We have witnessed computers try and fail to reach the levels of grandmasters many times.
  • However, like all things in life, this too had to end.
  • The beginning of the end was with the first computer to ever defeat a human.
  • This computer is the 1956 MANIAC, developed at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and it became the first computer to defeat a human in a chess-like game. Playing with the simplified Los Alamos rules, it defeated a novice in 23 moves.
  • In 1967, several MIT students and professors (organized by Seymour Papert) challenged Dr. Hubert Dreyfus to play a game of chess against Mac Hack VI. Dreyfus, a professor of philosophy at MIT, wrote the book What Computers Can’t Do, questioning the computer's ability to serve as a model for the human brain. He then proceeded to lose the match against the very machine he said couldn't beat a 10 year old in chess.
Chess Engine Mac Hack VI
  • In 1968, Northwestern University students Larry Atkin, David Slate and Keith Gorlen began work on Chess (Northwestern University).
  • They kept developing the engine, coming up with various version from 4.5 to 4.7, each with a boosted and better performance.
  • International Master Edward Lasker stated that year, "My contention that computers cannot play like a master, I retract. They play absolutely alarmingly. I know, because I have lost games to 4.7."

  • For a long time in the 1970s and 1980s, it remained an open question whether any chess program would ever be able to defeat the expertise of top humans.
  • In 1968, International Master David Levy made a famous bet that no chess computer would be able to beat him within ten years. He won his bet in 1978 by beating Chess 4.7 which Lasker had a statement on (the strongest computer at the time).
  • This moment is recognized and known as David Levy's Bet.
David Levy

Chess Computer Master Rating

  • In 1981, Cray Blitz scored 5–0 in the Mississippi State Championship. In round 4, it defeated Joe Sentef (2262) to become the first computer to beat a master in tournament play and the first computer to gain a master rating (2258).
Cray Blitz

Chess Journey With Deep Blue

  • In 1996 Kasparov played a six-game match against IBM's Deep Blue . Kasparov lost the first game, the first time a reigning world champion had lost to a computer using regular time controls. However, Kasparov regrouped to win three and draw two of the remaining five games of the match, for a convincing 4–2 match victory.
  • In May 1997, an updated version of Deep Blue defeated Kasparov 3½–2½ in a highly publicized six-game match. Kasparov won the first, lost the second, and drew the next three. The match was even after five games but Kasparov was crushed in Game 6. This was the first time a computer had ever defeated a world champion in match play. A documentary film was made about this famous match-up entitled Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine. In that film Kasparov casually says, "I have to tell you that, you know, game two was not just a single loss of a game. It was a loss of the match, because I couldn't recover."
  • In game 6, Kasparov blundered very early into the game. Kasparov cites tiredness and unhappiness with the IBM team's conduct at the time as the main reason.
  • Kasparov claimed that several factors weighed against him in this match. In particular, he was denied access to Deep Blue's recent games, in contrast to the computer's team that could study hundreds of Kasparov's.
  • After the loss, Kasparov said that he sometimes saw deep intelligence and creativity in the machine's moves, suggesting that during the second game, human chess players, in contravention of the rules, intervened.
  • IBM denied that it cheated, saying the only human intervention occurred between games. The rules provided for the developers to modify the program between games, an opportunity they said they used to shore up weaknesses in the computer's play revealed during the course of the match. Kasparov requested printouts of the machine's log files but IBM refused, although the company later published the logs on the Internet.
  • Kasparov demanded a rematch, but IBM refused and dismantled Deep Blue.
  • He maintains that he was told the match was to be a scientific project but that it soon became apparent that IBM wanted only to beat him for the company's advertisement.
Kasparov vs. Deep Blue

Challenge AI Yourself!

  • After all of the history between humans and computers, try your own hand at a chess game with an AI by downloading the Chess Universe App and try and enjoy it as much as you can.
  • Think of all the things that are needed in order for an AI to beat you at chess and then you can even enjoy that little philosophical journey!
  • You can also explore our Shop for some interesting products!

Chess is always going to be an intriguing and exciting game to play. The fact that humans have developed and perfected so many things around it will forever remain. This historical journey that we went on is supposed to show both how exciting chess games are and how important they were in the sense of technological advancements!

Thinking about AI can pose many ethical dilemmas and questions in general, the story of AI in chess is one that is very easy to follow and support. Thanks to Chess Grandmasters and World Champions deciding to play against computers potentially risking their reputation we now posses amazing data on AI.

We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we are sure any of us would enjoy going back in time and witnessing one of these epic Human vs. Machine matches. Take all of the information as one more plus for chess and chess players!

1 comment
by Alan Cabral on January 22, 2022

Parabéns pelo conteúdo do Chess Universe.


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