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How chess-playing computers changed real-world matches

Computers scored their first big chess win in 1997, when IBM's Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in the duo's second meeting. Since then, humanity's computerized opponents have only gotten better.

According to an article by Guillermo Campitelli of Australia's Edith Cowan University and published in Science Alert, chess engines like Houdini and HIARCS have democratized the process of learning strategies once known only to a few.

"Before the computer era, understanding the games of the world championships was difficult even for strong club chess players," Campitelli wrote. "Nowadays, it is possible to watch the games live on the internet and run a chess engine on one's computer.

"The engine tells you the best moves in each position, and evaluates each move. These engines are so good that beginner players immediately realize when the world class players make mistakes."

Players now use chess engines to simulate games and discover moves and strategies unplayed by chess masters. According to Campitelli, 22-year-old World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen's middle and end games both "resemble how engines play chess" by focusing on calculations.

"Computers don't care about the past and play the move that their calculations determine is the best," he wrote. "Carlsen seems to be able to avoid this human bias, and play more like a computer."