From mind to machine, a programming shift
By S Rajesh – CHENNAI
Published: 01st November 2013 12:58 PM
Last Updated: 01st November 2013 12:58 PM

In the 1968 Sci-Fi classic movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey, a computer HAL 9000 beats astronaut Frank Poole in a chess game and signs off saying: “Thank you for a very enjoyable game.” But in reality, it wasn’t until the 90s before computers like Deep Thought and Deep Blue started playing and beating Grandmasters.

A historic match was played in 1996 between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue developed by IBM. Kasparov won 4-2 and a rematch was held in 1997 which was won by the computer 3.5-2.5. Indeed, not many know there is a world championship for computers or that Deep Junior, a programme developed by Israeli programmers Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky, has won the title eight times. Technology then became more prevalent with opening lines, mid-game positions being analysed in more depth and better fashion.

Manuel Aaron, who trained Viswanathan Anand, says: “Before 80s, there were no computers but now a lot of people are using technology for better use. It’s an advantage to be aware of theory. We have always been inventors in chess. Now we also have recognition for it as Indians are playing more lines and more variations.”

GM RB Ramesh, who also did not have much technology to his aid when he started off, presents an interesting take on the advancements of chess engines. “Before they came along, we would follow the opinion of top players. For example, if Kasparov or Anand said that this opening was unplayable or bad, we wouldn’t consider them. But now, with all this data and engines like Houdini, Rybka etc the players can verify the positions themselves. And surprisingly, they may find that the position is playable and they can prepare more variations and responses.”

Technology has been seen in the forefront before in World championship matches when Veselin Topalov used a 112 core computer cluster funded by the Bulgarian government against Anand. But another powerful computer came to the Indian’s aid and in his own words, “The human cluster of Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik helped me”. Skype was used for analysis as well with Anand and his team of seconds clarifying a lot of doubts with Kasparov through that media.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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