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Old February 7th 04, 05:24 PM
Mike Murray
 
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Default Computers and chess motivation

In the new (Winter, 2004) Chess Life, Larry Evans writes, "... why
would anyone devote a lifetime to mastering a game from which it is
almost impossible to earn a living if a hand-held device can find the
best move in a split second?"

(This was in response to a reader's comment that asking the computers
versus humans question is "equivalent to asking if a fork lift could
beat a weightlifter or if a speedboat could beat a swimmer".)

Even when he loses, there's something noble and inspiring about
Kasparov facing down a multimillion dollar custom machine backed by a
dedicated team of computer scientists, consulting grandmasters and a
major corporation.

But, where's the nobility when a grandmaster loses to software one
can buy for under a hundred bucks, running on a relatively inexpensive
piece of office equipment, primarily intended for word-processing,
e-mail, and playing music?

Will chess software cut the legs off top end chess? Or will computers
be relegated to a training and sparring tool, used for pregame
preparation and post-game auditing?

I know this question has been addressed many times, but the quiet
bitterness in Evans' comment makes me want to revisit it.
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Old February 7th 04, 09:40 PM
Largo SQL Tools
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

Mike,

"Will chess software cut the legs off top end chess?"

Top end chess is cutting off its own legs. Professional chess is a mess. I
doubt computers can do anything to make things worse. The fact that Fritz
can play a match even with Kasparov doesn't diminish my interest in chess.
I don't play that many games against computers but I use them heavily in
analyzing my games.

If you think about computers playing chess, there really isn't much to get
impressed about. If you turn off the opening books and tablebases, no
computer could play much above 2000. With opening books and tablebases, all
a program is doing is lookups into a database.

I think the correct way to view computers playing chess is as a tool to
instruct us and help us play better, which it can do very well. The fact
that they can regularly beat all but perhaps five players in the world
shouldn't reduce our interest in chess.

Regarding Larry Evans' comment, unless you were a Russian living in the 19th
to late 20th century, I personally cannot understand why anyone devotes a
lifetime mastering a game in which the return is virtually nil. Russians
aside, I doubt there have been 1000 people who have made a successful living
at chess since 1900. However, I would guess there have been tens of
millions who have enjoyed it as a hobby. I am one of them.

"Mike Murray" wrote in message
...
In the new (Winter, 2004) Chess Life, Larry Evans writes, "... why
would anyone devote a lifetime to mastering a game from which it is
almost impossible to earn a living if a hand-held device can find the
best move in a split second?"

(This was in response to a reader's comment that asking the computers
versus humans question is "equivalent to asking if a fork lift could
beat a weightlifter or if a speedboat could beat a swimmer".)

Even when he loses, there's something noble and inspiring about
Kasparov facing down a multimillion dollar custom machine backed by a
dedicated team of computer scientists, consulting grandmasters and a
major corporation.

But, where's the nobility when a grandmaster loses to software one
can buy for under a hundred bucks, running on a relatively inexpensive
piece of office equipment, primarily intended for word-processing,
e-mail, and playing music?

Will chess software cut the legs off top end chess? Or will computers
be relegated to a training and sparring tool, used for pregame
preparation and post-game auditing?

I know this question has been addressed many times, but the quiet
bitterness in Evans' comment makes me want to revisit it.



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Old February 7th 04, 10:48 PM
Martin Wilber
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

I agree with statements. Computers are great as tools for post game
tactical analysis. The fact that Fritz is a much better player than me
hasn't diminished my interest in the game. Chess at the scholastic
level is very successful, and you don't see any of the children fretting
over the fact that computers play better than them.

Marty
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Old February 7th 04, 11:28 PM
Euc1id
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

Computers are tools. Use them, or not, as you wish. They are neither good
nor bad, simply possible tools. Computers are taken for granted by the new
generation, so they will use them in all avenues of life with absolutely no
sense of guilt or remorse. Of course that includes chess. Chess is no better
nor worse because of use of computers. It remains a parttime hobby and
pasttime for 99.9%+ of us. The few who try to make money or a living from it
are in a very tiny minority, and I trust that they'll use computers too, if
they wish -- or not, if they wish. It's all about personal choice. It's
probably a fair statement that human+computer is stronger than either of
them separately, so that's probably what the future holds. Eventually I
suppose they'll implant a computer chip in the brains of all newborns, so
they can access the universal computer directly. That interface still
remains to be developed, insofar as I'm aware, but may already exist in
secret. It's the dawn of a new era.
--
Euc1id


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Old February 8th 04, 11:16 AM
Mikko Nummelin
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Mike Murray wrote:

In the new (Winter, 2004) Chess Life, Larry Evans writes, "... why
would anyone devote a lifetime to mastering a game from which it is
almost impossible to earn a living if a hand-held device can find the
best move in a split second?"


I think that better chess software is as little a threat to professional
chess as cars and cranes are to athletics. On the contrary, chess database
applications with better engines are valuable in training and analyzing
games, especially to amateurs and beginners. For example computers have
aided the development of endgame theory in significant ways by introducing
tablebases.


Mikko Nummelin


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Old February 8th 04, 02:29 PM
RPM1
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation


"Mikko Nummelin" wrote in message
i...
On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Mike Murray wrote:

In the new (Winter, 2004) Chess Life, Larry Evans writes, "... why
would anyone devote a lifetime to mastering a game from which it is
almost impossible to earn a living if a hand-held device can find the
best move in a split second?"


I think that better chess software is as little a threat to professional
chess as cars and cranes are to athletics. On the contrary, chess database
applications with better engines are valuable in training and analyzing
games, especially to amateurs and beginners.


Maybe what Larry Evans was referring to when he said "earn a living"
was not playing in tournaments to win money but getting paid to train
amateurs and beginners, and to analyze games for them. In which
case computers *are* making it hard to earn a living. Why pay
Larry Evans to analyze your game when Fritz will do it faster and
cheaper and when you want? And if you're not that strong a player,
(which most of us aren't), Fritz's analysis is plenty good enough.

There are probably a lot of masters and GM's that make/made more
money teaching than they do playing. If the teaching aspect falls
off due to computers and the tournament aspect doesn't increase
they will have to find other work.

Just my $0.02,
Patrick


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Old February 9th 04, 10:32 AM
Gordon
 
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Default Computers and chess motivation


"RPM1" wrote in message
...

"Mikko Nummelin" wrote in message
i...
On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Mike Murray wrote:

In the new (Winter, 2004) Chess Life, Larry Evans writes, "... why
would anyone devote a lifetime to mastering a game from which it is
almost impossible to earn a living if a hand-held device can find the
best move in a split second?"


I think that better chess software is as little a threat to professional
chess as cars and cranes are to athletics. On the contrary, chess

database
applications with better engines are valuable in training and analyzing
games, especially to amateurs and beginners.


Maybe what Larry Evans was referring to when he said "earn a living"
was not playing in tournaments to win money but getting paid to train
amateurs and beginners, and to analyze games for them. In which
case computers *are* making it hard to earn a living. Why pay
Larry Evans to analyze your game when Fritz will do it faster and
cheaper and when you want? And if you're not that strong a player,
(which most of us aren't), Fritz's analysis is plenty good enough.

There are probably a lot of masters and GM's that make/made more
money teaching than they do playing. If the teaching aspect falls
off due to computers and the tournament aspect doesn't increase
they will have to find other work.


Fair point. And it may indeed be that many people are happy with computer
analysis and don't seek other help from masters, etc.

I make frequent use of computer analysis (DBs and programs such as Fritz),
and I've also had a GM analyse some of my games. I've found that the GM
analysis is much more helpful. Here's some reasons...

- if he gave a comment/improvement/etc. that I didn't fully understand, I
could ask him to expand or give related examples
- he was able to identify common weaknesses across my games, and recommend
specific training to help tackle these
- when he recommended a better move, it was always a "human" type move.
Sometimes Fritz, etc. recommend moves that only a computer should play due
to the complxity involved, and this may get worse as computers get stronger
- the GM was able to include human psychological aspects of the game in his
analysis. This is an important aspect of the game, and computer analysis
ignores it completely
- it was more enjoyable than working with Fritz

So, I personally will always place value on help from masters/GMs.

Gordon


Just my $0.02,
Patrick




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Old February 9th 04, 10:56 AM
Gordon
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

I generally agree with what you say. However, I disagree with your
statement:

"If you turn off the opening books and tablebases, no computer could play
much above 2000"

While I acknowledge the significant role played by opening books and
tablebases, I think that computers are still very strong without them. I'd
estimate at least 2400. The main exception to this may be if the computer
repeats a losing line again and again. One of the roles of an opening book
(with learning enabled) is to avoid this.

Gordon


"Largo SQL Tools" wrote in message
...
Mike,

"Will chess software cut the legs off top end chess?"

Top end chess is cutting off its own legs. Professional chess is a mess.

I
doubt computers can do anything to make things worse. The fact that Fritz
can play a match even with Kasparov doesn't diminish my interest in chess.
I don't play that many games against computers but I use them heavily in
analyzing my games.

If you think about computers playing chess, there really isn't much to get
impressed about. If you turn off the opening books and tablebases, no
computer could play much above 2000. With opening books and tablebases,

all
a program is doing is lookups into a database.

I think the correct way to view computers playing chess is as a tool to
instruct us and help us play better, which it can do very well. The fact
that they can regularly beat all but perhaps five players in the world
shouldn't reduce our interest in chess.

Regarding Larry Evans' comment, unless you were a Russian living in the

19th
to late 20th century, I personally cannot understand why anyone devotes a
lifetime mastering a game in which the return is virtually nil. Russians
aside, I doubt there have been 1000 people who have made a successful

living
at chess since 1900. However, I would guess there have been tens of
millions who have enjoyed it as a hobby. I am one of them.

"Mike Murray" wrote in message
...
In the new (Winter, 2004) Chess Life, Larry Evans writes, "... why
would anyone devote a lifetime to mastering a game from which it is
almost impossible to earn a living if a hand-held device can find the
best move in a split second?"

(This was in response to a reader's comment that asking the computers
versus humans question is "equivalent to asking if a fork lift could
beat a weightlifter or if a speedboat could beat a swimmer".)

Even when he loses, there's something noble and inspiring about
Kasparov facing down a multimillion dollar custom machine backed by a
dedicated team of computer scientists, consulting grandmasters and a
major corporation.

But, where's the nobility when a grandmaster loses to software one
can buy for under a hundred bucks, running on a relatively inexpensive
piece of office equipment, primarily intended for word-processing,
e-mail, and playing music?

Will chess software cut the legs off top end chess? Or will computers
be relegated to a training and sparring tool, used for pregame
preparation and post-game auditing?

I know this question has been addressed many times, but the quiet
bitterness in Evans' comment makes me want to revisit it.





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Old February 9th 04, 01:01 PM
David Richerby
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

RPM1 wrote:
Maybe what Larry Evans was referring to when he said "earn a living"
was not playing in tournaments to win money but getting paid to train
amateurs and beginners, and to analyze games for them. In which
case computers *are* making it hard to earn a living. Why pay
Larry Evans to analyze your game when Fritz will do it faster and
cheaper and when you want? And if you're not that strong a player,
(which most of us aren't), Fritz's analysis is plenty good enough.


As Gordon said in his followup to your post, the human expert sees the
big picture and can give advice based on all of your games, whereas the
computer just looks at the game you give it. Another aspect of this is
that humans recommend plans, whereas computers recommend moves. It's
much more helpful to be given the answer to the question, `How should I
play in this kind of position?' than `What is the best move in this
exact position?'


Dave.

--
David Richerby Incredible Radio (TM): it's like a
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~davidr/ radio but it'll blow your mind!
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Old February 9th 04, 02:17 PM
Mikko Nummelin
 
Posts: n/a
Default Computers and chess motivation

On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, David Richerby wrote:

As Gordon said in his followup to your post, the human expert sees the
big picture and can give advice based on all of your games, whereas the
computer just looks at the game you give it. Another aspect of this is
that humans recommend plans, whereas computers recommend moves. It's
much more helpful to be given the answer to the question, `How should I
play in this kind of position?' than `What is the best move in this
exact position?'


That question is answered by generating a main line and analyzing also
some side variations.


Mikko Nummelin
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