Friday, January 25, 2013

Film: "Computer Chess"

The Sundance Film Festival in the US ended this week, but there is one "oddball" film that's continuing to attract attention and is currently doing the rounds of reviews. It is the film by Andrew Bujalski, "Computer Chess". Instead of highlighting the usual review from some film buff, I thought it more interesting to point to this instead - an article by Gordon Kindlmann, assistant professor of comp sci. at the University of Chicago, and who worked on the movie as a technical consultant and actually acted in it.
There were also philosophical questions in the air, such as whether a program was capable of creative or insightful play, and to what extent we could learn from the computer when it played a strong game. Brilliant and passionate people, with intellectual goals as well as complex emotional investments, populated all sides of these issues. Bujalski's characters live in this moment, working through the ideas and ambitions of that optimistic and fertile time.
By the way, here is Bujalski's fund raising page for the movie.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learn Chess, Learn Some Grit

Here's another plus to encouraging chess. The game teaches life skills, grit, character. This interesting discussion isn't specifically about chess but about the broader subject of teaching "grit" to children. Hat tip to The Economist.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Anton: The "Supernova"

Blimey. I remember when his dad, international master and Sydney Uni academic Vladimir Smirnov, used to take him to Hyde Park to spar with the locals over a few rounds of lightning. He was fairly easy back then. But now, I think, not so. With a rating of 2161 (ACF), Anton Smirnov has significantly improved since the last time I saw him. And now he's a local superstar. At least to North Sydney local, Paul Glissan: "He's a Wolfgang Mozart. He's exceptional."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chess Is Just Too Hard

It's official. The scientists have delivered their verdict. Chess is just too hard. The game is impossible to master. And if you thought of switching to poker, you can forget that, too.