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viscovery 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Would you still play chess if it has been solved? It has been reported that checkers has been solved
-> www.chessbase.com

If in the near future, they managed to solve chess...would you still be playing it?
ganstaman 118 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes. 100%, without a doubt. Already here we don't play with computers, and most of the time I play people that aren't using one (elsewhere, I mean).

It would change the information a bit. The thing is, the solution would be too big to publish in full, and so most of us wouldn't even have the chance to try to memorize it all. So all it would do is say "Opening X is superior to the others by this general line: ....... and opening Y actually loses by this line: ......"

In this way, openings would be affected. But look at games played everywhere: we deviate from mainlines all the time. If the Sicilian wins for black, then play the Closed Sicilian where you can more or less create the position you want, and no memorization can help your opponent. Or I'd just play 1.f4 like I do now, and who would bother to even remember why it loses for white -- again, if they did though, I'd just deviate to the point where their memory stops being helpful.

Of course, those are just examples, but I think it would still be a very playable game. I'll still play checkers and neither I nor any of my opponents will ever play one of the perfect games -- the computer will not have impacted my checkers playing.
tag1153 217 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess HAS been solved....haven't you heard? Once during an international tournament, in which the most illustrious players in the world were participating, a strange looking fellow introduced himself to the great Cuban, who was no doubt expecting another plea for an autograph, and told him that he had solved chess. You can imagine the look on Capablanca's face who immediately began to turn away just in case the man wasn't just crazy, but violent as well. Still, the strange insistent man then pulled a thousand dollars from his pocket and told Capablanca it would be his if he could avoid being mated in twelve moves. Well, crazy or not, a thousand dollars is a thousand dollars, so he accepted and obligingly followed the man to his room.

The game started simply enough, but after a couple of strange moves, as soon as move eight, the position began to look menacing, and to his absolute shock, Capablanca saw his King being mated on the twelfth move. His eyes were bulging, he couldn't believe it, and he insisted that they start over. This time he tried a completely different opening, one that could never lead to that same position, but just as before, after a few strange moves, with no possible counter, he found himself checkmated again. Something was wrong, he must have made some very obvious mistake, but he couldn't see where, so he told the fellow to wait, and 20 minutes later he came back with both Lasker, and Alekhine. Lasker seemed dubious about the whole idea before the game began, and played a slow and very defensive opening, yet twelve moves later, in front of an equally incredulous Alekhine, he too saw his King surrounded.

"It was terrible, and embarrassing", Capablanca told his friend, but no matter what opening they tried, no matter what they did, they were always checkmated after twelve moves. What were they going to do? They were the best in the world and yet now it was all over: chess had been solved.

"But I never heard that chess was solved. What did you do? What happened?" his friend asked.

"Why we killed him, of course."

ccmcacollister 87 ( +1 | -1 )
NO ... If there were a forced winning or drawing sequence known, even if 100 moves long, I do not believe that I would continue to play. Even tho I think there would be plenty of chances to deviate and "fool" most opponent with what would have to be 'inferior' to THE known 'solution'. It wont ever be solved tho. Because there ARE too many chances to deviate which are as good or only slightly inferior to mainline theory, imo.
***
However, I did hear just this week that a claim has been made to have 'solved" Checkers (aka Draughts) by computer play. It has long been held, for decades now, that Checkers had become largely a memory game with openings of very long sequences. I can't swear to it, but think that it was considered drawish from the start. Has anyone heard differently?
viscovery 63 ( +1 | -1 )
death to professional and correspondance chess? if in the near future, chess is solved I guess it would mean the end of professional chess. It would just be a contest of memorisation rather than skill and originality. It would also be difficult to attract sponsors.

It would also mean the end to correspondance or turn based chess (like gameknot). Players could just check the "solutions" online (for checkers solution see -> www.cs.ualberta.ca .

I dunno...I might still play blitz chess or some variants of chess like fischer chess.

Anyone here got any fav variants?
ganstaman 37 ( +1 | -1 )
On gameknot now, you are not allowed to use a computer. Why would things change once this solution comes out? It would still be far too large to be printed out, so electronic storage on a computer would be the only way for it to be accessed.

I agree that professional chess would change/die. But for the rest of us, there's little to worry about IMO. How many of you have actually stopped playing checkers now?
ccmcacollister 63 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman ... Yes, I stopped playing checkers. But more just a case of no real opportunity to do it in an interesting place/way since Leisure Linc I suppose.
My trouble with a Solved Chess would largely be, i think, that so many players would then start trying to follow the known winning sequence and so it might become as boring as if every game were a lopez or sicilian ... or petrov or Exchange or Advance French even. Right now I'm fighting myself to keep playing the KI in blitz despite a glut of London System type games by WT , even if it does guarantee bl equality or better. Ya know?
bucklehead 192 ( +1 | -1 )
There you go again, Craig I just can't get behind your rabid anti-Petrovism (though all the guys I play blitz with are London System freaks, so I'm right with you there).

I've been giving a good amount of thought to the "solvability" of chess since the Chinook checkers study was released. Several thoughts have been congealing in my mind:

1) Checkers is tic-tac-toe compared to chess. The complexity of checkers is estimated at 10^25 legal positions, versus a low estimate of 10^50 for chess. For the math impaired, this does not mean that chess is twice as complicated as checkers, but in fact is 10^25 times as complicated as checkers. The practical impact of this is that chess will not be "solved" in our lifetime, our children's lifetime, or our grandchildren's lifetime. Heck, it's altogether possible that humanity will be extinct by the time our robot overlords get around to solving the problem.

2) If you feel that unsolvability is important in the games you play, you'd better give up most of the board or card games you play now. In the alternative, you could take up Go (and I bet there are a lot of smug Go players out there at the moment) or develop a theoretically unsolvable chess variant. Four chessboards attached as a big square and a 500-move draw rule should do the trick nicely. (Of course, it should be noted that this implies a universe with a finite lifespan. If we're in for an eternity of inflation, all bets are off, and those Go players can wipe the smirks off their faces.)

3) But, with all that said, if we were faced with an algorithm for guaranteed wins or draws, yeah, I'd probably stop playing; at least, stop playing seriously. Not so much because I'd be afraid to lose to a machine or I wouldn't want to memorize the winning line, but because I don't know that I'd see the point. There would be no mystery left, no room for art...and for me, that's the thing that makes the game so appealing. In this age of computer dominance I realize that's an anachronistic opinion, but there it is anyway.
spurtus 48 ( +1 | -1 )
Buckleheed! Mr Bucklehead. I like the free thought in your 'acceptance' that an algorithm might form a winning 'formula' for chess.

Many 'clever' people would simply look at the scope and conventional processing involved, tell themselves that its vastly improbable, and sit back and bathe in their self righteousness. Too clever for their own good.

Here is a simple algorithm, it actually works too.

1) Develop your pieces.
2) Exchange pieces.
3) Play end game.







tim_b 18 ( +1 | -1 )
If..... computer scientists ever got to the precipice of solving chess, with their weary computer about to spit out the solution.....

I'd walk in and chuck a bucket of water over it.
ccmcacollister 82 ( +1 | -1 )
It occurs to me .... barring the existance of an objective and forced line of win or draw ... that other choices may be very subjective. Even if one strives to become completely objective in assessments and play, and Universal in style , to be able to seek what is objectively "best" regardless of personal comfort with a position ... the fact will remain that what is Best" may vary from one opponent to the next. From my experience, I have to consider it a Fact that one is on the road toward victory not only by obtaining an objectively better position or one which an opponent fails to understand sufficiently; additionally it seems to me that the act of producing such position which the opponent feels uncomfortable in or simply dislikes for asthetic or whatever reasons, places the first foot on ones path to victory in a given game.
doctor_knight 81 ( +1 | -1 )
How could computer scientists be so heartless and careless? Do they not realise that they could be putting a lot of masters out of business and adding to the unemployed list? This could cause a blow to the international economy and cause another great depression! No, just kidding. But it could still hurt the international economy on a very very small scale. But how could you do that to the masters? I think it should be a crime to "solve" chess.

Anyway, if chess ever were solved, I don't know if I could ever take it seriously again. I think that I would still play as a past time with friends though, because we would never use the "solution". And like everyone has already said, the solution would be so complicated that nobody could use it but computers.
kansaspatzer 32 ( +1 | -1 )
I honestly think I would give up the game as well. I play chess for its aesthetics value, worrying that opening theory is getting way too big and ruining the game. Obviously, as a Class B player for whom the opening is the weakest part of my game, this isn't a problem, but it is worrisome... openings take some of the fun out of the game.
ionadowman 135 ( +1 | -1 )
What might the solution be? Is Draughts (Checkers) resolved to a win for Black, a draw ... or is the first player in zugszwang from the outset? What the "solution" of Chess is might influence people's response. Suppose it's a draw. It might depend on whether the main line is an exciting draw or a boring one. If the latter, then that might incline people to continue playing. An exciting draw, being more memorable might close the game down for a lot of people.

If it turns out to be a win for the first player (White), then that would indeed be a disincentive for people to continue playing, and ring in the death knell for professional chess..

But what if we discover that White begins the game in zugszwang - the game turns out to be a forced win for Black in all variations? Well, it might mean that Chess continues to be worth playing!

What form will the "solution" take? It may not involve specific moves, but some kind of algorithm. The wide range of possibilities between Move One and Mate will probably keep professional Chess alive for a while at least. On the other hand, technology cheats are more likely to kill the game. Look at what's happening to the Tour de France, with cheats bringing the whole event into disrepute. How long will sponsors put up with this kind of ... ordure?

Cheers,
Ion
ganstaman 5 ( +1 | -1 )
I think checkers is a draw, they said.
ccmcacollister 84 ( +1 | -1 )
Perhaps ... Since Chess IS in process of 'being solved' right now, ever since its inception (EG. Few play into a Fool's Mate ...pretty much Solved :) , and tends to become Solved one line at a time (and occassionally, UnSolved again :) ...
even the finding of one great sequence of Best Play from move #1 onward; would still leave great room for play of unrelated "Thematics", even as we do now. Or simply lead to the creation of an UnThematic which would bar the Solved sequence by only prohibiting one of its moves at some point (which might be varied). And maybe it would lead to a pool of players who become interested only in furthering the breadth of the Solved territory, one move at a time. We could call them "Grandmasters" pehaps ...
*******
... or maybe "Programmers", "Authors", "TruthSeekers" and "GeneralButtinskis" ... !?
... and let us not forget the "SillyMuffins" ~ !
***
}8-) ))
bucklehead 141 ( +1 | -1 )
Keep in mind... That the solvability of chess is directly related to the size of the board. One reason that computer Go programs suck so badly is that it's impossible to plan more than a couple of ply ahead--on a standard 19x19 Go board, there are 361 legal first moves, 360 legal second moves, 359 legal third moves, and 358 legal fourth moves. So by the time there are four stones on the board, you're in one of about 16.7 billion distinct games. I'm sure someone's figured out how many legal positions there are in chess at four ply, but it can't be more than about 20,000.

A while back I argued that chess could remain unsolved by simply making the board huge, like a million squares to a side. I think an easier variant might just be to stick four, or perhaps nine, boards together in a square, and maybe start with an expanded set of pieces. And voila! chess is no longer in danger of being solved.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that a solution is hardly around the corner. We, and everyone we've ever known or heard about, will probably be long dead and forgotten before the time we have a full set of 10-man tablebases.

PS: I highly recommend this (very) short story by Arthur C. Clarke -> www.research.ibm.com .
ionadowman 0 ( +1 | -1 )
The answer is... 42.
ccmcacollister 40 ( +1 | -1 )
It is interesting that chess is being "solved" from both ends at the same time. Will they then meet in the middle or one solve first ? And will we end up playing thematics where the postion starts somewhere after being forced past a Fools Mate. Will there be players awarded, Expert of Scholars Mate Declined positions? All that follows it ...
cascadejames 8 ( +1 | -1 )
ion <Chuckle> As i read through the thread, I was thinking the same thing, and you beat me to it.