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AI ruined chess. Now it’s making the game beautiful again

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Chess has a reputation for cold logic, but Vladimir Kramnik loves the game for its beauty.

“It’s a kind of creation,” he says. His passion for the artistry of minds clashing over the board, trading complex but elegant provocations and counters, helped him dethrone Garry Kasparov in 2000 and spend several years as world champion.

Yet Kramnik, who retired from competitive chess last year, also believes his beloved game has grown less creative. He partly blames computers, whose soulless calculations have produced a vast library of openings and defenses that top-flight players know by rote. “For quite a number of games on the highest level, half of the game—sometimes a full game—is played out of memory,” Kramnik says. “You don’t even play your own preparation; you play your computer’s preparation.”

Wednesday, Kramnik presented some ideas for how to restore some of the human art to chess, with help from a counterintuitive source—the world’s most powerful chess computer. He teamed up with Alphabet artificial intelligence lab DeepMind, whose researchers challenged their superhuman game-playing software AlphaZero to learn nine variants of chess chosen to jolt players into creative new patterns.

In 2017, AlphaZero showed it could teach itself to roundly beat the best computer players at either chess, Go, or the Japanese game shogi. Kramnik says its latest results reveal beguiling new vistas of chess to be explored if people are willing to adopt some small changes to the established rules.

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Chess board, black king lying beside white kingDimitri Otis | Getty Images

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Click the link below for the article:

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/09/ai-ruined-chess-now-its-making-the-game-beautiful-again/

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