SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Famous for being ‘famous’?
Garry Kasparov has managed to achieve brilliant success as both a player and an author. His name is known even to janitors in New York high schools, though I doubt any of them would have a signed copy of any of his 100 or so books that he has penned over the years. Or any of his DVDs.
Kasparov’s greatest achievement, however, is capitalizing on this fame. He dropped out of competitive chess a few years back to dedicate himself to politics. But he set his aim too high when he stated (well, maybe in so many words) that his goal is to save Russia from the Russians.
Russians don’t like ‘outsiders’ to tell them what to do…and as a result Kasparov’s political career has been a qualified success everywhere except in Russia. Even so, every Russian continues to know his name…after all, Garry is famous.
Kremlin Needs Opposition, Opposition Needs a Vision
”…Now, what is the problem of the Russian opposition? How come in the past ten years, with all the advances of the mobile technology, Internet, and unrestricted travel and communication, it failed to become stronger, or even just adapt and change?”
….”Garry Kasparov–admired in the West for winning chess competitions and calling Putin a dictator–is known back in Russia as just a chess master. Those in Russia who read Western media, know him as a crazy chess master. Kasparov’s moments of truth on the pages of American publications are joked about in Moscow’s corporate offices. However, Kasparov is the most innocent opposition leader-wannabe.”
…”The bottom-line is: no one has got the vision. Neither do Putin and Medvedev. Russian politics have become a balancing act of balancing the balance sheets of oil revenues and national approval. The hamster in a wheel doesn’t get far. Neither do Russian politicians. Putin, Medvedev, Zyganov, Zhirinovsky, Kasparov, Kasyanov, etc. are all hamsters. Let’s hope one of them evolves into a rabbit (or a pig) to start running in a straight line, towards that vision that the Russian nation desperately needs.”
(The full article can be found at the link given above)
THE COMPUTER CORNERRybka disqualified by self-appointed ICGA panel
Plagiarism or Jealousy?
Entrepreneur IM David Levy
has carved out a notch for himself in the grey area that connects chess, games and chess-computers. Mr. Levy is president (and has been since 1977 when he formed the group) of the non-profit International Computer Games Association
) . One of the stated aims of the ICGA is ”to promote competition in games that include computer involvement”.
Ofcourse, computer gaming is a multi-billion dollar business and you can be sure that games giants like Sony would not let publicity-seeking
control freaks like Mr. Levy get past the receptionist in the lobby. The key words here are commercialization
. Chess is neither. So if Mr. Levy wants to meet the president of Sony, then he has to make an appointment to see if he can make an appointment…and he better have something real to offer other than penniless and sponsorless dreams.
Mr. Levy (born 1945) is the brother in law of Ray Keene. In 2007 he wrote a thesis on the topic of sex and robots, the book ”Love and Sex with Robots”
being the commercialization of said thesis that he successfully defended at Maastricht University
in the fall of 2007. Being a chess player himself (and a strong one at that in his day) Levy no doubt appreciated the difficulty in meeting the opposite sex…his idea is that sex with robots would make people generally less frustrated and happier in every day life. His book is a serious undertaking, including an attempt to deal with ethical issues, such as rape (what if the robot says ‘no’ ) and consent. Here is a critique
What does this have to do with Rybka being disqualified? Very little, but it does give a glimpse of the man who is pulling the strings. ICGA has very little credibility in the world of games and computers, and perhaps this latest news is more smoke than fire.
If you are like me, then you don’t pay money for chess engines anymore. I used to pay real money for what were then tooted as the ‘best in the world’ engines. Fritz. HiArcs. Rybka just to name a few. Then one day a couple of years ago I realized that you could get programs atleast as good as these commercialized items for free on the internet. Clones or whatever…who cares if it is for free!
”Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.”–Pablo Picasso
Several years ago a friend of mine in Guarda was thinking about doing a chess-related PHD in computer science and he invited me over for dinner to take a look at the search algorithms that were readily available for free. It blew my mind: what progress had been made in recent years! Any university undergrad today can write a chess engine that could compete with what ever is being commercialized! Afterall, chess and AI is still a dream a long way off…the practical approach is just a fast computer running one of these free super-fast algorithms…just pure calculation and a minimum of chess ideas.
Anyway, should it surprise anyone that the makers of the more successful commercial chess-engines have recently started to accuse each other of plagiarism? In a sense, they are already guilty of plagiarism for using these free algorithms! These programs are similar by definition. And should it surprise anyone that the victim in this latest exchange of accusations is the most successful commercial program to date?
today that Levy’s ICGA has officially disqualified and banned Rybka for being the winningest chess engine in recent times:
”The International Computer Games Association (ICGA) has disqualified and banned Rybka and its programmer Vasik Rajlich from previous and future World Computer Chess Championships. The ICGA accuses Rajlich of plagiarizing two other programs, Crafty and Fruit, and demands that he returns the trophies and prize money of the World Computer Chess Championships in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.”
Apparently ICGA has a rule that every programmer who enters its annual world computer championship tournament has to be aware of: namely, that plagiarism will not be tolerated. Levy is using this rule as the excuse for disqualifying Rybka. Me thinks that why stop there: disqualify EVERY programmer! Chess players may not cheat, but they copy like whores!
I am not sure where this is going to go. I assume that Rybka will just ignore it , or maybe just use the publicity to their advantage to sell more copies of Rybka4. Afterall, ICGA has no power, and in the final analysis , no credibility in the computer-gaming industry. Success is what counts. Rybka has beaten out the competition in terms of dollars and cents.
And in the end, it does not really matter anyway. Interest in ICGA’s annual world championship is waning: much like what happened when Deep Blue
beat Kasparov, the clones are taking over our little game. Atleast, for the moment, they are not giving us handjobs…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS