The Therapy Sessions
Friday, November 21, 2003
Man Vs. Machine
Krauthammer even manages to make chess play-by-plays exciting, describing a match between Gary Kasparov and some supercomputer named "Fritz:"
In Game 3 the computer lost because, being a computer, it has (for now) no imagination. Computers can outplay just about any human when the field is open, the pieces have mobility and there are millions of possible tactical combinations.
Kasparov therefore steered Game 3 into a position that was utterly static -- a line of immobile pawns cutting across the board like the trenches of the First World War.
Neither side could cross into enemy territory. There was, 'thought' Fritz, therefore nothing to do. It can see 20 moves deep, but even that staggering foresight yielded absolutely no plan of action. Like a World War I general, Fritz took to pacing up and down behind its lines.
Kasparov, on the other hand, had a deep strategic plan. Quietly and methodically, he used the bit of space he had on one side of the board to align his pieces, preparing for the push of a single pawn down the flank to queen -- and win.
Meanwhile, Fritz was reduced to shuffling pieces back and forth.
At one point, it moved its bishop one square and then back again on the next move.
No human would ever do that.