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Math Supercomputing Games

Rybka Solves the King's Gambit Chess Opening 206

New submitter smarq2 writes "Chessbase reports that chess programmer IM Vasik Rajlich has solved the King's Gambit chess opening with technical means. 3000 processor cores, running for over four months, exhaustively analyzed all lines that follow after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 and came to some extraordinary conclusions." Update: 04/02 22:11 GMT by U L : Skuto points out that this is the same person who was found guilty of plagiarizing GNU Chess and Crafty.
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Rybka Solves the King's Gambit Chess Opening

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  • by tp1024 ( 2409684 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:13PM (#39553475)

    ... so long as you still have a chance. The computers haven't reached professional level yet and certainly won't be able to compute the whole of the game in advance, even after a given opening, in the next decades.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:40PM (#39553797)

    Evaluating something to a 99.9999999% confidence is non-rigorous? You should go tell the CERN guys that they're doing it wrong.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt.nerdflat@com> on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:44PM (#39553841) Journal
    I don't think I've ever played the king's gambit opening, at least not while I'm playing white. I don't care for how open it leaves my kingside bank ranks before they are defended.
  • by john83 ( 923470 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @05:53PM (#39553943)
    The score is about equivalent to being a rook down without compensation. Even strong club players could beat computers from such positions. Of course, what it really hinges on is Rybka's ability to evaluate the notion of compensation, but I can believe that the percentage of positions Rybka evaluates at -5.12 or worse in which there exists a win for the 'weaker' side is very small. So, yes, not a proof, but a strong practical indicator.
  • by brian_tanner ( 1022773 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:17PM (#39554223)
    I'm definitely not making the confusion you think I am. I have studied Computer Science at the PhD level at the University of Alberta, which I believe has the strongest games research group in the world. I will admit to not being an expert in games myself, but I am quite confident that when people in this area say solved, it means something specific, something stronger than "obviously true to everyone in the world". It requires proof in the rigorous, mathematical/algorithmic sense. I'm pretty sure, anyway.
  • Re:All lines...? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:36PM (#39554467) Homepage Journal

    This is just telling you that you'd lose against Rybka. But then, unless you're a top grandmaster having a good day, you already knew that. Even then, if you decided to play King's Gambit, Rybka's letting you know in advance that you are not having a good day.

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @06:44PM (#39554551) Homepage

    Let's assume that White is down by 5+ points in evaluation. Even in this case, Black may still want to force perpetual check (e.g., because not doing so would lead to a forced line where he might lose even more points further down the line) or White may still be able to force stalemate. You cannot assume that just because an intermediate search tree node in the game search has an arbitrary value (other than specifically a win, loss, or draw), that the tree below it can be pruned. You can limit the issues by ensuring that the position is quiescent before the evaluation is pruned, but even then there may be resources further down the tree. This research is deeply flawed.

    That being said, the King's Gambit is still probably a highly dubious opening for White.

  • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <[evaned] [at] []> on Monday April 02, 2012 @07:24PM (#39554925)

    First off, yes, it's not a proof.

    However, probabilistic does not mean nonrigorous, even to a mathematician.

  • by tobiah ( 308208 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @07:38PM (#39555021)

    Rajlich analyzed a small subset of the ~10^100 possible continuations to the point that Rybka (Rajlich's chess program) showed a score of +/- 5.12, which he describes as "99.99999999% certain" of the outcome. Assigning percentages to scores like that is tricky, often impossible, so it's hard to say how accurate the statement is. I'm sure Rajlich didn't intend the statement to be interpreted strictly. But if we take it at face-value where there is a 1/10^10 chance a line might go the other way and 10^100 opportunities for that to happen, we don't need a fancy statistics degree to see that it is highly probable not all of those conclusions are accurate. This analysis of the King's gambit isn't anything like Appel and Haken's computer proof of the four color problem, which is exhaustive and grudgingly accepted by the mathematical community.

  • A thief? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @07:42PM (#39555055)

    I thought copyright infringement wasn't theft?

  • by CyberDruid ( 201684 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:25AM (#39557673) Homepage

    How can computer professionals not spot such an obvious April Fools joke? Chess openings cannot be "solved" by a classical computer and if they were, the result would not be that white had only one move to save a draw after two fairly normal moves.

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