Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: What is Botvinnik's legacy to computer chess?

Author: Christophe Theron

Date: 11:28:27 02/21/00

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On February 20, 2000 at 18:56:47, Fernando Villegas wrote:

>So you have changed your mind about this. I remember you rejected some
>judgements I have posted here or elsewhere about the intrinsic human limits of
>scientifical or technical creativity. I said that programers are doomed some day
>to become exhausted of new ideas, as in fact show the career of some of the big
>names in the recent past. I do not like it, but it happens.

I do not remember which post of yours I rejected, so I'm not sure I have changed
my mind.

However, I might have changed my mind. Maybe...

It's true that when you have spend 10 or 20 years in a chess program, you are
not ready to throw everything and write a new one with totally different ideas.

However it is not what happened to some of the big names in the recent past IMO.
Computer chess programs are following the same successful philosophy since
decades now. No "big name" would have had to throw everything in order to keep
up with state of the art. The spracklens and others already had alpha/beta
searchers with all the modern enhancements (hash tables, extensions, and so on).

What happened to them is different I think. Maybe they become tired of it, maybe
other problems went in the way, maybe after being on top for years it's hard to
find the motivation again...

What I explain in my previous post is something else. I think (I hope) that
eventually a new way of programming chess will emerge. Maybe closer to how the
brain works, maybe a totally different stuff. Anyway, it would be sad that
alpha/beta/hash_tables/extension... rule forever.

So in case a guy comes with a neural network chess program and kills everybody
else, I would try to compete and improve mine for a while. If after several
months of hard work I'm still killed over and over again, it's likely that I'll
give up programming chess. I don't compete just for the beauty of it. I like to

But if no revolution happens in the next 30 years, you could also find Ban,
Morsch, Donninger, Lang, Uniacke, Mayer-Kahlen, Moreland and their friends (or
maybe sons) in the 2030 SSDF list. :)


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