My copy of the Chess Life June 2014 edition arrived this weekend and it features one of the most amazing stories I have ever read about two of my favorite subjects: computers and chess. Ever since the notorious Turk toured the world and baffled the minds of chess players everywhere, scientists and players alike have predicted the conquering of mankind’s chess abilities by computer advances. Unfortunately, despite his generous chess philanthropy and amazing skills on the board, Gary Kasparov will probably go down in history being remembered mainly for his loss to the IBM Deep Blue computer in 1997. Since the 1970s, computers have increased their ELO ratings and human-like play exponentially and the tables have turned: human players often seek advice from computers to find the best lines of play.
Dr. Ken Regan is a chess enthusiast and the designer of a highly compilex anti-cheating system in use by multiple chess federations and tournaments around the world. In the Chess Life article, Dr. Regan explains in wonderful detail the way that his algorithm searches positions in active tournaments and compares them to potential engine moves. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the article is the brief discussion of perfect play, which Dr. Regan believes peaks at around 3600 ELO. That is an incredibly high ELO, which no player in history has come close to…yet.
Following the publication of the article, Dr. Regan set up an extra page on his website at the University of Buffalo’s School of Computer Science and Engineering. His page include links to professional papers developed in conjunction with his algorithm research and additional Q&A from the Chess Life article. It is all highly fascinating stuff for any fans of chess or software engineering. If you can obtain a copy from a friend or are looking for a time to subscribe to the USCF Chess Life publication: this is the time to do it! Check out the June 2014 edition for the full article or visit the USCF Website to read the magazine online (members only).