Hangin's take on Man vs. Machine matches

6/29/2005 - Here is an interesting article from Chessbase regarding the Adams vs. Hydra match. GM John Nunn feels the man vs. machine matches are played out.

    I could not disagree more with John Nunn. The man vs. machine matches are far from over. Hydra is far from perfect and has been defeated in correspondence chess match. However computers have many advantages over humans. Firstly, they have complete opening books and endgame table bases. Secondly, computers will never error in retrieval of this data and will never make a short-term tactical oversight. Finally computers donít get tired or feel pressure. They will always play near or at their level of strength. In reality, Hydra at its maximum strength has transformed these matches into man vs. near perfection. As the machines get stronger so will the top players.

     I think these matches will have more meaning if the very best player plays against it. I would like to see Anand take on Hydra. I would like to see Kasparov play against Hydra, provided that Kasparov can check his reputation at the door. During the Kasparov vs. Deep Junior match, Kasparov was afraid to lose another match to a computer. This fear prevented Kasparov from fighting on in the final game, even though he had an advantage.  Millions of fans were watching on ESPN and the game and match ended in a draw. I think we need to vary the experiment. Lets give the human player twice as much time to solve the defenses of the computer.  I was a little disappointed in the final out come of the Kasimdzhanov vs. Accoona Al Toolbar man vs. machine match.  The game was very exciting; Kasimdzhanov went against the conventional wisdom when playing against computers. Kasimdzhanov heroically sacrificed a piece in order to repair his pawn structure and open lines of attack against Al Toolbarís king. However Kasimdzhanov found himself in time difficulty and to force a draw by repetition. He felt he had a winning position but against the computer he only had 10 seconds for each move, so it was too dangerous for him to continue.

 There are many ways to vary this experiment.

1)      Give the human player twice as much time

2)      Turn off the computerís opening and endgame databases.

3)      Reduce the computerís opening databases


  Eventually the computers must learn how to play the opening without any opening book database.  Kasparov made this point at the last computer matches. With opening books expanding well into the middle game, when does the computer actually start showing its talent? Kasparov said that as computers get closer to perfection, even one victory by man will signify mans dominance over the machine. I have to agree with that statement.

 Because of the one sided result of this match (Hydra winning 5.5-.5), many people criticized the Hydra vs. Adams match, but I thought it was an exciting match. I enjoyed the decisive games.  I salute both Adams and Hydra for the entertainment. Adams probably should have taken a serious look at the Kasparov vs. Deep Blue matches. He should have employed more anti-computer strategies   It might be too early to say that Hydra represents the next great leap in computer chess.  It will be hard for Hydra to captivate the world like Kasparov and Deep Blue did in 1997. However Hydra vs. man matches will be very interesting and exciting matches. Bottom line, the man vs. machine matches will be good for promoting the game of chess.  We also have many ways to vary these matches to make them more exciting to the public. And if the computers get too strong, then they can play a simul against the top players of the world.

Chessbase article on Hydra vs. Adams - http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2476

Hydra defeated by Correspondence GM - http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2462

Adams comments on the match - http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2485


More on Man vs. Machine - Chess Reporter 

Kasparov vs. Deep Junior - http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1260286