Thursday, December 23, 2010

Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!

To me, chess is sometimes a sad thing. There are a million strategy books out there that discuss different moves you can make in different situations. There are debates about whether a move is good or bad. They say Mikhail Tal and Paul Morphy were "swashbucklers". Mikhail Botvinnik was an "analytical" player.

But it's all made up. Chess is a game of perfect information. In any situation there is exactly one move for either side that is better than any other. Assuming perfect play by one's opponent, there is always exactly one move that assures the best possible outcome. The only exception to this is a situation where there are two moves that each assure the same result- for instance, if Qf4 and Qf5 both checkmate your opponent, they are equally good moves.

There are too many variables for a human mind to keep track of and too many lines for us to follow. The best chess players are the best in part because they can keep track of more lines in their heads. When you make a bad move, they know why it's bad because they know more of the ramifications than you do. But no human can follow it all. Already the computers are better than we are, though; someday, in the not too distant future, they will map out all the correct chess moves in any situation. On that day, in a sense, the game will be over.

The whole nature of the game is predicated on the shortcomings of the human brain.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Live And Let Die

Is there any chance that James Bond isn't hunting down Julian Assange?

1) He's releasing classified documents and threatening to release more which pose threats to national security.
2) He is hiding in a super secret place in England.
3) He is named "Julian Assange".
4) He looks like this:

Seriously, free speech activist or cyber-terrorist, Daniel Craig has to be like ten seconds away from tackling this guy.