Welcome to Computer Chess Online
I really love the game of chess. It is simple to understand, yet amazingly complicated in practice.
There are very few similar games that demand such deep thought, strategic thinking, tactical brilliance and perfect concentration in order to win. Chess offers all this and more, but without the element of luck. The pieces only move to where you place them on the chessboard.
Unfortunately, unless you live in a locality with a large chess playing community it can be hard to find a human opponent. There are of course websites and services that offer opportunities to play chess online. The problem with these sites, at least in my opinion, is that most players want to play blitz chess and I personally enjoy classical time controls and longer games. Finding a player of similar strength who wishes to play a longer game can at times be challenging.
Advantages of Computer Chess Software
As computer software has come on so much over recent years it is easy to get a computer opponent to play against that will challenge and indeed most likely beat, any player up to and including the World Champion GrandMaster. Not only is computer chess software powerful in Elo terms, it is also available to play 24 hours a day, will not complain over selected time controls etc. I still enjoy playing against human players, but as my time to play is limited, a computer opponent is often a preferred choice.
Computer chess engines do not just make great opponents. Due to the extreme playing strength of even the freeware chess programs the game analysis these engines provide can be invaluable. It is a modern irony that the chess world looks down on computer chess as a poor relation to “the real game” when in actuality the games produced by computers are often tactically stronger. Even further down the line are the games between so called “Centaurs”. Centaurs or Centaur Chess are terms used to refer to a computer and human playing in tandem. Centaur games are often of very high quality.
The reason I say that “real chess” looking down on computer chess is ironic is that the top human players will often use a battery of highly specialised multi-core computers to analyse a position or chess opening in order to find a new novelty or a refutation. How ridiculous it is then to hear people speak in negative terms about computer chess.
The Future of Computer Chess
Ever since Gary Kasparov was beaten by a chess computer people have been claiming that chess will be “solved”. By this statement they mean that there will be a method of playing in which the outcome of the game can be forced from the opening move, giving victory to white (who moves first) every time. While this happened for tic-tac-toe, chess is a very different game.
At the time I write this post, a “solution” for chess seems totally absurd. The combinations of moves even 10 or 20 ply into a game of chess are immense and although chess computers are increasing in power almost daily a “solution” seems unlikely. Maybe I will be proven wrong on this point, especially if we see artificial intelligence or quantum computing become a reality, but for now these ideas are science fiction and belong on my other blog!
To be honest, I would like to be proven wrong on this point as it would mean that humanity has taken a large step forward in problem solving with the aid of computers.
Whatever the future brings, I intend to be talking about it here at Computer Chess Online.