I'm posting this again because the other thread commited suicide. I received a PM to repost it, so here it is...

You have probably noticed the chess battle going on, 'Brains in Bahrain'? This is a man vs machine challenge, German chess computer Deep Fritz taking on the world champion Vladimir Kramnik for Russia. It currently a draw between the two, which is quite surprising as Kramnik was a big favourite to win the game. About five years ago former world champion Gary Kasparov fought a similar battle agains IBM's Big Blue, which he lost.

There's a big difference between the two chess computers. Deep Fritz can be run on a regular pc, while Big Blue is a super computer which can do billions of computations per second. Deep Fritz on the other hand relies heavily on using clever algorithms to win a game. In a battle between the two computers Deep Fritz won easily.

There's a big difference between the two man vs machine games also. When Big Blue defeated Kasparov, Kasparov had no way to prepare for the game, because he did not have the opportunity to study how Big Blue. Big Blue's programmers on the other hand had taped Kasparov, and knew his stengths and weaknesses. After the game Kasparov claimed the whole game was a big joke, and that Big Blue was not a good chess player, and wouldn't be able to defeat any other of the top ten chess players of the world other than Kasparov himself. He said that Big Blue was programmed specifically to defeat him, an none other.

The Deep Fritz game is different. Vladimir Kramnik has had lots of time to study Deep Fritz. He knows how the machine plays and he has even created a strategy specifically to defeat Fritz. He has found out that in ceartain positions the computer has extra advantage of it's computation power. Kramnik knows he has to avoid getting the pieces in these positions. But Kramink has had little luck so far, and many now experts think he will not defeat Fritz.

So, the title of the post, what's that to do with any of this? Well, former world champion Bobby Fisher is now afraid that we're close to finding the ultimate mathematical solution to chess. The mathematics that proves the perfect play. That would mean that by using these mathematical rules you would always win when starting a game. And would also mean the end of chess (it's no fun playing videogames when cheating, right).

Although this might seem a little strange it has happend before. An easy example is tic-tac-toe. If both players play a perfect game it will always be a tie, right?

Another, much cooler example is a game called Nim, a somewhat complex game played for hundreds of years all around the world. There is an excellent flash version of the game here: http://www.transience.com.au/pearl2.html The mathematical solution for the game is located here: http://world.std.com/~reinhold/math/nim.html

After Nim was 'broken' of course it became pointless to play. Playing correct, the player who starts will always win. So a fun game was ruined by maths!

And now maybe the same will happen to chess. We'll better develop a more complex game for our genious kids to play with...