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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero (Read 2966 times)
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #28 - 03/30/19 at 10:18:34
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 03/28/19 at 21:45:53:
ErictheRed wrote on 02/14/19 at 16:29:34:
Humans will never learn to "think like computers;" it's simply impossible.  That doesn't mean that we can't learn something from a computer's games, however.


barnaby wrote on 03/28/19 at 13:58:02:
With much respect for you and your thoughts and ideas here both chess and otherwise, I feel I have to disagree here on this concept and I will try to explain why. (/big snip)

I think you just expressed the same idea as ErictheRed, only using a lot more words.


Which very good in some cases and for some purposes. Here it is the reflection of "thinking", "concept" and related terms.

If I see some discussions of the book, I feel that old concepts are seen as product of the new engine and here recommended by the New In Chess newsletter for marketing purposes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u552M_7T8gA&mc_cid=235f4d3f85&mc_eid=b3953ab336. Open lines and diagonals are part of Lasker's list of Steinitz's elements of strategy. King's security belong to it too. So it is not necessary to see something new in every example, which is presented now.
  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #27 - 03/28/19 at 21:45:53
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ErictheRed wrote on 02/14/19 at 16:29:34:
Humans will never learn to "think like computers;" it's simply impossible.  That doesn't mean that we can't learn something from a computer's games, however.


barnaby wrote on 03/28/19 at 13:58:02:
With much respect for you and your thoughts and ideas here both chess and otherwise, I feel I have to disagree here on this concept and I will try to explain why. (/big snip)

I think you just expressed the same idea as ErictheRed, only using a lot more words.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #26 - 03/28/19 at 13:58:02
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ErictheRed wrote on 02/14/19 at 16:29:34:
Humans will never learn to "think like computers;" it's simply impossible.  That doesn't mean that we can't learn something from a computer's games, however.



With much respect for you and your thoughts and ideas here both chess and otherwise, I feel I have to disagree here on this concept and I will try to explain why.

1.  Computers do not 'think.'  They do not come up with ideas. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-voices-within/201008/what-do-we-mean...

2. Humans beings can process information the same way a computer does but cannot operate at the same speed or with the same consistency or for as long a period of time.

3. It is the computer which cannot think like a human.

What we can 'learn' from computers and the way in which they process information is for human beings to process the information in different ways and to create new ways of evaluating and analysing which leads to wider taxonomic applications.

Computers can now create art, write books, music, etc.  But they cannot critique those creations and decide which art is culturally relevant nor can they offer value judgments regarding those creations. 

They can create things but not concepts.  They cannot think.

  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #25 - 03/22/19 at 15:07:04
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Leon_Trotsky wrote on 02/14/19 at 05:09:01:
How do you feel that reading the book changed your opening repertoire ¿


I haven't read the book yet. But I usually feel myself "more bad" playing as Black when I play against Larsen (1.b3) or against simple non-theory-Bc4-Sicilian, or against shy English tries with b3 or e3... because I am out of my comfort zone.

This is the idea that (if I am not mistaken) was said here in the post. Not focusing on knowing theory (where Black can -and probably will- answer with 15+ theory move to equalize completely) but on position where previous knowledge and (even equal) better piece placement, and better understanding where we can dig in....

I have changed as White my mind in this way and I play Nf3 to get this.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #24 - 03/20/19 at 17:46:40
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Unannotated games from the book are available:
https://www.newinchess.com/nic-books-games-downloads
A quick count of the contents ...
  • 69 games AlphaZero vs Stockfish 8
  • 20 games grandmaster vs grandmaster
  • 4 games Sadler vs Smallfish
  • 1 game Houdini vs Stockfish
  • 10 positions without moves
  • 2 AlphaZero/Sadler analyses
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #23 - 02/14/19 at 16:29:34
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Humans will never learn to "think like computers;" it's simply impossible.  That doesn't mean that we can't learn something from a computer's games, however.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #22 - 02/14/19 at 05:09:01
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How do you feel that reading the book changed your opening repertoire ¿
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #21 - 02/14/19 at 05:03:24
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Looking forward to cracking my copy in two days.  Cheesy
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #20 - 02/07/19 at 20:16:34
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katar wrote on 02/07/19 at 18:38:50:
I got the impression that AZ does not play 1.e4 because of 1...e5 - specifically the Berlin, which AZ favors as Black.  I have wondered whether AZ would adopt 1.e4 if the opponent had to play anything other than 1...e5.


The current best nets for Lc0 (T30 and T40) both favor 1. e4, and both are stronger than A0. Refer to the second graphs on these pages:
https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbz3cw6fXOQ2T2QIpMzSEdUNwVaqfmYpR0LWvP3zw...

https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbwAVsblBYs17sxoao9wKiz88m2FfBG-154ncQ1lP...
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #19 - 02/07/19 at 19:25:53
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phonological_loop wrote on 02/07/19 at 18:18:44:
barnaby wrote on 02/07/19 at 17:19:52:
Sacrificing pawns more freely now, playing more on the wings by using a and h pawns more, changed opening repertoire from 1.d4 to 1. c4 and 1. Nf3 and stopped playing for advantages as White through known theory and now focusing on creating better outpost squares for pieces.  More actively thinking now: "what would AZ do here" and ," how can I give up material to gain positional advantage."


Thank you!

I am a (bad) amateur who plays exclusively 1. e4, so the following question comes from a place of total ignorance. What is so special about 1. c4 and Nf3 as compared to d4? My impression is that many of the lines of the former two options transpose to d4 lines anyway, so that they are tightly related.

Do you think the c4/Nf3 are somehow objectively better (and if so, for what reason? lc0, which a stronger neural network-based engine than A0, does not seem to favor c4/Nf3). Or are you making a practical decision, trying to enter positions you might be more familiar with than your opponent, and which may give them more opportunities to go wrong (because typically people are less booked up and experienced against these less common openings, for instance)? Or some other reason?


People play 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 for different reasons. Many want to play main 1.d4 lines against most defenses, but, say, avoid certain sharp defenses, playing (after 1.Nf3) an Anti-Benoni rather than a Benoni, or (after 1.c4) an Anti-Gruenfeld rather than a Gruenfeld. Of course, they have to be ready for 1..c5, in which case they cannot reach a 1.d4 mainline if their opponents do not want them to--and, in the case of 1.c4, also 1...e5 with some of the English main lines.

Other players  have no intention of playing any main 1.d4 lines, and want to go into a Reti, KIA, English, etc.

Still others are winging it and just want to create fluid, unfamiliar (mostly hypermodern) situations for their opponents, as you suggested.

1.d4 2.Nf3 is a similar beast--some play it for d-pawn specials, others to play 3.c4 while avoiding certain sharp lines.

--All these lines are definitely no stronger than 1.d4 2.c4 in any objective sense--on the contrary. While that classic opening permits Black some sharp defenses (QGA, Benko, Albin, Schara), it also gives White some of his most theoretically powerful lines (the flick-knife Benoni, Saemisch KID, QGD Exchange with Ne2 and f3, etc), where pressure on Black is maintained for a long time even if eventually Black can thread through to equality.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #18 - 02/07/19 at 18:38:50
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I got the book on the FwdChess app.  It looks interesting.  The authors try to compare AZ's strategies with maneuvers by great human players in classic/historical games.  This adds to the pedagogic value and softens the criticism that readers should not try to play like a computer.

I got the impression that AZ does not play 1.e4 because of 1...e5 - specifically the Berlin, which AZ favors as Black.  I have wondered whether AZ would adopt 1.e4 if the opponent had to play anything other than 1...e5.

Sadler & Regan also recommended this flexible 1.Nf3 or 1.c4 or 1.d4 approach in "Chess for Life", citing Pia Cramling as a model player.  The general approach is to be shifty/crafty/flexible as White by employing move orders and transpositions.  And as Black, to study a mainline in extreme depth.  Sadler & Regan write: "It is easier to destroy [as Black] than create [as White]."

In a Youtube video, Natasha Regan stated that after working on the book she tried playing "like AZ" with poor results.  She commented that her victorious opponents, in the post-mortems, patronizingly tried to teach her that it is better to play in the center than to throw the rook-pawns. 
  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #17 - 02/07/19 at 18:18:44
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barnaby wrote on 02/07/19 at 17:19:52:
Sacrificing pawns more freely now, playing more on the wings by using a and h pawns more, changed opening repertoire from 1.d4 to 1. c4 and 1. Nf3 and stopped playing for advantages as White through known theory and now focusing on creating better outpost squares for pieces.  More actively thinking now: "what would AZ do here" and ," how can I give up material to gain positional advantage."


Thank you!

I am a (bad) amateur who plays exclusively 1. e4, so the following question comes from a place of total ignorance. What is so special about 1. c4 and Nf3 as compared to d4? My impression is that many of the lines of the former two options transpose to d4 lines anyway, so that they are tightly related.

Do you think the c4/Nf3 are somehow objectively better (and if so, for what reason? lc0, which a stronger neural network-based engine than A0, does not seem to favor c4/Nf3). Or are you making a practical decision, trying to enter positions you might be more familiar with than your opponent, and which may give them more opportunities to go wrong (because typically people are less booked up and experienced against these less common openings, for instance)? Or some other reason?
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #16 - 02/07/19 at 17:19:52
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phonological_loop wrote on 02/05/19 at 17:15:20:
barnaby wrote on 02/05/19 at 15:54:04:
I have already significantly changed my own playing style including opening repertoire and middle game planning with highly successful results, all based on studying AZ games.  I just put my rating at its all time peak, which is something most people close to 60 years old do not find so easy to do, and I attribute much of it to the change in my play that I decided to make after spending months studying these games.

AZ is an absolute game changer (for those of us willing to change our game).


Could you comment on what you've learned and changed, if you have the time? I'd be extremely interested in what you have to say, and I'm sure others would too.



A over simplified take:


Sacrificing pawns more freely now, playing more on the wings by using a and h pawns more, changed opening repertoire from 1.d4 to 1. c4 and 1. Nf3 and stopped playing for advantages as White through known theory and now focusing on creating better outpost squares for pieces.  More actively thinking now: "what would AZ do here" and ," how can I give up material to gain positional advantage."



  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #15 - 02/07/19 at 05:07:31
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #14 - 02/06/19 at 15:01:03
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RdC wrote on 02/06/19 at 01:43:14:
Jonathan Tait wrote on 02/05/19 at 23:39:20:
Well, perhaps I'll push my h-pawn down the board even more than I usually do Smiley


It used to be something of a Larsen speciality to prod the rook pawns down the board. But like Alpha Zero, he was self-taught, mostly at least.


I recall he said that he wanted to call his selected games collection _The Strategic Significance of the Rook Pawns_ but the publisher wouldn't let him.
  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #13 - 02/06/19 at 03:16:34
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Plus, he wrote Zero Hour for Operative Opening Models! More than coincidence? I think not! Wink
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #12 - 02/06/19 at 01:43:14
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Jonathan Tait wrote on 02/05/19 at 23:39:20:
Well, perhaps I'll push my h-pawn down the board even more than I usually do Smiley


It used to be something of a Larsen speciality to prod the rook pawns down the board. But like Alpha Zero, he was self-taught, mostly at least.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #11 - 02/06/19 at 00:42:20
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I wonder if soon human players can train with such strong computerprogrammes and learn how to "think" like computers and then play like computers.


It would be amusing to see GMs next having trained so much to think like computers, that their moves are the first lines of engine analyses  Cheesy
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #10 - 02/05/19 at 23:39:20
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Yes, I'm reading it at the moment – very, very interesting – though I can't say yet whether it will change my play at all. Well, perhaps I'll push my h-pawn down the board even more than I usually do Smiley
  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #9 - 02/05/19 at 17:15:20
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barnaby wrote on 02/05/19 at 15:54:04:
I have already significantly changed my own playing style including opening repertoire and middle game planning with highly successful results, all based on studying AZ games.  I just put my rating at its all time peak, which is something most people close to 60 years old do not find so easy to do, and I attribute much of it to the change in my play that I decided to make after spending months studying these games.

AZ is an absolute game changer (for those of us willing to change our game).


Could you comment on what you've learned and changed, if you have the time? I'd be extremely interested in what you have to say, and I'm sure others would too.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #8 - 02/05/19 at 15:59:09
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ErictheRed wrote on 02/04/19 at 23:43:21:
  I don't think that Magnus is honestly trying to think like a computer program.



I believe he is, very much so, and there is serious evidence both in his games, and his interviews that this is indeed the case.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #7 - 02/05/19 at 15:54:04
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brabo wrote on 02/05/19 at 09:19:35:
tipau wrote on 02/05/19 at 08:49:37:
I'm very much looking forward to reading this book. I've found Sadler's previous books very instructive and a joy to read - I'm sure he'll have some very interesting observations about arguably the strongest chess playing entity in existence today.

I liked Sadler's book Chess for Life as I mentioned in the article https://chess-brabo.blogspot.com/2016/06/peakrating.html
However this book is advertised as it is a must to read if you want to become a stronger player which I believe is nonsense.
tipau wrote on 02/05/19 at 08:49:37:
Clearly it's much harder to explain to Magnus how he can play better chess than is it for a relative patzer like me. I imagine that he wouldn't benefit nearly as much as me from reading other books on chess either. The fact that the book didn't turn him into AlphaZero isn't a negative, but the fact that he was inspired enough to think about it during the game is very interesting.

It reminds me of some of my students rated around 2000 elo and lower which wanted to follow courses aimed for +2400 players from a 2600 player. They were just baffled by the content and couldn't keep their attention in the courses. In the end they didn't like it. I think here it will be the same. The stuff Alpha Zero can teach you will be way above the standard stuff most of the amateurs don't know yet. Besides it is like with the tablebases available today. We have them but no human is able to reproduce them during the game nor even understand them.

Also do you really think that Magnus was serious when he stated that he was thinking how Alpha Zero would approach his position. Maybe for a second yes but I am pretty sure he was just focused on his own calculations. Magnus likes to fool around just check his many streaming videos.

Finally I am sure the book still has interesting content. Seeing some new themes, openingideas are always useful but it is not something which you can't find anywhere else and which will suddenly improve your chessrating with 100 elo. Also his previous book was very easy to read and enjoyable. I think that are already sufficient reasons to buy it but stop pretending it is some holy grail.



100% disagreement here on your main argument.

This information absolutely is a game changer for a wide range of players at a very wide range of skill levels.

And yes, Carlsen was drop-dead serious as a heart attack and so are other GM's I spoke with who have made same claim that they have been in positions and have thought what AZ would be playing//planning in that situation.

I have already significantly changed my own playing style including opening repertoire and middle game planning with highly successful results, all based on studying AZ games.  I just put my rating at its all time peak, which is something most people close to 60 years old do not find so easy to do, and I attribute much of it to the change in my play that I decided to make after spending months studying these games.

AZ is an absolute game changer (for those of us willing to change our game).


  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #6 - 02/05/19 at 15:32:53
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Have a look at Sadler's analysis of some of the games at Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkK8M0dMhAX8JinU-6aD7xA and see for yourself. I think both the games and analysis are very interesting. I expect the book to be similar in style and content.

  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #5 - 02/05/19 at 13:38:38
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brabo wrote on 02/05/19 at 09:19:35:
The stuff Alpha Zero can teach you will be way above the standard stuff most of the amateurs don't know yet.


I think I disagree. It's possible to learn relevant things from MUCH stronger players. This is because they won't only play out-of-this-world chess, but they'll also do the basics incredibly well. If this wasn't true then I'd also be wasting my time studying games of the World Champions. An important part is the author and if they can demonstrate a particular theme/lesson clearly and make it understandable in a way you can learn from and (hopefully) apply in your own games. Of course you may be just as well served by studying a good book about Botvinnik (for example) rather than Alpha Zero, but I guess right now this is a sexier option and attractive to people.

brabo wrote on 02/05/19 at 09:19:35:
I think that are already sufficient reasons to buy it but stop pretending it is some holy grail.


I haven't claimed anything of the sort. What I've seen suggests that the book is marketed as a similar book to 'Chess for Life'. I enjoyed that book and learnt a few things from it - that's why I'm looking forward to getting this book, not because I'm expecting my rating to sky-rocket after reading it!
  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #4 - 02/05/19 at 09:19:35
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tipau wrote on 02/05/19 at 08:49:37:
I'm very much looking forward to reading this book. I've found Sadler's previous books very instructive and a joy to read - I'm sure he'll have some very interesting observations about arguably the strongest chess playing entity in existence today.

I liked Sadler's book Chess for Life as I mentioned in the article https://chess-brabo.blogspot.com/2016/06/peakrating.html
However this book is advertised as it is a must to read if you want to become a stronger player which I believe is nonsense.
tipau wrote on 02/05/19 at 08:49:37:
Clearly it's much harder to explain to Magnus how he can play better chess than is it for a relative patzer like me. I imagine that he wouldn't benefit nearly as much as me from reading other books on chess either. The fact that the book didn't turn him into AlphaZero isn't a negative, but the fact that he was inspired enough to think about it during the game is very interesting.

It reminds me of some of my students rated around 2000 elo and lower which wanted to follow courses aimed for +2400 players from a 2600 player. They were just baffled by the content and couldn't keep their attention in the courses. In the end they didn't like it. I think here it will be the same. The stuff Alpha Zero can teach you will be way above the standard stuff most of the amateurs don't know yet. Besides it is like with the tablebases available today. We have them but no human is able to reproduce them during the game nor even understand them.

Also do you really think that Magnus was serious when he stated that he was thinking how Alpha Zero would approach his position. Maybe for a second yes but I am pretty sure he was just focused on his own calculations. Magnus likes to fool around just check his many streaming videos.

Finally I am sure the book still has interesting content. Seeing some new themes, openingideas are always useful but it is not something which you can't find anywhere else and which will suddenly improve your chessrating with 100 elo. Also his previous book was very easy to read and enjoyable. I think that are already sufficient reasons to buy it but stop pretending it is some holy grail.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #3 - 02/05/19 at 08:49:37
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I'm very much looking forward to reading this book. I've found Sadler's previous books very instructive and a joy to read - I'm sure he'll have some very interesting observations about arguably the strongest chess playing entity in existence today.

Clearly it's much harder to explain to Magnus how he can play better chess than is it for a relative patzer like me. I imagine that he wouldn't benefit nearly as much as me from reading other books on chess either. The fact that the book didn't turn him into AlphaZero isn't a negative, but the fact that he was inspired enough to think about it during the game is very interesting.
  

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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #2 - 02/04/19 at 23:43:21
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I took Magnus's comment to mean something similar to how we all look at an open position and say, "How would Morphy handle this?"  Or at a closed position and ask, "How would Karpov (or Petrosian, etc) handle this?"  I don't think that Magnus is honestly trying to think like a computer program.
  
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Re: New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
Reply #1 - 02/04/19 at 20:54:51
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phonological_loop wrote on 02/04/19 at 18:47:50:
but specifically whether it might help improve the play of the average club player, since the book is marketed in this way (partially)

Yes the advertisements also refer to a recent quote made by worldchampion Magnus Carlsen: “Quite inspirational. I was thinking at several points during the game [in Round 11 of the 2019 Tata Steel Chess Tournament]: how would AlphaZero have approached this?”

However in the same interview he also stated later: "and then I realized I'm not AlphaZero" see https://www.chess.com/news/view/tata-steel-chess-giri-catches-carlsen-as-shankla... I mean this more or less nullifies the previous statement.

Now if Magnus tells us that he can't see how AlphaZero can explain him how to play better chess then I am really skeptical why mere mortals would be better in understanding Alpha Zero.
  
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New book "Game Changer" on Deepmind's AlphaZero
02/04/19 at 18:47:50
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Hello, I was wondering if anyone has gotten their hands on a copy of the new book "Game Changer" yet? I'm in the US and preordered a copy from Amazon, where it will be released on the 15th of this month, but my impression is that those in the UK already have access to it. It is also available on Chessable and Forward Chess.

I am interested in any impressions of the book you might have, but specifically whether it might help improve the play of the average club player, since the book is marketed in this way (partially). Also, are there any interesting observations on opening theory?
  
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