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Poll Variation board or Blindfold (Closed)
Variation board 3 50%
Blindfold 3 50%
- - By mindbreaker (****) [us] Date 2010-11-13 18:11
A friend and I have had the same debate repeatedly.  He contends that computers are cheating; that they have a variation board they can move pieces around on.  They never have to worry about an illegal move entering there thinking and can see clearly position after position.  He further contends that to make it fair human grandmasters should be allowed a variation board.

I, on the other hand, see it 180 degrees. Computers not only don't have a variation board, they don't have a real board, they are actually playing blindfolded.  They are imagining the board in their memory and that is not all that different than the grandmaster seeing moves in his head and visualizing positions.  It is just that the computers have a far better memory than humans and are very fast neither of which can be considered a cheat. There are humans who have better memories than others and humans that are faster than others.

So I am posing the argument to you.  Which better describes the situation better; variation board cheater or blindfolded genius?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2010-11-13 18:21
both don't describe it well :) computers are not as selective as humans, their approach is much more based on calculations. They look at so many positions that the variation board method is nothing like that. but they look at positions and store the eval...
Parent - - By mindbreaker (****) [us] Date 2010-11-14 00:49
Granted, we are far slower and we tend to see more patterns in what we do evaluate, but humans remember their evals even if they are just in the form of "that is better than that" rather than +.62 vs +.49.  At least masters make calculations, even if 1500s don't always.

Why is it relevant that machines think more, how does this change the "what"?  What? and How much? are different things.  One does not effect the other unless the "how much" is zero.
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2010-11-14 01:52
well, the type of calculation of engines is so much different... they have so many variation boards (using your picture) that it is more like setting up all the possible positions for a certain depth :)
Parent - - By SR (****) [gb] Date 2010-11-13 19:32
Both suggestions are actually quite funny and original but i like your suggestion more. The whole discussion is of course somewhat academic and if the computer was a robot with photocell as eyes it would be "cheating" if it were to carry our the analysis on and external board which in fact  just be an distraction to the robot. A human would in general perform better with asses to an external chess board, while a robot would not.
Parent - By mindbreaker (****) [us] Date 2010-11-14 00:57
"A human would in general perform better with asses to an external chess board",  I debated this with him as well.  My feeling is that a GM of say 2650 Elo or higher would derive no additional strength from having a variation board.  He or she can visualize just fine, and think faster without it, just as the machine can think faster in its processor/RAM.
Parent - - By Labyrinth (****) [us] Date 2010-11-13 22:13
Both of those choices are too anthropomorphic to be applied to computers.
Parent - - By mindbreaker (****) [us] Date 2010-11-14 00:35 Edited 2010-11-14 00:50
Lighten up guys! The question is not "do I like the question," it is, "which is the more accurate of the two."  And if you are going to whine about what is "too anthropomorphic", how about some evidence.

I think it is a simple question.  We are talking about the rules of chess, is the machine in violation or not?  And if not, why, as in, how exactly does the characterization fail, or the other?
Parent - By Labyrinth (****) [us] Date 2010-11-14 11:42 Edited 2010-11-14 11:50
For one, the "mind's eye" of the computer is as clear if not more clear than any variation board. However a computer must play this way. If it was to only have partial view of the board it would be incapable of playing certain moves which would actually result in a handicap. You could argue that since it cannot play all legal moves that it is not playing chess at all. So a crystal clear view of the board and its variations is inherent to the entity that is the computer, and for all rights and purposes, it cannot play chess without this.

So, by allowing the computer to play the game you concede that it is not cheating, or that you are allowing it to cheat, of which the result is the same. It could be said that if a cheat is allowed, then it isn't a cheat at all. You'd get the same sort of meaningless debate that the main question presents.

Two, the computer has no blindfold/variation board dichotomy.

This is something that humans have, since the mind's eye is different in nature than the physical boards used in the real world. It has its own strengths and limitations that make it different to analyze with than a physical variation board, hence the necessity for a dichotomy.

So the question of which choice is more accurate is flawed because there isn't one. The computer uses mathematical calculations and storage of their results to play chess, and this doesn't resemble either a variation board or a mind's eye close enough for either to be considered an accurate choice.

Trying to impose this dichotomy on the computer is not only anthropomorphic, but incorrect. It simply doesn't operate that way.

I suspect you are trying to win this debate with your friend, but it is a pointless one. It is like arguing that the universe has more eights than nines.
Parent - - By SR (****) [gb] Date 2010-11-14 21:07
Good answer!
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2010-11-15 15:21
But which one is less too anthropomorphic? :smile:
- By Uly (Gold) [mx] Date 2010-11-14 02:24
I'd say it's like stopping time, and giving the human a virtual reality helmet, in where he can set up virtual reality chess boards, and look at them, and every time he moves a piece, a new board is created and he can look at both boards, so eventually he ends with thousands of boards, but since time is stopped, he has enough time to memorize them.

The boards do not exist but in the virtual, the human may not actually see the real board due to the helmet, he only can see the ones he's creating. Would this count as blindfold?

PS - Of course time can't be stopped, it would be more like slowed down tremendously. And the human wouldn't be that strong, he would just beat most GMs for his time advantage.
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