World Championship Computer-assisted Predictions

FM FM_Eric_Schiller
Oct 12, 2008, 12:00 AM |
17 | Other

GM Ray Keene and I will be doing a book on the upcoming Anand-Kramnik match that will appear shortly after the match. We mplan to preview much of the material here. We'll start with a bit Ray wrote on a new computer predicition project.

Personally, I don't think that matching moves with computer analysis is the way to go. Chess is aa sport, and some moves are psychologically motivated and may be the best tries to win. But your view may vary, and Ray finds it interesting. So here goes:

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Computer- assisted Predictions

by Grandmaster Raymond Keene, O.B.E.

A book I worked on with Prof. Nathan Divinsky and statistician Jeff Sonas -Warriors Of The Mind-pinpointed Garry Kasparov as the greatest player of all time. This is reinforced by regular polls I have conducted for The Times which  consistently  place Kasparov at the summit. Rating performances logged by FIDE-the World Chess Federation- further support this view.Now a fresh and fascinating  evaluation method for champions has been developed, and it can be found at



This was pioneered at the University Of Ljubljana and taken  further by Charles Sullivan who used computer programs Crafty and Rybka for his analysis.

The new method is to subject the games of all champions to computer analysis and cross-check the accuracy of the moves themselves, in other words their conformity to the move preferences  exhibited by the programs . This method is intriguing, but we do encounter  some alarmingly discordant conclusions-years in which a champion notably did not reach his peak are, nonetheless, singled out as pinnacles,

( Fischer in 1968 for example) while some champions-Smyslov being a prominent example-swing wildly between upper and lower extremes. A further case in point  is Petrosian , whose best year is singled out as 1973, when between 1963 and 1966 he not only defeated Botvinnik and Spassky in title matches but also shared first prize in the Piatigorsky super tournament and won the individual gold medal on top board in the chess Olympiad!


Nevertheless, some trends do recur-Fischer and Capablanca repeatedly score highly over extended time frames  for the pristine accuracy of their moves, while Kramnik regularly finishes near the top and well ahead of Anand, except over short periods of evaluation, such as two years or less, where  it is Anand  who enjoys  a clear edge.


At some more or less distant  moment in time, may we look forward to such a pitch of computer trained excellence by our leading players that they all conform under competitive conditions to the moves recommended by the silicon brains? In that case we will have reached a state of chess perfection predicted by the great Emanuel Lasker when he posited the future occurrence of the Macheide-an entity honed by battle to take the correct decision at every stage in a combat situation? And will all the games be draws? It will be profoundly absorbing to check in the contest about to unroll before us the extent to which the computers regard the play  of Anand and Kramnik as perfect or otherwise.

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