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alien chess

alien chess

Jul 26, 2009, 10:24 PM 2

there's one thing that really gets me about films on aliens - the aliens are almost always recognizably human. with a few exceptions, such as ridley scott's wonderful and intelligent film 'alien' or the black'n'white oldie 'the body snatchers'. most irritating is the fact that even when filmmakers go to great lengths to make the aliens look as unhuman as possible, they'd still have them think and behave exactly like human beings. it seems like we cannot conceive of an intelligence other than human. the archetypal example of this is the only scene i remember of that pathetic tv series 'the visitors' - there's a conversation between diana, the head reptilian and her aide, whose name i thankfully do not remember (i would think about visiting a shrink if i did). one moment she fetches out a bottle of cognac with the trademark napoleon silhouette on it. while washing down the rat she had just swallowed with a shot of napoleon cognac, she points at the label and tells her aide 'apparently this was a mass murderer. these humans just seem to love those who harm them. they honor killers by naming things after them.' LOL, as if an alien who evolved in another solar system, maybe even in another galaxy would reason the way we do - have our sense of irony and contradiction. believe it or not, even intelligent people fall into this trap - the great german mathematician gauss suggested back in 1850's that we should draw out a big picture of a right-angled triangle (in euclid's famous construction - the bride's chair proof of pythagoras' theorem) in a desert so that passing alien spaceships would recognize that intelligent people inhabit the earth. something like the Nazca land drawings, only this would be intelligible. LOL. it is simply beyond us to accept the fact that maybe even things like prime numbers (or pythagorean triples) are the product of quintessentially human intelligence. an alien intelligence might not even conceive of geometry at all, or sidestep it entirely. maths does not have to be a purely human discovery, just like religion or science (neanderthals buried their dead with ornaments, so they probably had some sort of religion and beliefs of afterlife)but the way we do maths, as in the way we conceive of religion, life, etc no doubt is inextricably connected to our humanity.

well, i was thinking about this when the idea occured to me - what of chess? say that a discarded sputnik escapes the orbit of the earth and is picked up by an alien spaceship. on the ship computer, they find, besides the navigation programs and the porn, a cheap version of fritz ( with unadjustable level and no book lines, like the one i have:). by trial and error, they learn the lawful moves and get the fact that the idea is to pin down the king and check him so he cant move away. now, after they get the rules right, one of them tests his wits against against fritz.

the task i set myself is to imagine what that game would look like. i therefore tried to think of an opening which has nothing to do with anything i have seen in books or over the board. then i played it against fritz myself - (as an alien lol satanicwarmaster:)) i must admit that i sometimes took back moves, which is obvious as otherwise i would not have managed to draw the game - for the sake of honesty, i have indicated whenever i did so.








so, satanicwarmaster calls ground control (i was wondering if i manage to fit in a bowie quote, finally:) it's really late now and i am 'floating in a most peculiar way' as i inch towards the bed. good night

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