Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Chess Art - The Art of Chess Exhibition, Reykjavik, Iceland (2009)

Amorphous Organic, 2008,
Alastair Mackie (official site)

This Iceland art exhibition – The Art of Chess - at Reykjavik Art Museum (24 January – 13 April 2009) is giving an artistic take on the design of the game of chess. There are 15 chess sets in the exhibition, designed by contemporary artists from around the world, and curated by Larry List, Julia Royse & Mark Sanders.

Official Reykjavik Art Museum exhibition web site ... here
Wallpaper Magazine web article site ... here
Some of the sets on display ... here

Artists in the exhibition include (biographies):
  • Alastair Mackie
  • Barbara Kruger
  • Chapman brothers (Jake & Dinos)
  • Damien Hirst
  • Gavin Turk
  • Matthew Ronay
  • Maurizio Cattelan
  • Oliver Clegg
  • Paul Fryer
  • Paul McCarthy
  • Rachel Whiteread
  • Tom Friedman
  • Tracey Emin
  • Tunga
  • Yayoi Kusama

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Political Chess - Garry Kasparov Interview on Real Time with Bill Maher (20th October 2007)

Garry Kasparov on Real Time with Bill Maher:

This video is now a bit dated (20th October 2007) but it is definitely a classic. In my opinion it was this interview, more than any other, which let the non-chess playing world know what ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov was all about.

Video Concept List:
1970s, 1980s, Activists, Aeroflot, Ahmadinejad, America, Approval rating, Bill Maher, Body guards, Bush, Checkers, Checkmate, Cheney, Chess, Chess Master, China, Concentration camp, Consume food or liquid, Control of media, Courage, Credibility, Daughter, Democracy, Dividing our friends, Double standards, East Germany, Fame, Family, Freedom, Garry Kasparov, Geopolitical tool, Hamas, Hezbollah, High oil prices, How Life Imitates Chess, Icon, Iran, Iraq, KGB, Korea, Live television, Market economy, Minimising risk, Missiles, Mother-in-law, Name, New Jersey, New York, North Korea, Nuclear technology, Oil prices, Police State, Political activist, Polling results, Power, President Bush, Presidential elections, Psychiatrist, Putin, Run for President, Real Time, Russia, Russian, Russian Political activist, Russian soul, Sad stories, Soul, South Korea, Soviet models, Soviets, Strongman, Stupid, Taiwan, Tension in the Middle east, Torture, Uniting our enemies, US Administration, West Germany, Whitehouse, Wife, Wire tapping,

Abstract Chess Art - Speed Chess

Speed Chess [by bogschess on flickr]

Speed chess is played at less than conventional tournament chess time controls.

Commonly recognised variants of speed chess include:
  • Bullet Chess - 1 or 2 minutes per player.
  • Blitz Chess - less than 15 minutes per player, commonly 5 minutes each.
  • Rapid Chess - 15 to 60 minutes per player.
  • Armageddon Chess - black has draw odds (ie a draw is counted as a win for black), and white has slightly more time on the clock, guarantees a result of either 1:0 or 0:1.

Monday, 16 March 2009

WUCC15 Number Proposal - The Chess Equivalent of The Erdős Number?

Paul Erdős (1913-1996)
Hungarian Mathematician

The eccentric Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős (1913-1996) was one of the most prolific publishers of papers in mathematical history (apparently second only to Leonhard Euler). Erdős wrote around 1,500 mathematical articles in his lifetime, with 511 direct collaborators.

The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between an individual and Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. Paul Erdős is the only person having an Erdős number of zero. The lowest Erdős number of a coauthor is 1.

Diagramatic explanation of Erdős number [by user:h2g2bob, Wikipedia ]

Other similar number ratings include:
  • Bacon number - as in the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. [link]
  • h-index - index quantifying both the actual scientific productivity & apparent scientific impact of a scientist. [link]
  • Kibo number - someone who has received e-mail from Kibo either directly or through shared contacts.
  • Shusaku number - "distance" between a Go player & Honinbo Shusaku, measured in Go opponents. [link]
  • Small world experiment - comprised several experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram examining the average path length for social networks of people in the USA. [link]
  • Stringfield number - application of the same idea to the field of ufology - connecting ufologists with the late Leonard H. Stringfield.
Proposed WUCC15 Number:
Now the hard part, doing the calculations. My prediction is that the lowest WUCC15 score will go to Victor Korchnoi or Boris Spassky. I would be interested in any comments.

Claude Shannon - Chess & The Shannon Number

Claude Shannon:

Claude Shannon (1916-2001) was a mathematician and electrical engineer. He is considered the "father of information theory" and also known for founding both digital computer and digital circuit design theory. Chess was a hobby of Shannon's - publishing the important paper Programming a Computer for Playing Chess (1950). Shannon used his knowledge of information theory, and its applications to game theory, to make fortunes at both Blackjack (Las Vegas) and on the stock market. Unfortunately, in the later parts of his life he was affected by Alzheimer's disease. [Wikipedia]

Claude Shannon calculated the possible number of chess moves to be around 10120. This being known as the Shannon Number. The calculation was published in his 1950 scientific paper - Programming a Computer for Playing Chess (download pdf here). The relevant section of the paper quoting the result is below:
With chess it is possible, in principle, to play a perfect game or construct a machine to do so as follows: One considers in a given position all possible moves, then all moves for the opponent, etc., to the end of the game (in each variation). The end must occur, by the rules of the games after a finite number of moves [4] (remembering the 50 move drawing rule). Each of these variations ends in win, loss or draw. By working backward from the end one can determine whether there is a forced win, the position is a draw or is lost. It is easy to show, however, even with the high computing speed available in electronic calculators thiscomputation is impractical. In typical chess positions there will be of the order of 30 legal moves. The number holds fairly constant until the game is nearly finished as shown in fig. 1. This graph was constructed from data given by De Groot, who averaged the number of legal moves in a large number of master games (De Groot, 1946, a). Thus a move for White and then one for Black gives about 103 possibilities. A typical game lasts about 40 moves to resignation of one party. This is conservative for our calculation since the machine would calculate out to checkmate, not resignation. However, even at this figure there will be 10120 variations to be calculated from the initial position. A machine operating at the rate of one variation per micro-second would require over 1090 years to calculate the first move!
In comparison to the Shannon Number, the number of atoms in the observable Universe, is estimated to be around 1080.

Claude E. Shannon [Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., Murray Hill, N.J.]
XXII. Programming a Computer for Playing Chess
Philosophical Magazine, Ser.7, Vol. 41, No. 314 - March 1950.
[Received November 8, 1949]

Chess Quote - Samuel Johnson & John Denham - Chess & Puppets

Samuel Johnson (1772):
[Painting by Joshua Reynolds]

"CHESS. n.s. A nice and abstruse game in which two sets of puppets are moved in opposition to each other." Denham
- from A Dictionary of the English Language By Samuel Johnson (link)

Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was an author and "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history" (Rogers, 2006). Johnson wrote the Dictionary of the English Language, which was first published in 1755. Some authorities believe that Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms were consistent with a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome.

The above chess quote appears to have been attributed to Sir John Denham, whom Johnson held in very high regard.

Sir John Denham:

Sir John Denham (1615-1669) was a poet, born in Dublin, and educated at Trinity College Oxford, initially training as a lawyer. After the Restoration, under the rule of Charles II, Denham was politically appointed in 1661 as the King's Surveyor. Sir Denham's last years were troubled with insanity, and on his death Christopher Wren (Denham's deputy) succeeded him as King's Surveyor.

A Dictionary of the English Language By Samuel Johnson - Google Books link
Rogers, Pat (2006), "Johnson, Samuel (17091784)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.), Oxford University Press.
Wikipedia Articles - Dr Samuel Johnson - Sir John Denham - Christopher Wren

Matthew Flinders Chess Set (1810)

Matthew Flinders Chess Set (1810):
Full size image ... here
[Courtesy State Library of NSW]

Matthew Flinders RN (1774-1814), the famous cartographer and navigator, was born in Donington, Lincolnshire, England. He joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 years, at least partly as a result of being "induced to go to sea against the wishes of my friends from reading Robinson Crusoe". Flinders is remembered for suggesting the name of Australia, for what was then known as Terra Australias, though the name was only gradually taken up over the next 10 years after his death. As a mariner, he sailed at one time with the infamous William Bligh.

Matthew Flinders attempted to return to England in 1803, on the schooner Cumberland, but was forced to dock in French-controlled Mauritius for repairs. Unfortunately war had broken out between Britain and France (1803-1814, one of the Napoleonic Wars). The French governor of Mauritius, Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, detained Matthew Flinders on the island until 1810.

During his detention Flinders was taught the game of chess by a M. Chazal. The diaries of Flinders document many chess playing sessions whilst on Mauritius. Before leaving the island he was presented with a chess set (pictured above) by M. Labauve (source).

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Philidor The Chess Player & Composer - Carmen Saeculare Overtures

François-André Danican Philidor

Chess Player & Composer

François-André Danican Philidor (1726-1795) came from an oustanding musical family, and as a boy was a chorister in the Chapelle Royal at Versailles. Whilst developing his career in music, Philidor became a formidable chess player (regarded as the best chess player of his age) playing regularly in the 1740s at the Café de la Régence against such greats as Voltaire, Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin (quote). He was known for his astounding ability to play blindfold chess.

From around 1750 to 1770, Philidor was regarded as a leading opera composer in France. However, once he felt that he was being surpassed by other composers he again devoted his time to chess.

Philidor’s Carmen Sæculare Overtures CD (Amazon)

In 1788, when Philidor returned again to England, he became acquainted with the London intellectual Giuseppe Baretti. Through a collaboration between Philidor and Baretti the Carmen Sæculare, an oratorio, set to hymns by the poet Horace was produced. Note Horace was a leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. Baretti chose the Latin texts for the Carmen Sæculare and sought someone who was ‘fertile in ideas and expedients and able to temper alternately the solemnity of Church-music with the brilliancy of the theatrical’. Philidor’s outstanding musical ability and Mozartean-Haydnesque high classical style, was ideal for the task.

Philidor became stranded in England when the French Revolution (17891799) occurred during his absence. He was placed on the banned list by the Revolutionary Government because of his social connections. He died in London (1795) and was buried in St James, Piccadilly.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Chess Satire - Chess Wounds, The Daily Show (2000)

The Daily Show is a satirical comedy show, hosted by Jon Stewart, airing on Comedy Central in the United States, and shown around the World on CNN International. When aired on CNN International, the broadcast is prefaced by the following announcement:
"The show you are about to watch is a news parody. Its stories are not fact checked. Its reporters are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through."
This episode, entitled Chess Wounds, takes a satirical look at chess and group of people who play "human chess".

Ivory Chess Set Owned By Captain James Cook

Ivory Chess Set Owned By Captain James Cook (1770):
[© National Maritime Museum, London]

This barleycorn ivory chess set belonged to Captain James Cook.

Captain James Cook FRS RN (1728 -1779) was an English explorer & cartographer born in Marton in Yorkshire. Cook was the first to map Newfoundland. He subsequently made voyages to the Pacific Ocean where he discovered the eastern Australia coastline, Hawaiian Islands and circumnavigated New Zealand. Cook died (1779) in Hawaii, in a fight with the islanders, during his third Pacific voyage.

William Bligh was a junior officer who served under Captain James Cook before commanding the HMS Bounty and being subject to a mutiny by his crew.

Terra Firma Chess - Chess Tables Central Park, NYC

Chess Tables - Central Park, New York City
[Annie Mole on Flickr]

Central Park is a large, public, urban park in New York City. The decommissioned Central Park Reservior, also known as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (since 1994), was built between 1858-1862. The Park was completely designed and landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux.

Aerial View Of Central Park, New York City:

Friday, 13 March 2009

Terra Firma Chess - Street Chess In York, England

Street Chess (York, England, UK)
[Photo by Indigo Goat on Flickr]

Street Chess (York, England, UK)
[Photo by Indigo Goat on Flickr]

Some interesting street chess photos from York (UK) by Indigo Goat.

York is a walled city from North Yorkshire, England (UK). It has been in existence for approximately 2,000 years, though only became known as York around 1,000 years ago. Richard II had planned to make York the capital of England, but was deposed before he could fulfill his wish. The city contains the fabulous gothic cathedral, York Minster (see aerial photo) which is the second largest in Northern Europe.

Aerial view of York showing York Minster:
[From Wikipedia and]

Celebrity Chess - Ray Charles Beat Heroin Addiction With Chess

Ray Charles (1930 - 2004) (California, 1966)
By Bill Ray (Life Magazine)

Ray Charles, the soul, blues and gospel music legend, learned chess in 1965 whilst recovering from heroin addiction. The movie Ray (2004), directed by Taylor Hackford, has a hospital scene showing Ray Charles (played by Jamie Foxx) playing chess with his doctor. Ray learned and played chess without the aid of sight, as he began to lose his vision at the age of 6 years, being totally blind by the age of 7 years.

Ray's chess board was designed with the dark squares being slightly elevated, and the tops of the dark pieces having sharper edges compared with the white pieces. Each of the board's squares had a hole to fit the pieces into - much like a travel set (see photo above).

A game between Ray Charles vrs Larry Melvyn Evans in 2002 is available on here.

One of Ray Charles' frequent chess playing partners was Willie Nelson - Willie recounts an interesting chess anecdote at Ray's funeral ... here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Garry Kasparov Playing Chess With Sting & The Police (2000)

Sting (previous band member of The Police) has a villa in Tuscany (300-hectare estate) which contains a giant chess board in the grounds (source). It would not be surprising then if Sting should enjoy a game of chess from time to time. This youtube video shows Sting and The Police "enjoying" a game of chess (simul) with the great Garry Kasparov in 2000.

The youtube video below shows the moves of a game between Garry Kasparov (White) and Sting (Black).

Chess Metaphor Watch - The Young Victoria (The Film)

The Young Victoria (2009)
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

The game of chess is commonly used metaphorically to describe almost every aspect of life. In the political arena, chess metaphors are used quite regularly. Even ALCHEssMIST has jumped on the bandwagon recently with a posting about Barack Obama ... here.

The recently released film - The Young Victoria - is a dramatisation of the initial turbulent years of the young Queen Victoria's rule. The film particularly focusses on her romance with Prince Albert and how this appears to bring out the best in the young monarch. One scene in the film shows Queen Victoria and Prince Albert playing a game of chess. The conversation includes the question:
"Do you ever feel like a chess piece yourself, in a game played against your will?"
How unfortunate that the chess metaphor needs to be explicitly explained to the audience.

Here is the chess scene from the film (youtube).

Artificial Intelligence GO-es Monte Carlo

Korean Go game (circa 1910-1920): [Wikipedia]

Go is a strategic board game (zero-sum game) between 2 players. Go originated in China (where it is also known as wéiqí) approximately 2,500 years ago. It has been estimated that the total possible number of games of Go is approximately 10171, many more configurations than there are elementary particles in the known universe.

Brandon Keim has published a very interesting article in Wired - Humans No Match for Go Bot Overlords (10th March 2009) - where he descibes the impact on the game Go of new Go computer programs using the Monte Carlo method of analysis.

The Monte Carlo method was first described by the Manhattan Project nuclear weapons physicists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1940s. The origin of the name appears to come from the casinos where some of the scientists gambled. The method has wide application for modeling phenomena where there is significant uncertainty, i.e. calculating risk in business. Keen chess players will be familiar with this approach as a Monte Carlo analysis feature is available in the recently launched Rybka3 chess engine (see Chessbase article).

So how can the Monte Carlo method possibly help in playing Go?

The secret appears to be patterns and probabilities emerging from random simulations of Go games repeated again and again and again. The statistical analysis performed on these countless millions of games of Go highlights useful patterns which can then be described in a mathematical probabilistic fashion. The Go programs can then devote more time to the promising branches identified. In the future these Monte Carlo based Go programs will be able to incorporate the results of previous analysis into their playing algorithms, so producing incremental improvements in skill level. Eventually, the best Go programs will beat the elite professional Go players, just as the best chess programs have done in chess.

Related Posts:
ALCHEssMIST - Hans Berliner – Reviewing The Go Versus Chess Quote:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Chess Quote - Marcel Duchamp - Chess Is A Sport

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

Chess is a sport. A violent sport. This detracts from its most artistic connections. One intriguing aspect of the game that does not imply artistic connotations is the geometrical patterns and variations of the actual set-up of the pieces in the combinative, tactical, strategical and positional sense. It is a sad means of expression though - somewhat like religious art - it is not very gay. If it is anything, it is a struggle.
– Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp (18871968) was a French artist (identified with the Dadaism & Surrealism movements). From 1918 Duchamp slowly made a transition from artist to chess player. By 1923, when he had returned to Paris, he was no longer a practising artist. Duchamp's obsession with chess so distressed his first wife that she allegedly glued the chess pieces to the board.

Portrait of Chess Players (1911) [Duchamp]

How Smart Are Chimps? - Video by Jon Cohen

Interesting video on chimp cognition by Jon Cohen.

Click image - video will open on a separate page (slow loading).

Video Concept List:
0-9, Ai, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, Ancestors, Ayumu, Bigger brain, Buzzer, Chicago, Chimpanzee, Chimp research, Chimps, Cognitive experiments, Complex language, Computer screen, Culture, Counting, Empathise, Evolution, Facial expressions, Genetic research, Guinea (Africa), HIV, Humans, Jane Goodall, Jon Cohen, Kyoto University, Love, Matsuzawa, Muscular short-term memory, Numerals, Primate Research Institute (Kyoto University), Short-term memory, Slate, Smarter, Species, Stronger, Symbols, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Treat, Walk, White rectangles, Wild chimpanzees

Rationality & Procrastination

Can procrastination be rational?

This article by Isaac Sorkin & Henry Swift - An economic study of procrastination, The Swarthmore Phoenix, Nov 30, 2006 - suggests there can be at least 3 good reasons for procrastinating.

1). Fixed costs to starting work:
  • Some people, before they can settle down to a task, need to go through various rituals - such as tidying their desk, answering emails, filling up the coffee.
  • Putting off work for one heavy session means you don't have do these rituals over and over again.
2). Decreasing marginal costs of working:
  • Many people find the 2nd or 3rd hour of work easier than the 1st hour - i.e. they "feel in the zone", things start making more sense and work becomes more efficient.
  • It is sensible then to make your work sessions as long as possible in order to take advantage of these returns of scale.
  • Meetings quite often work this way as everyone starts to understand the other participants side of the argument.
3). Thick-market externalities:
  • The idea is that if everyone else is doing the same thing that you are, it gets easier and more enjoyable.
  • Skipping these things to work smoothly over the day involves an opportunity cost of missing out on the fun.
  • So it makes sense to clump work like the rest of the team.

Cognitive Styles - Digital Game-Based Learning By Marc Prensky

Marc Prensky (Photo by Jim Allen)

Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff (here) has described how "pocket professors" (artificial intelligence & informational technologies) are likely to significantly change future world economic processes. He has partly arrived at this conclusion based on his experience with chess (Rogoff is a chess grandmaster) and the development and impact of chess computing.

There are now a generation of chess players who have grown up with computer chess and computer-based chess tuition as well as the myriad of other digital games now available. Certainly the computer chess age appears to have contributed to the increase in highly skilled younger chess players and grandmasters.

Has computer chess also changed cognitively our elite chess players?

Marc Prensky from the book From Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw-Hill, 2001) [Amazon link] suggests that there have been 10 major cognitive style changes observed in the children, and hence future adults, of the "Games Generation". The implications of these cognitive style changes for education, training, chess, competitive sports and business are likely to be profound.

1. Twitch speed vs. conventional speed

2. Parallel processing vs. linear processing

3. Random access vs. step-by-step

4. Graphics first vs. text first

5. Connected vs. standalone

6. Active vs. passive

7. Play vs. work

8. Payoff vs. patience

9. Fantasy vs. reality

10. Technology-as-friend vs. technology-as-foe

Further detailed explanation of these cognitive style changes can be found - here.
Well worth a read.

Marc Prensky
From Digital Game-Based Learning
McGraw-Hill Inc.,US (1 Jan 2001)
ISBN-10: 0071363440
ISBN-13: 978-0071363440

Game Theory & Hospital Management - Chess - Poker - Cooperation

Game theory first became recognised following the publication of the book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944) by John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern. It has wide application for decision support in many aspects of life. The article below briefly discusses how game theory can be useful for enabling effective hospital management.

The hospital manager and game theory: chess master, poker player, or cooperative game player?

Hospital management can be seen as a game, and doctors, nurses, and health maintenance organizations are its players. The astute hospital manager realizes the interdependence of individual career strategies and the hospital's success, just as players in a game are interdependent on each other. Managers familiar with game theory may successfully transfer that knowledge to the hospital realm. They may recognize patterns and calculate outcomes like chess players, bluff other hospitals into folding services as poker players do, and cooperate with their own team to maximize productivity. Knowledge of game theory may also make the hospital manager's job.

The hospital manager and game theory: chess master, poker player, or cooperative game player?
Dowd SB, Root A. [Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1212, USA.]
Health Care Manag (Frederick). 2003 Oct-Dec;22(4):305-10.
PMID: 14672441 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Ken Rogoff On Chess, Artificial Intelligence & Globalization

Kenneth Rogoff

I have recently posted a list of chess player economists (here). One of the most influential economists in the world currently is Kenneth Rogoff (Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and formerly chief economist at the IMF). In this article from the site Project Syndicate Rogoff argues that replacing people with "pocket professors" (artificial intelligence portable computer technology) is likely to be more important than outsourcing and globalisation in the future.

Artificial Intelligence and Globalization - Kenneth Rogoff - Project Syndicate:

Today’s conventional wisdom is that the rise of India and China will be the single biggest factor driving global jobs and wages over the twenty-first century. High-wage workers in rich countries can expect to see their competitive advantage steadily eroded by competition from ... Asia, Latin America, and maybe even some day Africa. ... But I wonder whether ... another factor will influence our work lives even more: the exponential rise of applications of artificial intelligence.

My portal to the world of artificial intelligence is a narrow one: the ... game of chess. You may not care a whit about chess... But the stunning developments coming out of the chess world ... should still command your attention. Chess has long been the centerpiece of research in artificial intelligence. While in principle, chess is solvable, the game’s computational complexity is almost incomprehensible. It is only a slight exaggeration to say there are more possible moves in a chess game than atoms in a universe.

Rest of article here ...

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Rationality & Game Theory - The Centipede Game & Chess Players

"Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is used in the social sciences (most notably economics), biology, engineering, political science, international relations, computer science (mainly for artificial intelligence), and philosophy." (Wikipedia),

The centipede game (introduced by Rosenthal, 1981) is one mathematical game which tests the conflicts between self-interest and mutual benefit in human interactions. The traditional centipede game had a limit of 100 rounds (hence the name). (see Wikipedia)

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta and Oscar Volij have recently published a study looking at the behaviour of skilled chess players playing the centipede game. (pdf link here)
The centipede game is perhaps the best example of what is known as “paradoxes of backward induction.”These paradoxes involve sequential games all of whose correlated equilibria, and a fortiori all its Nash equilibria, imply a very counterintuitive play.

A particular instance of the centipede game can be described as follows. A pile of $4 and a pile of $1 are lying on a table. Player I has two options, either to “stop” or to “continue.”If he stops, the game ends and he gets $4 while Player II gets the remaining dollar. If he continues, the two piles are doubled to $8 and $2, and Player II is faced with a similar decision: either to take the larger pile ($8), thus ending the game and leaving the smaller pile ($2) for Player I, or to let the piles double again and let Player I decide. The game continues for at most six rounds. If by then neither of the players have stopped, Player I gets $256 and Player II gets $64. Figure 1 depicts
this situation.

Palacios-Huerta and Volij found that the chess players were far more likely to play optimally than non-chess playing students. Amongst chess players, grandmasters always played optimally and took the $4. This increased rationality (hyper-rationality) amongst chess players has the disadvantage that they are less likely to share a larger reward through cooperation (suboptimal game strategy). I find this study very interesting. One interpretation of the results is that chess grandmasters may be more sociopathic or selfish than the average person (see chart above), i.e. by being more rational and less morally empathic to others.


Chess Players - Economists

Below is a list of chess playing Economists:
  • Anderson, Benjamin (American economist, skilled chess player & friend of Capablanca) - Wikipedia
  • Bondarevsky, Igor (Economist by profession, coached Boris Spassky) - Wikipedia
  • Dell, Edmund (UK politician, historian, businessman & author of The Politics of Economic Interdependence 1987) - Obituary
  • Forintos, Gyozo (Hungarian Economist) - Wikipedia
  • Franklin, Benjamin (Polymath, statesman, economist, philosopher, inventor, scientist, musician and avid chess player) - Wikipedia
  • Friedman, Milton (Nobel prize winner, one of the most influential economists of the 20C) - Link
  • Gipslis, Aivars (Graduated from Latvian University as an Economist) - Link & Wikipedia
  • Karpov, Anatoly (degree from Leningrad State University) - ALCHEssMIST Chess Players & Wikipedia
  • Mundell, Robert Alexander (Professor of Economics, Columbia University & Nobel Prize winner 1999, "father of the Euro") - Chessbase Link
  • Novotelnov, Nikolai (Economist, chess journalist, Champion of the RSFSR in 1947) - Link
  • Rogoff, Ken (Professor of Economics, Harvard University) - Homepage
Any other suggestions welcome.

Chess Quote - Anatoly Karpov on Chess

Chess is everything: art, science, and sport.
-- Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov (born 1951) was undisputed World Chess Champion from 1975 to 1985. He was an academically gifted schoolboy who initially went on to study Mathematics at Moscow State University before transferring to Leningrad State University to graduate in Economics. Anatoly Karpov had a great rivalry with Garry Kasparov, contesting 5 World Championships, with Karpov having 19 wins, 21 losses, and 104 draws in 144 games. [see Wikipedia]

Chess Quote - Child Prodigies - Chess - Mathematics - Music

Chess, like mathematics and music, is a nursery for child prodigies.

-- Jamie Murphy (Time Magazine Monday April 21st 1986)

From article about the Polgar sisters (Susan 16 years old / Sophia 11 years old / Judit 9 years old) describing their exceptional performance at New York Open Chess Tournament in 1986.
(Time article link - Don't Play Around with the Polgars)

Caricature of child prodigy composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, at the piano, surrounded by (from left) Siegfried Wagner, Max Reger, Artur Nikisch, Richard Strauss & Eugen d'Albert.

Chess In Literature - Geoffrey Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is actually a collection of stories written between 1387 and 1400 by Geoffrey Chaucer. It is the story of a group of 30 pilgrims travelling to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all levels of society, tell stories to each other, as they travel to Canterbury. Chaucer never actually finished this ambitious project and we are still uncertain about the order of the tales in the work. The printing press had not even been invented when Chaucer was writing The Canterbury Tales. As a result the manuscript was only available in several handwritten copies.

The game of chess is mentioned on one occasion in The Canterbury Tales. It occurs in "The Franklin's Tale":
Her friends saw that it was no alleviation, but grief for her, to roam by the sea, and planned to disport themselves somewhere else. They led her by rivers and springs and eke in other delectable places; they danced and they played at tables and chess.

Friday, 6 March 2009

If Chess Is ...

If chess is a science, it’s a most inexact one. If chess is an art, it’s too exacting to be seen as one. If chess is a sport, it’s too esoteric. If chess is a game, it’s too demanding to be “just” a game. If chess is a mistress, she’s a demanding one. If chess is a passion, it’s a rewarding one. If chess is life, it’s a sad one.
– Source Unknown