Sunday, November 09, 2008

Machines that make us look stupid

Most of us don't actually need a machine to look stupid of course. Anybody who had the misfortune to witness my 'play' against Morley College last Friday night will be able to attest to that.

Still, yesterday The Guardian published a series of photographs under this banner. The picture above is their representation of Chinook. At least four of the remaining eleven images have a chess connection. Can you spot them all?


ejh said...

One connection you won't have is that I went to see I, Robot one evening while playing in a sub-tournament at the British Championship at Scarborough. It was, as it happens, absolutely the worst film I have ever paid money to see (as well as having essentially nothing to do with the Asimov series to the extent of having opposite premises from those of the author). The cinema was pretty poor as well although there was a certain charm in discovering that the old-fashioned fleapit still exists in some corner of the world.

Anyway, there's a chess game in Blade Runner, though not a very good one (I refer to its presentation, you understand, not the game itself which is of course Anderssen-Kieseritzky). You've also got Deep Blue and 2001 - other than that I dunno, did Robbie the Robot play chess?

Jonathan B said...

You have three of the four there Justin.

One more to go (not Robbie as far as I know).

I thought the chess was handled well in Bladerunner. A key plot device with Roy Batty's suggestion of a strong chess move for J. S. Sebastian's game against Dr. Tyrell gaining him access to his maker.

Tom Chivers said...

The game in Bladerunner is the Immortal Game. It's fitting given Roy Batty's quest for more life; but unfitting to think that JS Sebastian could play such a game in such a style without remotely scenting the sacrificial finish.

Jonathan B said...

Oh of course. If I recall correctly Roy Batty suggests the queen sac and as you say they'd never have reached that position unless J. S. Sebastian had already seen the queen sac.

So not realistic in that sense - but still a good plot device i think.

Jonathan B said...

4th one:-

according to one of our correspondents some time ago there was an episode of Sarah Connor Chronicles that featured a chess theme. I've no idea how or why though

Anonymous said...

In addition to any other connections...

Robbie the Robot (or its parent computer) taught the little boy to play chess. The boy beat his scientist dad in a different movie.

The cargo containers look like a disjointed chess board.

The programmer of Chinook, Jonathan Schaeffer, is a chess player. I've played him in tournaments! He's about 2100, AFAIR. He also programmed at least one chess-playing program.

I am Jonathan Berry. Not related to any machine. Not related to Stephen or Neil or David. Not related to Jonathan B in this blog.