Game Changer: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI

Game Changer: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI


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It took AlphaZero only a few hours of self-learning to become the chess player that shocked the world. The artificial intelligence system, created by DeepMind, had been fed nothing but the rules of the Royal Game when it beat the world’s strongest chess engine in a prolonged match. The selection of ten games published in December 2017 created a worldwide sensation: how was it possible to play in such a brilliant and risky style and not lose a single game against an opponent of superhuman strength? For Game Changer, Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan investigated more than two thousand previously unpublished games by AlphaZero. They also had unparalleled access to its team of developers and were offered a unique look ‘under the bonnet’ to grasp the depth and breadth of AlphaZero’s search. Sadler and Regan reveal its thinking process and tell the story of the human motivation and the techniques that created AlphaZero. Game Changer also presents a collection of lucidly explained chess games of astonishing quality. Both professionals and club players will improve their game by studying AlphaZero’s stunning discoveries in every field that matters: opening preparation, piece mobility, initiative, attacking techniques, long-term sacrifices and much more. The story of AlphaZero has a wider impact. Game Changer offers intriguing insights into the opportunities and horizons of Artificial Intelligence. Not just in solving games, but in providing solutions for a wide variety of challenges in society. With a foreword by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and an introduction by DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789056918187
Publisher: New in Chess
Publication date: 02/15/2019
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 155,713
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Matthew Sadler (1974) is a Grandmaster who twice won the British Championship and was awarded an individual Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympiad. He has authored several highly acclaimed books on chess and has been writing the famous ‘Sadler on Books’ column for New In Chess magazine for many years. Natasha Regan is a Women’s International Master from England who achieved a degree in mathematics from Cambridge University. Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan won the English Chess Federation 2016 Book of the Award for their book Chess for Life. Garry Kasparov (1963) is a former World Chess Champion. After his retirement from chess in 2005 he devoted his time to politics and writing. His latest book is Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. Demis Hassabis (1976) is co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, the world’s leading AI research organisation which developed ‘AlphaGo’, the first program to master Go. A child chess prodigy, he is also a renowned computer scientist, neuroscientist and videogame designer.

Table of Contents

Explanation of symbols 6

Foreword Garry Kasparov 7

Introduction Demis Hassabis 11

Preface 16

Introduction 19

Part I Alpha Zero's history 23

Chapter 1 A quick tour of computer chess competition 24

Chapter 2 ZeroZeroZero 33

Chapter 3 Demis Hassabis, DeepMind and AI 54

Part II Inside the box 67

Chapter 4 How AlphaZero thinks 68

Chapter 5 AlphaZero's style - meeting in the middle 87

Part III Themes in AlphaZero's play 131

Chapter 6 Introduction to our selected AlphaZero themes 132

Chapter 7 Piece mobility: outposts 137

Chapter 8 Piece mobility: activity 168

Chapter 9 Attacking the king: the march of the rook's pawn 208

Chapter 10 Attacking the king: colour complexes 235

Chapter 11 Attacking the king: sacrifices for time, space and damage 276

Chapter 12 Attacking the king: opposite-side castling 299

Chapter 13 Attacking the king: defence 321

Part IV AlphaZero's opening choices 351

Chapter 14 AlphaZero's opening repertoire 352

Chapter 15 The King's Indian Sämisch 364

Chapter 16 The Carlsbad 380

Part V Conclusion 399

Chapter 17 Epilogue 400

Chapter 18 Technical note 406

Glossary 409

About the authors 413

Index of names 414

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Game Changer: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JBchess64 More than 1 year ago
In a word: Wow! Game Changer is right. A decade or two back a GM acquaintance told me, "Computers are necessary, but they'll warp your style." Like many other amateurs I've played hundreds of games versus various engines, and 1) If I attack I get slaughtered; 2) Any attempt at creativity gets shut down; 3) If a tactical sequence becomes available, it's a trap: the computer wouldn't allow it unless it's favorable for the machine. So I developed openings and strategies to use against them. And this made a difference: I began to get the draw here and there. They are [AlphaZero will make this into "were"] so damned boring, so impossible to understand these long lines justifying some numerical evaluation (chess is not a number game!), frustrating since I am old enough to have learned chess, played in tournaments to a rating of mid-2200's, using Books!, moving by hand the physical pieces, developing ideas that I could at least explain to myself, and so on. This book has appeared at exactly the right time. AlphaZero does not suggest that we (once again) find Human ideas and develop them: it insists on it! The games and insights offered by Matthew Sadler & Natasha Regan will expand chess style, open it back into a complex struggle which creates enthusiasm and wonder at the game. Well, it's simply Amazing.