Tuesday, September 25, 2018

So You Think You Are Good at Checkers... WRONG!

by Steven Lane (writer), Simi valley, Ca and Austin, Tx., July 22, 2007


Checkers, America's favorite board game is over, that's right, GAME OVER. You can't win, not today, not tomorrow, not ever! No more sitting around the pickle barrel playing "stump the chump". No more Howard and Barney playing a game at Floyd's barbershop, while Andy waxes on so eloquently...Why bother, it's been proven that even when "perfectly played" you can't win. The best you can hope for is a draw.

People, meet Chinook, The Checker Champion. Computer scientists from the University of Alberta, Canada have designed a checker-playing computer program that, quite simply, cannot be beaten.

Birthed in 1989 by Jonathan Schaeffer, head of the University computer science department, it is only now that the claim is made that his machine, Chinook, has "solved checkers." The computer process that started some eighteen years ago, and had been running on hundreds of processors almost twenty-four/seven since then, (There was a four year break from 1997-2001, brain freeze no doubt), has learned everything there is to learn about checkers. It "knows" every move to play against any foe, in any situation.

Chinook has built the perfect data base by analyzing a mere 500 quintillion possible situations. That's a billion billion, which has to be more than a Gazillion...mind boggling stuff.

The results of this lengthy little exercise were reported on Friday, June 20th, in the academic journal, Science. Overnight, checkers, a game that dates back to 3,000 B.C., is history.

"I think we raised the bar--and raised it quite a bit--in terms of what can be achieved in computer technology and artificial intelligence," said creator, Schaeffer. "With Chinook, we've pushed the envelope about one million times more than anything that's been done before."

"This is a tremendous achievement--a truly significant advance in artificial intelligence," said Dr. Jaap van den Herik, editor, International Computer Games Journal.

Dagnabit, some things should just be left alone.

Feel like getting your ass kicked, go play at:

About the Writer

Steven Lane is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on So You Think You Are Good at Checkers... WRONG!

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By Batman on July 22, 2007 at 11:49 am
I like the quote from Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: "I'm artificially intelligent!"
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By Jen on July 22, 2007 at 12:00 pm
Checkers may have been my favorite game as a child (and on into my teen years). I just played a game with Chinook. Not impressed. The computer limits the range of moves the opponent can make. Its way more fun with a buddy and some beers... Nice article!
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By Steven Blake on July 25, 2007 at 12:45 pm
I will beat him
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By Steven Lane on July 25, 2007 at 09:10 pm
You go Blake!
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By Adiba88 on June 30, 2014 at 02:12 am

Seems that is really good

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