Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Chess Style Used to Identify Players

If you’re a grandmaster, the way you play chess may reveal your identity.

Like athletes in other sports, chess players play the game with a certain style. Some for example have a positional strategy, others a tactical approach and these styles influence their shot selection at each move.

Given the way that computers are beginning to dominate even the world’s best players, is it possible to teach a computer to play in the style of Vladimir Kramnick or Gary Kasparov? And if so, would it then be possible for that computer to recognise players by their moves alone?

Those are the questions that Mark Levene and Trevor Fenner at Birkbeck College in London set out to answer.

They used a traditional learning method to teach a computer the styles of Kramnik and Kasparov. Kramnik, it turns out, has a propensity for the bishop pair and tends to prefer king-side manoeuvres. Kasparov, on the other hand, is a sucker for saddling his opponents with doubled pawns and when playing black tends to opt for an attack on white’s king when the players castle on opposite wings.

Levene and Fenner then tested the computer using moves 23-35 from a set of 123 games and got pretty good accuracy rates. But they were unable to repeat their success in games between Kramnik and another former world champion, Veselin Topalov.

Clearly, the method needs a little more work.

But it clearly has potential in ensuring that you can spot when your postal chess buddy has turned to Deep Blue for advice. And what a fantastic biometric standard too. Imagine proving your identity at customs by sitting down as white.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0904.2595: A Methodology for Learning Players’ Styles from Game Records

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.