Blog of Geof

Thursday, Jan. 4th

Five Thirty Eight on AlphaZero link →

Photo of a Chessboard

In the middle of the AlphaZero paper is a diagram called Table 2. It shows the 12 most popular chess openings played by humans, along with how frequently AlphaZero "discovered" and played those openings during its intense tabula rasa training. These openings are the result of extensive human study and trial — blood, sweat and tears — spread across the centuries and around the globe. AlphaZero taught itself them one by one: the English opening, the French, the Sicilian, the Queen's gambit, the Caro-Kann.

This is one of my favorite parts about AlphaZero. The fact that, over the course of a few hours of playing itself, AlphaZero taught itself (without prior knowledge) human chess openings that took us centuries. Perhaps it's weird that I find it more validating that horrifying.