Lecture on AlphaZero

ClockAndCastleMasterOn Monday night Guildford Chess Club was fortunate to host Grand Master Matthew Sadler (Ranked England no. 2) and Women’s International Master Natasha Regan for a talk about their award winning book, Game Changer.  They explained how Deep Mind, the Google company, had extended their research from the board game Go, into Chess with a programme called AlphaZero (‘Zero’ involvement from human learning – all learning being done by the computer) and how Artificial Intelligence has enabled computers to leave humans far behind in terms of playing strength.   Having never played before AlphaZero learned how to play by playing against  itself 44 million times, over a few hours.  Sadler_Reagan_pic2

AlphaZero was then matched against the strongest chess programme in the world, called Stockfish.   Stockfish has resulted from extensive investment over the last 30 years or so incorporating the best human techniques for playing.  Showing how Artificial Intelligence can enable fantastic outcomes, AlphaZero then triumphed over 1000 games winning 155 and losing only six.   In their book Matthew and Natasha explain the impact of new ideas on playing which have influenced the strongest human players.

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Following the match Matthew and Natasha played a simultaneous against 10 of the Guildford players losing only one game against the whole of the club.  Congratulations to Robert Lydiard on scoring the only win for Guildford.