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Friday, March 18, 2005

Microcosmic

I was reading "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" by George Kennan (1947), and it appears that the type of strategy that would have been effective against the Soviets would be a 'playing against God' strategy. This is the type of strategy employed by chess virtuoso Bobby Fischer. Basically, in this strategy, the assumption is that the opponent (USSR) will always make the best possible move. Under that assumption, the tactician has to make a move that takes that into account, leaving no openings. This is in contrast to the 'know thy enemy' strategy, which is used by another grandmaster, Garry Kasparov. In this type of strategy, you try to understand the weaknesses in your opponent's thinking and exploit those. Faced with an identical tactical situation, the 'know thy enemy' strategy will probably be riskier but potentially more successful than the 'God' strategy.

I thought it was odd that Fischer was an American, using the ideal US strategy, while Kasparov was a Soviet, using the Soviet strategy.

Fischer is now being held by Japan, after a bizarre 30 year sequence of events.
"Throughout the interview, Fischer used words not fit for print while describing the American and Japanese governments." - Manilla Bulletin Online

Kasparov's biggest news in the last ten years has been his competition against Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer. Kasparov is well known for getting into the minds of his opponents in the 'know thy enemy' strategy, and the last time he accused IBM of having a human assist the computer, claiming he could sense intelligence. I don't have access to a book on AI entitled "Robot" (1999) right now, but what I got from it was that the computing ability of Deep Blue is totally focused on chess; the human brain can concentrate somwhere around 3% of its power on chess, though that figure is imprecise. Because of this, Deep Blue brings to bear roughly as much computing power as the human brain. I haven't read the book in 4 or 5 years, though.

This is The ManiaC, signing out. Courage.

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