24 June 2018

The Sociology/Psychology/Philosophy of Chess

Next up in the series on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016; last seen a month ago in Sunday Series) is a video titled 'The Psychology of Chess'. One of the comments says,

Interesting insights. I feel it should called 'The Philosophy of Chess' though.

Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy -- take your pick.

The Psychology of Chess (14:16) • 'Published on May 22, 2018'

The description starts,

This video explores the psychology of chess, especially with respect to how chess can offer us valuable life-lessons.

At 1:00 into the clip, a slide says, 'A Road-map of this video':-

1:11 - Finding a worthy opponent
2:38 - Learning to win and lose gracefully
4:25 - The trap of seeking ego-gratification through winning
5:04 - Chess as a spectator-sport
6:13 - Chess as an aesthetic event
6:54 - Discovering one's personal style
8:24 - The sting of defeat and its lessons
9:55 - Hubris Lesson #1: Underestimating your opponent
11:15 - Hubris Lesson #2: Assuming you already understand the position
12:03 - Hubris Lesson #3: Learning to see the big picture
12:47 - Final Lesson: "Love while the night still hides the withering dawn"

At 1:05, another slide says, 'Thinkers, authors and chess-players cited in this video':-

Mikhail Tal (0:22)
Erik Erikson (1:38)
Carlos Castaneda (1:50)
Rudyard Kipling (3:38)
Siegbert Tarrasch (6:30)
Josh Niesse (7:38)
Savielly Tartakower (10:23)
Emmanuel [Emanuel] Lasker (11:30)
Nightwish (13:36)

For more about the speaker in the video, see Eric Dodson, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences, University of West Georgia.

22 June 2018

Analyze Your Own Images

In last week's post, Search Your Own Images, I noted 'First stop: images.google.com', fed it a few images, and finished with a test on a special image:-

After I uploaded the image, Google declared, 'Best guess for this image: donald trump chess', where the first link (from 'About results'!) was 'Does Donald Trump play chess?' (quora.com).

Second stop: How Image Recognition Works (upwork.com). After a brief, concise introduction to the technology behind image recognition, the article mentioned,

A number of APIs have recently been developed that aim to allow organizations to glean insights from images without requiring in-house computer vision or machine learning expertise.

This was followed by a list of three specific services:-

  • Google Cloud Vision
  • IBM Watson Visual Recognition
  • Clarif.ai [NB: clarifai.com?]

That first suggestion led me to Vision API - Image Content Analysis (cloud.google.com/vision), which said,

Google Cloud Vision API enables developers to understand the content of an image by encapsulating powerful machine learning models in an easy to use REST API. It quickly classifies images into thousands of categories (e.g., "sailboat", "lion", "Eiffel Tower"), detects individual objects and faces within images, and finds and reads printed words contained within images.

I fed last week's Donald Trump 3D-chess image to 'Try the API' and it returned the following analysis.

The 'Faces' tab is shown in the image -- 'Joy: Very Likely', 'Confidence 94%'. The next tab, 'Labels', told me:-

96% Indoor Games And Sports
96% Chess
94% Games
94% Board Game
81% Tabletop Game
73% Recreation
71% Chessboard

The next tab, 'Web', included (1) 'Web Entities':-

1.0731 Donald Trump
1.0593 Chess
0.7329 United States
0.7046 Three-dimensional chess
0.6912 Brilliant Chess

And (2) 'Pages with Matched Images' with dozens of links, of which the first two were:-

The 'Document' tab drew a green rectangle around the lowest of the three chessboards, with no further explanation. I suppose this is related to the service that 'reads printed words contained within images'. The 'Properties' tab returned 'Dominant Colors' and 'Crop hints', while the 'Safe search' tab was the most curious:-

Adult: Unlikely
Spoof: Very Unlikely
Medical: Very Unlikely
Violence: Very Unlikely
Racy: Possible

I would say, 'Spoof: Very likely' and I have no idea where 'Racy: Possible' comes from. As for the last tab, 'JSON', this returned a text list to import the image's attributes into another process.

Who knew there was so much information in a single photo? Google knew. Google knows everything.

21 June 2018

Breaking the 2700 Barrier

No, I'm not talking about achieving a 2700 rating. I'm talking about post no.2700 on this blog. That distinction belongs to my previous post, Chess Lions in Leuven, which makes this current post no.2701. Before I achieve a 2700 rating, I first have to reach 2300, but since I stopped playing competitive crossboard chess many years ago, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

How many players in the world are rated 2700? I blew the dust off my collection of historical rating files and counted the players for 2018. While I was doing that, I also counted them on the first international rating list in 1971 and at the start of every decade since then (1980, 1990, etc.), where the lists were all published in January of the respective year. The following chart shows the counts I recorded. For good measure, I added a similar count of 2600 players (which includes >2700).

Left: >2700 players
Right: >2600 players

On the 2700 side, the only player breaking the barrier in 1971 was a certain 'Fischer, Robert James' (USA) at 2760. Second on the list was 'Spassky, Boris V' (URS) at 2690. The two 2700-players in 1980 were 'Karpov,An.' (USR) 2725, and 'Tal' (USR) 2705. In January 2018, there were four players rated 2800+, 40 rated 2700-2799, and 211 rated 2600-2699.

The increase in world class players through the decades has not been linear. There were more 2600 players in 1971 than in 1980, and the largest increase in both rating bands took place in the decade 2000-2010.

A few years ago, in Next Short Draw: 2750 (March 2013), I was critical of GM Wesley So for manipulating his rating to break through 2700 Elo. According to his Rating Progress Chart (ratings.fide.com), he subsequently broke through 2800 in January 2017. A 2800 FIDE rating is an amazing achievement for any player. To break 2800, all I have to do is write another 100 posts.

19 June 2018

Chess Lions in Leuven

The month of June means the end of spring, the beginning of summer, and the Grand Chess Tour in Belgium. According to my report from two years ago, Chess on Belgian News (June 2016), the recent rapid/blitz tournament was the third running of the Belgian leg of the event, formally dubbed 'Your Next Move'.

Photos: Massimo Marchetti (lafamily.eu)

The large posters in the right image were placed outside the elegant Leuven City Hall. The black poster reads,

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) celebrates one of the world's oldest and best-loved games through vibrant, engaging exhibitions and creative programming. A not-for-profit, collecting institution situated in the heart of Saint Louis, Missouri, the WCHOF houses both the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, which honor the accomplishments of the game's finest players and contributors.

The organization presents exhibitions that explore the history of the game, as well as its remarkable impact on arts and culture. These unique shows and programs are designed to appeal to both the chess novice and expert, defying expectations and enhancing knowledge of the game. Along with those of its sister organization, the Saint Louis Chess Club, the WCHOF's activities have distinguished Saint Louis as a national and international chess destination.

Mind. Art. Experience. 4652 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA (314) 367-WCHF (9243) | worldchesshof.org

The white poster reads,

ART of CHESS 2018

Grand Chess Tour: Art of Chess 2018 is the second edition of a traveling exhibition that fulfills the global mission of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) by bringing artwork and artifacts to many of the stops of the Grand Chess Tour. This show includes highlights from the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) as well as loans from Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, Purling London, and the organizers of the events in the Grand Chess Tour. The permanent collection of the WCHOF contains trophies, photographs, score sheets, periodicals, chess sets, and other artifacts related to significant players and events from chess history. The exhibition is inspired by the WCHOF's mission and its 2018 shows.

Among the highlights of this exhibition is an exquisite Hungarian chess set adorned with pearls, amethyst, and jade. Also on view is an enlarged version of the 2013 Sinquefield Cup chess set, created by Frank Camaratta as a gift for the founders of the Saint Louis Chess Club, Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. These are supplemented by photography from last year's Grand Chess Tour and the trophies for several of the competitions, spotlighting the historic nature of these events.

Images from left to right: [top of the poster] Magnus Carlsen Winner of the 2017 Grand Chess Tour, 2017, Photo by Lennart Ootes; • Sinquefield Cup Imperial Chessmen, 2018, Photo by Michael DeFilippo; • Fabiano Caruana After Winning the 2018 Candidates Tournament, Photo by Nick Dunaevsky, March 28, 2018. • Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, (c) Nick Dunaevsky, official photographer of World Chess.

Wesley So won this year's Leuven YNM event. Details can be found on 2018 Your Next Move (grandchesstour.org).

18 June 2018

Where's Leela?

Where was I on the Leela series? My previous post, The Lineage of Leela (11 June 2018), was a filler. I spent my time on that post browsing the Leela forum, trying to understand more about the Leela technology. In the post before that, Understanding Leela (04 June 2018), I promised,

There are also many technical threads that discuss different configurations for the Leela client or that delve into the structure of the network(s). Let's look at those another time.'

The top of the main project page, LCZero, currently has an undated message that says,

Net has been replaced with a new bootstrap net with 50 move rule normalization and learnable batch normalization beta bias. It will likely be weaker to start but will hopefully grow stronger quickly.

What does that mean? Maybe I'd better retrace my steps, because it looks like I missed something. I'll start by looking at the links on LCZero's left sidebar (in order).

*** Getting Started: This goes to

Home · glinscott/leela-chess Wiki · GitHub

That page says, 'A.O. edited this page 11 days ago · 26 revisions; Moved to https://github.com/LeelaChessZero/lc0/wiki'

Welcome to the Leela Chess Zero wiki!

That page looks like the instructions I followed for Installing Leela (21 May 2018), so at least I'm on familiar ground.

*** Forum: This also looks familiar. The link goes to:-

LCZero - Google Groups

The top of that page says, 'This forum is for all the discussion about LCZero - https://github.com/glinscott/leela-chess'. That github.com page says,

GitHub - glinscott/leela-chess: **MOVED TO https://github.com/LeelaChessZero/leela-chess ** A chess adaption of GCP's Leela Zero

Following that link leads to:-

GitHub - LeelaChessZero/lczero: A chess adaption of GCP's Leela Zero

Note that the 'leela-chess' has redirected to 'lczero'. The main github.com page is:-

LCZero · GitHub

*** Github: This leads to the same page that I just looked at: github.com/LeelaChessZero/.

*** Networks: After more internal links -- 'Matches', 'Active Users', etc. -- there is another external link...

*** LCZero Chat: Here under #dev-log, I found the same message that is on LCZero's main page: 'Net has been replaced with a new bootstrap net [...]'. Signed, Chad - 10/06/2018.

Where's Leela? The main Github page has moved, but the rest remains as before. The chat looks to be a preliminary source of technical discussion to the forum.

17 June 2018

Impossible Backgrounds

Starting with last month's post, The Chess Waste Land, I moved the Featured Flickr Photo series from a fortnightly to a monthly schedule. This gave me plenty of images on my short list from which to choose. I chose the following.

The world of chess © Flickr user jaci XIII under Creative Commons.

The description for this image mentioned,

After: Rafal Olbinski. Chess photo is wallpaper.

Out of curiosity, I fed the image to the images.google.com service I discussed in Search Your Own Images. It told me, 'Best guess for this image: 3d chess'. One of the links for the image went to 4 Games Like 3D Chess for Linux (topbestalternatives.com), where there is a well known image of chess pieces on a sphere similar to the featured photo above.

In fact, further inspection of the two images convinced me that they were essentially the same. The other image is red instead of blue, but the same pieces are all on the same squares of the sphere. That must be the wallpaper mentioned in the description. Feeding the red image into images.google.com told me 'Best guess for this image: impossible backgrounds'. Can't argue with that.

15 June 2018

Search Your Own Images

In last week's post, An NN for Chess Images?, I used a photo from my archive and wondered,

Could a network recognize that this is not a photo? Or (without being told) that it shows dogs. My first step should probably be to make some sort of survey of what software and services are available.

First stop: images.google.com. This simple tool allows search on an image via a number of input paths. The most straightforward are:-

  • Copy and paste the URL for an image, and
  • Upload an image.

Both of these are accessed by clicking the camera icon in the search box on images.google.com. I fed it the link for the painting/photo used in 'NN for Chess Images', and it gave me three results. Two of these ('Best guess for this image') were pages about Dalmatian dogs (well done, Google!) and the third was a link to the home page for this blog, where the original post is still displayed because it is among the most recent.

The results also included a dozen thumbnails for 'Visually similar images'. None of the thumbnails showed a Dalmatian, but all of them had the same sort of pink background shown in my original photo. (Remember Chess in the Pink, April 2018?) Unfortunately, I can't give a link to the Google results, because it is based on some sort of encryption technique that probably includes details about its origin (i.e. me).

After that little experiment, I fed Google image search the link to the image used in 'Mystery Painting' on eBay (June 2017). This is a painting that pops up occasionally in different places, but where I have been unable to determine its origin. This time the Google results could find nothing more interesting about the image than that it showed a 'picture frame'. Under 'Visually similar images', the dozen thumbnails displayed different paintings in picture frames.

Given a similar image used in my original Mystery Painting (December 2007), Google determined that it showed 'edelen middeleeuwen', which another Google service translates from Dutch to 'nobles middle ages', which I translate to 'nobles from the Middle Age'. Along with a couple of links to Dutch-language pages, the thumbnails showed one more copy of my original image.

The Google image search clearly has limitations on its usefulness. As a final test I used an image which has been sitting in my 'Junk' directory for over a year, not because the image is junk, but because I didn't know what to do with it.

After I uploaded the image, Google declared, 'Best guess for this image: donald trump chess', where the first link (from 'About results'!) was Does Donald Trump play chess? (quora.com). About half of the thumbnails were variations on my uploaded image; the other half were people playing chess, including two showing Garry Kasparov. The Trump image is obviously photoshopped, where a Star Trek 3D chess set has been pasted over whatever Trump was holding in his hands.

According to a database I constructed, my collection of images (mostly) from eBay has about 20.000 examples. Since uploading a small percentage of these one-by-one would be an exercise in tedium, I'll have to find a better solution.