27 December 2018

Old December Yahoos

Last year, in December Yahoos (December 2017), we had a record number of chess news stories picked up by the mainstream press and redistributed via the Yahoo news service:-

  • 2017-12-06: Google's AlphaGo AI can teach itself to master games like chess (yahoo.com; Engadget)

  • 2017-12-20: People Think The New World Chess Championship Logo Is 'Pawnographic' (yahoo.com; HuffPost)

  • 2017-12-24: Chess federation says Israel excluded from Saudi-hosted match (yahoo.com; Reuters)

This year, December 2018, we have zilch. The last time this happened, in A Year of Yahoos! (September 2018; 'there were no Yahoos for the month'), I fell back on Google News for an end-of-month news roundup. I repeated the exercise for December and found echoes of all three stories from a year ago:-

  • 2018-12-26: One Giant Step for a Chess-Playing Machine (nytimes.com); 'The stunning success of AlphaZero, a deep-learning algorithm, heralds a new age of insight — one that, for humans, may not last long.'

  • 2018-12-11: The Sharp Game (theringer.com); 'The unpredictable champion Magnus Carlsen and a YouTube-trained, Twitch-streaming generation of young fans has revived one of our oldest games. Is the next great chess boom here?'

  • 2018-12-26: Saudi loss is Russian gain under ex-Kremlin chess boss (theguardian.com); 'The last-minute deal to move the 2018 King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship capped a year of growing international pressure on Riyadh. Long before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the country was condemned in chess circles for denying visas to Israeli players in 2017.'

One other story caught my attention, because it is a rare, in-depth look at a world class player by the mainstream press:-

With that human interest piece, let's close the 2018 Yahoo series. What will the 2019 Yahoos bring?

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