HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE MIND SPORTS OLYMPIAD!
We hope all is well and you are enjoying the holiday season. We are excited to share that the 2018 Mind Sports Olympiad will take place from August 19 to 27 once again at JW3 in London. The complete program will be announced in early 2018.
AlphaZero Triumphs at Chess and Shogi
DeepMind have triumphed once again. After mastering Go, DeepMind’sAlphaZero program–which learns free of human guidance–has conquered chess and shogi and demonstrated that it is the strongest player in the world at all three games. AlphaZero played a 100 game chess match against Stockfish winning 25 games and drawing 75 games. Apparently, AlphaGo is unbeatable in chess by other programs. Its gameplay has been described as alien in that it plays moves that are unexpected and seems to be less materialistic than other programs. Bishop f1 to g5 on move 21 of the following game examplifiesAlphaZero‘s positional play and willingness to sacrifice material:
It’s interesting to note that in the 50 games that AlphaZero played white against Stockfish, it won 25 games and drew 25, whereas in the 50 games thatAlphaZero played black, it won 3 games and drew 47. This indicates that white has a sizable advantage.
Nigeria Wins Scrabble Championship Again!
The Nigerian Scrabble team has won the World English-language Scrabble Players Association championship for the second time running. Four of the team’s eight players made the top ten, out of 118 competitors. Scrabble has become extremely popular in Nigeria and good players are often hired as civil servants. Good Nigerian players tend to have an encyclopedic knowledge of short words, which they often deploy instead of longer ones in order to block their opponents and conserve useful letters such as S, E and R.