Why AI Chess Bots Are Virtually Unbeatable (ft. GothamChess) | WIRED

“I got checkmated in 34 moves.” Levy Rozman a.k.a. GothamChess plays chess against Stockfish 16, the strongest chess computer in the world, and analyzes the way it thinks in order to apply it to his own gameplay. With help from computer chess software engineer Gary Linscott, these chess pros identify why Stockfish is virtually unbeatable by a human, from opening move to endgame.

Watch more GothamChess here:

The charts depicting minimax with alpha-beta pruning was created by Wikipedia user Maschelos and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Director: Lisandro Perez-Rey
Director of Photography: Francis Bernal
Editor: Paul Isakson
Talent: Gary Linscott; Levy Rozman
Line Producer: Joseph Buscemi
Associate Producer: Paul Gulyas; Brandon White
Production Manager: D. Eric Martinez
Production Coordinator: Fernando Davila
Camera Operator: Brittany Berger
Gaffer: Mar Alfonso
Sound Mixer: Michael Guggino
Production Assistant: Albie Smith
Post Production Supervisor: Alexa Deutsch
Post Production Coordinator: Ian Bryant
Supervising Editor: Doug Larsen
Assistant Editor: Andy Morell

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275 Comments

  1. A quick scan of the comments suggests that no one has mentioned the two things you need to win….beads and a wireless connection!

  2. When you compare Stockfish on apples to apples basis with human brain it looses miserably. Average human brain uses around 100Wh of energy per hour. The thinking process behind chess move is a tiny fraction of that. Give Stockfish the same amount of energy to process a move and it won't even get pass initial chess position matrix.

    Our brains are vastly superior to sillicon based computers.

  3. With limited number of rules, AI will always win human. Human is developed to adapt in infinite set of rules by ability to focus on what is important.

  4. For some reason the thumbnail looked like a breaking bad something 😂😂😂😂

  5. I got through 95% of the video and then Levy's shirt registered. For some reason I saw it as a smoking jacket. Give him a black pipe and… other stereotypical elements, and I think he could sell it.

  6. Competing against stockfish is like attempting to outrun an F1 on a circuit.

  7. Ok what about game play with stock fish 16?

  8. Whats the point of humans playing chess anymore and why do people watch it? Its a solved game obviously.

  9. Ok, one more question. Sometimes, stockfish will promote into a rook or bishop instead of queen. Why? Does it do it just to flex on us or what?

  10. Stockfish is cheating, he looks at the database to make his moves, and we can't

  11. It would be interesting to see a total beginner play for half a game against a professional then hand over to stockfish midway through

  12. Review your subtitles. 3:39 says "ponds" when it's obviously "pawns"

  13. 8:39 well, the bishop is trapped too in a sense, since it cannot move otherwise it will free the horse. So if you want to trap his bishop this is a good idea.

  14. Sup mate.. I’m apparently your doppelgänger, I also play chess 😂

  15. Wouldn't Stockfishes ELO just be infinite if it never loses a game anf could play an increadible number of games … it would shorley bet very slow at increasing it's ELO as it got better (with everone so far behind) But would that happen alrady at 3500?

  16. I have a question so if Magnus carlsen had like 3years time for a Chess Match with stockfish where he could think and write down every turn would he have a Chance then?

  17. Fun fact:
    While the Alpha-Beta pruning technique is effective 99% of the time, there are very few cases where the best move in a position looks so unbelievably absurd that even stockfish can't solve it. That happens because the move looks so stupid that the pruning algorithm immediately discards it without further evaluation. This allowed humans to make complex chess puzzles that even chess engines couldn't solve. A famous example of such a position is this composed puzzle:

    n1QBq1k1/5p1p/5KP1/p7/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 1
    *SPOILERS IF YOU WANT TO SOLVE THE PUZZLE FOR YOURSELF*

    At first, stockfish evaluate the position as dead equal, but if you play the move Bc7!!, stockfish immediately finds the mate in 11 moves. The reason it wasn't initially able to find such a win checkmate was because the move Bc7 looked so absurd that the Alpha-Beta pruning immediately discarded it

  18. Honestly, I think the software engineer is wayyyyy overestimating the QUALITY of Stockfish's ability to sort out bad moves. Yes, it has gotten wayyyyy better over the years, and may even be comparable to an experienced, but very average amateur. I compensates with brute force, which is where it utterly dominates humans.
    This is the truth of AI, they are FAR inferior to humans at deductive ability. Compared to AI, humans make deductions with like 1MB of data relevant to the subject, which is absolutely useless to an AI.

  19. Worth noting that the 35 move checkmate would be Magnus playing PERFECTLY against a PERFECT attack, but that also meant there were OTHER checkmates in less moves if Magnus played any less than perfect. Crazy.

  20. how do the bots reel back their skill level when they're set to something like 1500 ELO? They intentionally ignore best moves? Think fewer moves ahead? How does it actually compare with a human that's also rank 1500?

  21. What if Stockfish played Stockfish? Would it come down to something like "whoever plays first wins the game" or "every game is a draw" or …

  22. I used to live eat and breath chess when I was a teenager in the 90s but if I'm being honest it's computer chess that made me stop enjoying it, and it was the only way I could play games when I was deployed in Iraq because everyone else around me was way too cool for that according to them lol.

    But despite being a person who almost never lost for years against everything my school could throw at me, it was just basic PC chess games I started to play when I was left without a human opponent that basically crushed my dreams. I could just never beat them at the hardest settings and I kind of got overwhelmed with sadness about it. The machine could beat me at a game, what good am I in the face of that machine?

    Ironically I'm a big supporter of AI today lol.

  23. The only way to win is not play the game 😉

  24. The only thing I disagree with here is that stock fish doesn’t have emotions. In many cases it’s shown humor, mercilessness and well, enjoyment of torturing its opponent. It’s fascinating.

  25. Wow thank you for this video. This clears it up a lot

  26. I feel like the answer to almost every question was the same. It analyzes the moves and then picks the best one.

  27. So, it's essentially, Dr. Strange.

  28. when I was taking my CS degree I initially thought of going into AI as my major, gave up on that when I couldn't accurately do alpha-beta pruning on a simpler tree (couldn't really wrap my head around some other principles too) and now I'm a just a contentful SWE

  29. Yo Levy is too funny what a guy great vid!

  30. Chess Prodigy: "Lemme try this move that should catch it off guard"

    Stockfish: "I've looked at all 11,222,884,123 possibilities and will now lead you down a path where your loss is inevitable"

  31. This is all very impressive, but I really wish computers had never been applied to chess.

    I wish it were more commonly known that the math determining Elo has been changed multiple times. People are mislead a lot due to it – for example, If the math used was the same it was since Elo's introduction, Kasparov would've never beaten Fischer's record, for example, and assuming Carlsen would've legit beaten Bobby's record, it would've been a far bigger deal. It's a shame, as it'd be a lot easier to compare players historically if they hadn't done that.

    I have no idea why they did it, probably so it'd be easier to hype their champions, I suppose.

  32. Can Stockfish play against Stockfish itself?

  33. If I was at a party I would find Levi's company undesirable.

  34. It's really cool how every move has been solved when only 7 pieces remain, and that it's only 10-20TB.

  35. Thanks again, Wired. More collabs in 2024? 👀

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