A little more than a year after AlphaGo sensationally won against
the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program AlphaZero
has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine.
Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation
tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017
Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, didn’t stand a chance.
AlphaZero won the closed-door, 100-game match with 28 wins, 72
draws, and zero losses.
Oh, and it took AlphaZero only four hours to “learn” chess. Sorry
humans, you had a good run.
That’s right — the programmers of AlphaZero, housed within the
DeepMind division of Google, had it use a type of “machine
learning,” specifically reinforcement learning. Put more plainly,
AlphaZero was not “taught” the game in the traditional sense. That
means no opening book, no endgame tables, and apparently no
complicated algorithms dissecting minute differences between
center pawns and side pawns.