EDITORIAL

Chess, a Drosophila of reasoning

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1087
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw2221

Summary

The recent world chess championship saw Magnus Carlsen defend his title against Fabiano Caruana. But it was not a contest between the two strongest chess players on the planet, only the strongest humans. Soon after I lost my rematch against IBM's Deep Blue in 1997, the short window of human-machine chess competition slammed shut forever. Unlike humans, machines keep getting faster, and today a smartphone chess app can be stronger than Deep Blue. But as we see with the AlphaZero system (see pages 1118 and 1140), machine dominance has not ended the historical role of chess as a laboratory of cognition.