A computer vision system helps the robot recognize an object’s shape, size, color and orientation. ITRI’s computer vision robot serves coffee to its opponent during a game of chess at CES in Las Vegas on January 5, 2017. The robot uses a computer vision system as well as deep-learning features to gently handle the chess pieces and react to the moves of its human opponent.

Player and robot communicate via a tablet, with the robot frequently asking for time to think before it decides on a move. The robot’s movements aren’t perfect (it failed to set down a chess piece when the chessboard was slanted), but it still does really well with gripping and precise movements. During the short time I was at the booth, the robot defeated its human opponent twice.

But the robot has a softer side, too: It served its opponent coffee as a demonstration of its vision system and dexterity. Though it was a bit slow, the robot smoothly filled the coffee cup on the table without spilling a drop.

ITRI says it envisions the technology being used in assembly lines as well as in hospitals to care for the elderly.

Robots that learn from experience and smart, autonomous drones are quickly moving from science fiction to reality and are on display at CES in Las Vegas. The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), based out of Taiwan, is showcasing these two technologies that could one day help robots take over the world.

The first is ITRI’s Intelligent Vision System, which allows robots to interpret the visual world, act on visual information, and learn from experience. That’s right, learn.

Many robots are programmed to perform a task repeatedly at a specific time and location. In other words, they don’t learn— they just do. The Intelligent Vision System allows the robots to adapt to their conditions.

sources: pcworld, foxnews

Aug 12, 2016

Chess is not an Olympic sport but it should be

True, chess is not an Olympic sport. But it should be. In 1984, when challenger Garry Kasparov forced that championship match into 17 draws in a row — each about five hours of unbearable, unrelenting concentration — world champion Anatoly Karpov was so physically and mentally drained (he lost 22 pounds) that the Kremlin pressured the World Chess Federation to stop the match, thereby saving Soviet-favorite Karpov from forfeiting the title to the brash, free-thinking Kasparov.

My first tournament — the 2002 Atlantic Open, a weekend of all-day pressure so intense that I left in a near-catatonic Karpovian state — also was my last. I have stuck to casual five-minute “blitz” chess ever since. My winnings — a $150 check that remains framed and forever uncashed — hang as a reminder never to do that again.

And while chess’ governing body cannot match the International Olympic Committee for corruption, the World Chess Federation more than makes up for that in weirdness. Its president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, former president of Russia’s republic of Kalmykia, is not only a reliable Moscow toady (sanctioned by the Treasury Department in November 2015) but a nutcase who insists he’s been abducted by aliens. They wore yellow suits.

So why am I so excited about the upcoming match in New York? Who goes to a chess game anyway?

I do. Twice in the early 1990s when the championship also was played in New York (the 1995 match on the observation deck of the World Trade Center). I drove from Washington both times with a couple of friends, to the consternation of the rest of our acquaintances, who thought we were certifiable.

They didn’t understand that we don’t actually sit and watch the game. Instead, we go to the grandmaster room where the greatest chess minds in the world crowd around a few drop-down demonstration boards, trading furious in-game commentary on the boneheadedness of the latest move and the cosmic brilliance of their own proposed nine-move counterattack.

My friends and I were barely hanging on trying to follow the dazzling riffs flung about by the immortals around us. Not to denigrate the elegance of the balance beam or the beauty of the pole vault, but that experience was (as we used to say when the world was young) mind-blowing.

Twenty-one years is a long time to wait to have your mind blown again. But there’s a more mundane reason for making the trip this time: a compelling storyline with a touch of the Cold War tension that made the 1972 Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky match such an international sensation.

The reigning world champion is Magnus Carlsen, a 25-year-old Norwegian who, unlike Fischer, is quite normal. He sports a winning personality and such good looks that he does commercials for a European clothing line.

His challenger is the classic Russian heavy, Sergey Karjakin, who (reports The New York Times) is a fan of Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Crimea and who knocked off two brilliant Americans to get to the title fight.

Not exactly U.S.-USSR 1972. But Norway-Russia 2016 does have its charms, given Putin’s threats and intrusions into the Baltics and Scandinavia. Go Oslo!

I do concede that since Fischer-Spassky, chess has lost much of its mystique. The fall can be dated to May 11, 1997, when IBM’s Deep Blue beat Kasparov, widely considered the greatest human ever to play the game.

Today we don’t even bother with the man-machine contest. No human can beat the best software. The ultimate world series is between computer programs. And machines don’t sweat.

Or strive, suffer or exult. Humans do. So I’ll join the fun and cheer the Olympians. It’ll help pass the time until the main event Nov. 11.

On the featured picture: Anatoly Karpov, left, defending world chess champion, and challenger Garry Kasparov, both of the Soviet Union, compete in September 1984 in the World Chess finals in Moscow


Dec 23, 2017

Nutcracker Generation Tournament in Moscow 2017

A traditional Christmas event – Nutcracker Generation Tournament – will be held on December 18-24 at the Central Chess Club in Moscow. Like a year ago, there will be two Scheveningen matches: Kings vs. Princes and Queens vs. Princesses.

The line-up of the Kings: Challenger for the World Chess Championship 2012 Boris Gelfand (Israel), World №4 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), winner of the final Candidates Match 1999 Alexei Shirov (Latvia), and Russian Champion 2005, head coach of the Russia women’s national chess team Sergei Rublevsky (Russia).

The team of Princes will be represented by the leading young Russian players: winner of the Russian Championship Higher League 2016 Grigoriy Oparin, Russian blitz champion Vladislav Artemiev, the youngest grandmaster of Russia Andrey Esipenko, and winner and prize-winner of many international tournaments Daniil Yuffa.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will go into 2018 with a new lifetime best official rating of 2804 after starring as the Kings beat the Princes in the classical section of the Nutcracker Battle of the Generations. The world no. 3 scored three wins and was close to four, but the Kings were prevented from sealing the match by Sergei Rublevsky losing to Andrey Esipenko, Grigoriy Oparin and Vladislav Artemiev. Eight rounds of rapid chess will now decide the match.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has looked out of place so far – a chess destroyer at the top of his game rather than a veteran ready to give the youngsters a subtle lesson or two in positional chess. We already saw how he beat Grigoriy Oparin in Round 1 of the Nutcracker tournament in Moscow, and he continued in the same vein.

15-year-old Andrey Esipenko showed the fearlessness of youth when he sacrificed a pawn to try and attack Mamedyarov, but he was swiftly punished until it was just a question of how the Azeri no. 1 would conduct the execution.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24  
  • Mamedyarov back over 2800 as Nutcracker begins
Jun 25, 2021

Goldmoney Asian Rapid

World Champion Magnus Carlsen starts his Goldmoney Asian Rapid campaign this Saturday, June 26th with clashes against 18-year-old Alireza Firouzja, women’s no. 1 Hou Yifan and Paris Rapid & Blitz winner Wesley So. Other Day 1 pairings for the 7th event on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour include Indian maverick Adhiban taking on all three of his Indian colleagues — 15-year-old Gukesh, 17-year-old Erigaisi and finally Vidit. There’s a novelty in the commentary teams, with Danny King stepping in for Peter Leko as Tania Sachdev’s partner.

The Goldmoney Asian Rapid starts at 13:00 CEST on Saturday June 26th with the by now familiar cut-throat 3-day preliminary stage, where all the participants play each other once and the bottom 8 are eliminated before the knockout begins.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is back in action after skipping the Grand Chess Tour events, and he faces some of his most interesting opponents in the very first of Saturday’s five rounds.

It’ll be curious to see if 18-year-old Alireza Firouzja can carry over his form from the blitz section in Paris (10 wins in 18 games) or the rapid (0 wins in 9 games), but if he shows the same fighting spirit as on any day in Paris it should be exciting to watch.

Women’s no. 1 Hou Yifan is the first woman to play on the full Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and will be facing a tough challenge, especially as the 27-year-old 4-time Women’s World Chess Champion is at least semi-retired. She has a lot of experience playing the world’s best, however, and even if her five games with Black, five losses to Carlsen doesn’t inspire confidence, she’s unlikely to be overawed by the experience.


See also:

  • Champions Chess Tour website
  • All the Goldmoney Asian Rapid games with computer analysis: Prelims, Knockout
  • Hou Yifan joins Magnus Carlsen for Goldmoney Asian Rapid