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Chess and Matrices

  1. May 11, 2003 #1
    Just an idle question I suppose...but we all know one can represent a chessboard as an 8 by 8 matrix. Let white be positive and black be negative.

    Pawns are 1's
    Rooks are 2's
    Knights are 3's
    Bishops are 4's
    Queens are 5's
    Kings are 6's
    empty spaces are 0's

    Is there any way to use matrices and their transformations of when you make a move to determine what the next optimal move is based off of the original matrix?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2003 #2
    Barely familiar with a matricies other than what one looks like. Don't know a thing about them. I also don't play Chess. Frankly, I don't like chess. But it seems to a "smart persons" game. So, should I play? I know how, but would have ZERO strategy, I could easily learn with a good "master chess" book.
  4. May 11, 2003 #3
    Greetings. Chess is a very logical game and if you get into it, loads of fun. I never started with a strategy either, but you develop your own.

    My question with matrices relates to whether or not they can be used to reveal an underlying ultimate strategy.
  5. May 11, 2003 #4
    Yeah. Well I tend to stick to things I'm quite good at, and I never thought I'd want to become great at chess. In otherwords, I don't know if I'd ever enjoy unless I was very good and people we're jealous how good I was. I've come lately to find that I should stick to things I truly enjoy, rather than things I just would enjoy being good at. But hey, maybe someday I'll practice on my own with a method book.

    Sorry to blog down your question, heh. I'll repeat it here so it isn't missed further:

    "My question with matrices relates to whether or not they can be used to reveal an underlying ultimate strategy."
  6. May 11, 2003 #5
    Where did you come up with such values? The Standard relative values are;

    1 = Pawn
    3 = Bishop
    3 = Knight
    5 = Rook
    9 = Queen
    With the King = Game

    Though the Bishops and Knights are given an equal value, each has its own advantage, with the Bishop generally being given a slight edge.
  7. May 11, 2003 #6
    these aren't relative values. These are numerical values based off of position.
  8. May 11, 2003 #7
    It's all Greek to me

    I'm curious aobut how these pieces were numbered.
    I must of missed something when the professor went over matrices??
  9. May 11, 2003 #8


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    Gold Member

    Re: Re: Chess and Matrices

    No no no ..He is just assigning arbitrary numbers for each piece..in other words instead of a visual board with pieces you havea 8 by 8 matrix with numbers representing pieces, like so:

    Code (Text):

     2 3 4 6 5 4 3 2
     1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Excuse me if i have the queen/king backwards, i forget..
  10. May 11, 2003 #9
    Re: Re: Re: Chess and Matrices

    Huh, is this how the computers play the game?
  11. May 11, 2003 #10
    2 3 4 6 5 4 3 2
    1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

    is the correct one i believe
  12. May 11, 2003 #11


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    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    It is possible to find matrices that, upon addition, will "move" the digits within the chessboard matrix (a very simple example would be a matrix with a -1 in the position of the white pawn initial position and +1 in its final position). However, these matrices would need to be supplemented with a set of rules (or some other extra structure) that say when they can be applied, and when they are advantageous. These rules would need to use information about strategy and position of all pieces. It seems that the matrices would not help much in optimizing a move.

    AI techniques used for chess deal directly with these "higher-level" rules. Matrices can be used to store the state of the chessboard but, AFAIK, the evaluation of each possible move doesn't use regular matrix transformation on them.
  13. May 20, 2003 #12
    Definitely the state of the board is stored in a matrix. I was under the impression that the computer had a very fast but simple algorithm for playing chess and simply made millions of test moves 4-5 moves into the future and picked the best final outcome of these.
  14. May 22, 2003 #13

    It is generally a bit more sophisticated than that. The computer does make test moves, and then rates the position it is in via a static evaluation. It then sees which move the opponent would make, to give its best position,etc. to predict outcome x number of moves infront.
  15. May 23, 2003 #14
    that doesn't seem that much more sophisticated ;) but that is good to know!
  16. May 23, 2003 #15
    You were seeming to imply that the computer considered all possible sequences of moves. It is more selective in the moves it considers.

    But yes, it is the same idea - to find the best move.
  17. May 24, 2003 #16


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    Gold Member

    You can see the process of generating moves as a tree where, out of each branch, many smaller branches (possible moves) are allowed.

    The process of looking for the best move can be as "dumb" as generating all possible branches, assigning a "grade" to each final outcome and selecting the best of them (which already requires a good deal of thought to define how to assign a single number to each possible board position), but the number of possible moves grows rapidly, so that you can only look ahead a few moves if you do this.

    There are many ways to cut "bad" branches on the go, so that you use your resources on the most promising branches. A lot of expertise has to go into deciding which branches to cut, and which are still promising at each step.
  18. May 24, 2003 #17
    Yes, yes, but what I am wondering is if there is some inherent strategem burried within the game itself, dealing with matrices, that could perhaps lead directly to the optimal solution? I gather nobody knows for sure at the least, but hope that it is not totally out of the question.
  19. May 24, 2003 #18

    If the optimal solution for chess were known, then there would be no room for debate.

    I know the optimal solutions for smaller games such as othello (or reversi) has been found. But certainly not for chess.
  20. Jun 2, 2003 #19
    Generally, computer relying onto weighting branches alone will succeed with playing against layman only. Top players will find it amazingly stupid and boring to conquer. I'm not top player, so I speak only from reading other's comments and opinion I've gathered myself.

    Reason for this is that weighted branches are merely fuzzy constraints to available strategies. To implement strategy needs time, in chess speak, number of moves. Opponent must recognise strategy, and find its own strategy that during its implementation also counteracts or brakes enemies strategy. Most limited resource is 'time', number of moves to achieve the goal. Then there is limited freedom to change strategy based on opponents reactions and state of the board. Who can maintain most freedom of available strategies and at the same time reduce that for opponent, has advantage. That limits number of optimal branches for opponent, or imposes more constraints to its freedom of choise. As at beginning of game there is huge amount of possibilities, such advantage translates into mental overload of constrained opponent, gives advantage in 'chess-time' (opponent desperately needs slightly more moves to change fortuna), and leaves more freedom to 'clean up' small mistakes.

    There is a reason why they maintain huge database of analysed games, both humans and computers. They're for recognition of set of strategies that were successful. Without such database, computer will also be unable to play top chess. They encode strategies, and counter-strategies, that may depart from dumb branch-weighting enormously.
    Discovering new strategy is somewhat like discovering new mathematics, and is what truely puts human above computers so far. It requires intelligence in its highest form. Computers compensate with brute force.

    No, there exists no optimal solution. Every move possibly changes whole state of the board and space of optimal moves. Picking suboptimal move or even branch of moves is far from meaning lost game. Suboptimal move can easily ruin possible strategy space of opponent, forcing him to change strategies in now suboptimal state. Unexpected and illogical moves are usually what puts opponents into deepest think mode. Departure from known ground forces players into 'discovering new chess' mode, thats hard to computers due to lack of abstract thinking, and hard to humans due to huge space of possibilities.

    Sticking with same good strategy after a stupid move can actually be stupid. Moves change applicable strategies, thus chess isn't just search for optimal moves.

    Computers are beaten easily by departing from known chess in clever manner, thus tricks and deception is another level of strategy on its own. Exhaustion by forcing opponent into combinatorial explosion, etc.
  21. Jun 9, 2003 #20


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    Seen your thread on Chess and the matrices.

    http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e11/86/chess.html [Broken]

    I was just curious of the extension of the logic used here in terms of squares dark and light.

    Just a twist.

    This was presented in information the other day, and I thought it quite intriguing. Does it provide futher thinking in the thread presented here. Don't know? Does it matter. Nope

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
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