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Magnus Carlsen of Norway is ranked first in the world at chess, but he may face some surprising competition. “My microwave could beat Magnus Carlsen,” says Nigel Short, who used to be ranked third. Absurd? Maybe not. Georgian grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze was expelled from a tournament in Dubai after an opponent complained that he kept running to the same bathroom stall between moves — and officials found an iPhone hidden there with a chess app analyzing his game. When supercomputer Deep Blue defeated grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997, the human accused the machine of having human help, but now Short says smartphone chess apps are good enough that “My dog could win a major tournament using one of these devices. Or my grandmother.” It took computing a decade to get from Deep Blue’s triumph to the iPhone’s debut; in 2007, perhaps coincidentally, Nigalidze began his rise in chess. (AC/Washington Post) ...Computers may be better at chess, but who wants to root for an algorithm?
Original Publication Date: 19 April 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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