Computer Beats Human Shogi Player in 6 Hours

Oct 12, 2010
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For those who remember, back in 1997 IBM's advanced computer called Deep Blue managed to defeat Gary Kasparov in a game of western chess. For some, it was the sign of the end times, where computers would take over the world and enslave the human race. And while computers are still able to beat western chess players to this day, it's apparently never been done in a game of shogi, or Japanese chess. That is, until now. It's been reported by The Mainichi Daily News that the top women's shogi player has been officially defeated by the computer Akara 2010.

The Akara 2010 managed to defeat the top women's shogi player, Ichiyo Shimizu, in a matter of six hours, in 86 moves. The match was an event that took place at the University of Tokyo, and according to Japan's national broadcaster NHK, Akara 2010 "aggressively pursued Shimizu from the beginning," ultimately resulting in its success over the human player. This is the first time that a computer has been able to defeat a human player at shogi, which is said to be more complex than the western version.

The Japan Shogi Association is currently analyzing the data of the decisive game. Their goal? To determine whether or not they will allow the Akara 2010 to go up against a male professional shogi player. Shimizu made an interesting comment at the end of the match, saying that "It made no eccentric moves, and from partway through it felt like I was playing against a human." She went on to add that she hopes that computers and humans can become stronger, through friendly competition. We'll have to wait until the second match between Akara 2010 and a human player to find out if it was just a fluke, or if the computer is able to consistently defeat humans in the shogi game.

[via New Scientist]


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