Robot Has No Heart

Xavier Shay blogs here

A robot that does not have a heart


Rather than actually doing any of the work I was supposed to do tonight, I started teaching myself how to play “Go”. This game is all very zen and is one of the few that computers haven’t been able to master (top level programs can’t even beat amateurs…). It appeals to me more than chess (which I actually quite like) – maybe because it’s new and exciting.

It is also a really good way to make you feel really stupid. There is a go proverb (one of many): “Lose your first 50 games as fast as possible”. So I let gnugo hammer me a few times and already it’s almost midnight. I suspect I have a way to go before I start hitting the internet for a challenge, though I will most likely do so soon in search of guidance.

Learning Chess

Tonight’s discovery was chess. If you’re like me you know how the pieces move, even some opening moves. You’ve probably decimated your little sister with a 4 move checkmate – twice in a row – and felt disturbingly proud of yourself. I urge you to read (or at least browse a portion – it’s a full book) the following:

A Field Guide to Chess Tactics

The best part is that there are literally hundreds of small chess problems to illustrate the concepts discussed. If you treat these as challenges to solve before reading the well written solutions and explanations, you’ll find a great number of hours simply disappear.

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