A few months after demonstrating its dominance over the game of Go, DeepMind’s AlphaZero AI has trounced the world’s top-ranked chess engine—and it did so without any prior knowledge of the game and after just four hours of self-training.
Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's weekly roundup of all the awesome new toys rapidly sucking the money out of our wallets this week. We’ve got a Thor: Ragnarok figure worthy of Cate Blanchett’s glory, an extravagant as hell Frozen sleigh, a tricked-out Batmobile, and a very fancy phaser. Take a look!
Anyone who tells you Twitter is social media’s closest approximation to hell on Earth is utterly, unimpeachably correct. This is, after all, the company that decided to deal with its role in a rising tide of digital fascism by verifying a white supremacist, and doubling the amount of space anyone can use to shout…
A popular chess problem known as the Queen’s Puzzle has captivated mathematicians and computer scientists for years, yet no one has been able to write a computer program that can solve the conundrum quickly and efficiently. Researchers from the UK now claim that computers will never be up to the task—and they’re…
Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's regular round up of the coolest toys we’ve seen all week. Although shiny San Diego Comic-Con exclusives might have already taken up most of this week’s toy news, there’s still a few more ways the world of action figures can drain your wallet.
The World Chess Championship is being held in Manhattan this month, and defending champion Magnus Carlsen has been playing challenger Sergey Karjakin since Nov. 11. The Norwegian and the Russian danced their way to seven straight draws to open the match, which is the longest such streak to begin a championship match…
For those who don’t live under a monarchy, memorizing the ranks of queens, kings, bishops, and other pieces makes learning chess that much harder. But swap out royalty and peasants with buildings from famous cities, and all you really need to know is that taller is better.
It’s tough to beat the chess hustlers in New York City’s parks—unless you’re the best chess player in the world.
Mastering the game of chess is infinitely complicated, but getting started just got easier with a chess board that’s perfectly set up and ready to go as soon as you open the box. That’s the genius of Preset Chess.
Since the early 19th century, many chess grandmasters have come and gone, some better than others. This elegant data visualization by Abacaba shows which players were the very best, and how long they were able to maintain their dominance.
Humans have been designing portable versions of chess for almost as long as the game itself has been played. But few designs are as elegant, or as compact, as this set from Raw Studio that rolls into a tube—complete with 32 chess pieces—that’s just 16-inches long.
There are just 32 pieces on a chessboard, but the number of patterns in which those pieces can move in the course of an individual game are astronomical. Still, as these maps show, despite all those different possibilities, each piece has a pretty clear pattern behind it.
The rules of chess have remained consistent since the early 19th Century, but that doesn’t mean our approach to the game has stayed the same. Here are some intriguing and surprising ways the Game of Kings has changed its shape over the past 150 years.
Everyone just assumed that the Marvel Comics vs. DC Comics debate would rage on forever—or at least until mankind became extinct. But Eaglemoss has finally come up with a way to figure out which company is better, Marvel or DC, with custom chess pieces featuring the most popular comic book characters from each side of…
There's nothing more devastating to your morale than losing your queen while playing a game of chess. She's like Mario after he's found himself one of those invincible stars—except she can still be wiped out by a pawn. But here's an interesting take on the classic game that sees every piece replaced with nothing but…
Nineteen years ago today, IBM's Deep Blue computer made history by defeating reigning world chess champ Garry Kasparov.
In this age of digital bloat, you might be surprised to hear that making a game as small as possible is an attractive challenge. But this tiny implementation of chess is just that—and takes up just 487 bytes on your hard drive.
Nobody wants to be "used as a pawn." But, in truth, pawns have a better chance of survial than knights and queens. Based on data from more than two million master-level tournament games, this chart shows the chances for each chess piece to remain standing until the bitter end.
The perfect is the enemy of the good. We know that phrase very well. What the Einstellung Effect proves is the good can be a real enemy of the even better. When we have a solution that's good, we can't begin to think about a better one.