By now you’ve heard about the new kid on the chess-engine block, AlphaZero, and its crushing match win vs Stockfish, the strongest open-source chess engine. The reactions from the chess community to this match ranged from admiration to utter disbelief. 
But how does AlphaZero actually work?

How is it different from other engines and why is it so much better? In this two-part article I’ll try to explain a bit of what goes on under AlphaZero’s hood.

First, let’s reflect on what happened. AlphaZero was developed by DeepMind (a Google-owned company) to specialize in learning how to play two-player, alternate-move games.

It was primed with the rules of chess, and nothing else. It then started learning chess by playing games against itself. Read more from…

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