By now, you’ve probably heard of AlphaZero, Google’s incredible chess project. Last year, it took the chess world by storm.

Using ‘artificial intelligence’  – at least that’s what the news articles claimed – AlphaZero taught itself chess in less than a day and then demolished the world’s strongest chess engine in a 100-game match. The engines match happened to occur during the London Chess Classic last year, so we got to hear the first reactions of the world’s elite.

They were impressed. Some of them were mighty desperate to get their hands on the technology (perhaps without realising that it involved a computer setup the size of a small house).

Alas, it seemed Google’s megamonster was out of reach for the average chess pundit. Until now.

Recently, an ambitious project called LeelaChessZero was started. It involves the same general idea of AlphaZero, in that the computer plays millions and millions of games against itself in order to learn (without any direct human guidance). Read more from…

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