Computer Chess

Synopsis: Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, Computer Chess transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Andrew Bujalski
Production: Kino Lorber
  2 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min


Hi, I'm Robert Lawrence with the

Advantage Corporation in San Diego,

and we have a Colby 5 here,

which is highly optimized

for playing chess.

And we have designed it around

a recursive assembler routine

that uses a brute strength approach

to finding the optimal route.

I don't want to give away exact numbers,

but we've got the fastest depth-first

search to get the most number...

We can predict more turns in advance

than any other computer,

so we've got a good chance.

My field is experimental psychology,

but I've spent the last three years

studying chess skill

in both humans and machines.

And this is TSAR.

This is the latest iteration of Caltech's

computer chess programme.

This is 3.0. Last year, 2.0 won

this very same tournament.

Computers are getting smaller,

they're getting better, they're getting faster.

It's a matter of time before

we beat people with these things.

(Interviewer) Do you guys have a programme

in the competition here today?

No. Don't know anything about it.

We're just watching 'em get ready

for the end of the world here.

- World War Ill.

- That's what we're here for.

Getting in on the ground floor.

(Interviewer) Do you think a human being

will ever beat a person at chess?

Oh... Between a "human being"

and a "person"?

My money's on the computer.

(Interviewer) Er, I mean a computer...

If you ask Captain Apocalypse there...

Have you talked to this guy?

I feel like I'm writing intercontinental

ballistic missile routines here!

I just wanna win at chess.


"Nothing But Changes")

JWhat can I say,

there is nothing but changes

J' Nothing but changes

JWhat can I say,

there is nothing but changes

J' Nothing but changes

JYou and I stay

the same anyway

J' Does it really take time

to be free of your mind? J'

(Man) Hey! Hey!

Do not ever shoot at the sun,

you're gonna burn out the tube!

- I wasn't shooting at the sun, it's fine.

- You're shooting at the sun!

You're gonna shoot the rest

of the weekend inside.

We want to be only inside.

That's it!

But computer chess goes back

even further,

to the mechanical Turk, 1770,

the original chess-playing machine.

It played against and defeated

Benjamin Franklin

and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Well, he had a secret.

There was a human being

inside the machine.

Though the first was a fraud,

we're working to get back

to that level of chess play

when machine beats man.

I greet you for our annual North

American Computer Chess Tournament

and present you with a panel

of the best and the brightest.

From my left, there is Les Carbray

from Allied Laboratories.

Hi there.

Martin Beuscher,

sitting in for Tom Schoesser.

And that's last year's winner,

TSAR 2.0 from Caltech.

Roland McVey from MIT,

the programmers of STASIA.

And finally Mike Papageorge,

who is an independent programmer.

Is there a computer programme

in the house

which can stand up

to a human chess master?

That's me!

When will a machine beat me?

Many years ago

I made a public wager

that no computer would beat me

until the year 1984,

and that date is quickly coming up.

So what do you think, gentlemen?

Will I win my bet?

I... I think you're cutting it close,

but I think you will win that bet.

Erm... If I was in your shoes,

I wouldn't extend it any.

I think within two years of that, 1986,

you won't stand a chance,

and I think that,

say another ten years after that,

there isn't a man or woman alive

who will stand a chance.

Well, there may be some disagreement,

but look at the speed with which

the technology, the software,

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Andrew Bujalski

Andrew Bujalski (born April 29, 1977 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American film director, screenwriter and actor, who has been called the "Godfather of Mumblecore." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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