21 June 2023

2023 World Championship Side Events

For this current post let's have more of More Photos from Ding - Nepo (June 2023). See that post for links and a brief explanation.

Courtesy of FIDE / Photographers listed below

Photos for 'Side events', starting upper left:-

UL: 'Future World Champions - tournament for kids. 10 April, 2023' • Photo by Anna Shtourman
UR: 'Arbiter Workshop with IA Nebojsa Baralic. 11 April, 2023' • Photo by Stev Bonhage
LL: 'Dana Reizniece-Ozola gave a lecture titled "How to Win the Game: balancing work and family life'. April 16, 2023' • Photo by David Llada
LR: 'Chess in Education International Conference. 20 April, 2023' • Photo by Anna Shtourman

For more about the events in the bottom row, see:-

For a list of all side events, see Side Events FIDE World Championship 2023, Astana (ditto).

14 June 2023

The Robot Picked White

We're in the fifth week -- or is it the sixth week? -- of a heat wave and my enthusiasm for writing anything that requires thinking is at absolute rock bottom. Let's follow up last week's post, More Photos from Ding - Nepo (June 2023), with ... drumroll ... 'Even More Photos from Ding - Nepo'. You've seen the pictures...

First It Picked Two Pieces; Photos from 'Opening Ceremony'
Courtesy of FIDE / Stev Bonhage

...Now here's the story. From FIDE World Championship Match 2023 officially opened (worldchampionship.fide.com; Milan Dinic), dated 7 April 2023:-

A magician suddenly appeared beside [the players], signalling that the drawing of lots would be nothing short of magical. Ding Liren was particularly intrigued, closely observing the magician's every move. But as it turned out, it was all just a playful and humorous illusion.

Then came the real drawing of lots. Unlike the traditional way of doing this, with the arbiter holding a black and a white pawn in each hand clinched to a fist, this was done with the help of Artificial Intelligence. A robotic pyramid with a chess piece-filled bowl and a robotic arm on top took centre stage.

The AI ceremony had two parts. In the first, one of the players had to name a colour -- black or white -- and if the robotic arm picked up the piece with the same colour, that player moved to the second stage, where the robot then decided if that player would be White or Black in the first round.

As he is currently ranked ahead of Ding Liren on the FIDE rating list, Ian Nepomniachtchi was invited to come forward. Nepomniachtchi curiously walked over and said, "white", and then pressed a button on the computer. Luckily for him, that was the colour the robot chose as well, which meant he moved on to the next stage. Had he guessed it wrong, it would be Ding's turn.

In the next stage, Nepomniachtchi had to press the button again, and the robot was the one to choose the colour of his pieces in game one. While robots may be better than humans in almost everything, in a sign that they're still not perfect (especially when it comes to the fine sensory skills of hand movement), it took the robot three times to successfully navigate the task. The robotic hand mixed pieces in the bowl but did not pick up any pieces on the first try. Then, on the second – it picked up two pieces – black and white! On the final, third try – it picked up one piece. Nepo was again lucky – the colour of the piece was white!

I think we're confusing AI with robotics here, but who cares? It was an original way to decide which player gets which color for the first game of the match.

07 June 2023

More Photos from Ding - Nepo

After last week's post, 2023 Ding Liren - Nepomniachtchi, Wrapup (May 2023), I went back to Chess Photos : 'Courtesy of FIDE' (May 2023), and added other official photos to earlier posts. Here's another photo that caught my eye because of its geopolitical symbolism...

Three Flags; Photo from 'Tiebreak'
Courtesy of FIDE / Stev Bonhage

...Thanks again, FIDE, for making these photos available.