Chess: PC beats human for 1st time

For the first time, a computer has beaten a human at Japanese chess-shogi.

Updated: Oct 13, 2010, 12:04 PM IST

London: For the first time, a computer has beaten a human at Japanese chess-shogi.
It is not unusual as computers have been beating humans at western chess for years but it is a relatively simple game, with only about 10123 possible games existing that can be played out.

Shogi is a bit more complex, offering about 10224 possible games.

According to the Mainichi Daily News the top women``s shogi player Ichiyo Shimizu took part in a match staged at the University of Tokyo, playing against a computer called Akara 2010.

Akara is apparently a Buddhist term meaning 10224 and the system beat Shimizu in six hours, over the course of 86 moves.

Japan``s national broadcaster, NHK, reported that Akara "aggressively pursued Shimizu from the beginning."

It``s the first time a computer has beaten a professional human player.

The Japan Shogi Association, incidentally, seems to have a deep fear of computers beating humans.

In 2005, it introduced a ban on professional members playing computers without permission, and Shimizu``s defeat was the first since a simpler computer system was beaten by a (male) champion, Akira Watanabe, in 2007.

Perhaps the association doesn``t mind so much if a woman is beaten: NHK reports that the JSA will conduct an in-depth analysis of the match before it decides whether to allow the software to challenge a higher-ranking male professional player.

"It made no eccentric moves, and from partway through it felt like I was playing against a human," New Scientist quoted Shimizu as telling the Mainichi Daily News.

"I hope humans and computers will become stronger in the future through friendly competition," she added.