The Dumb AI of "Really Bad Chess" Will Teach Future Grandmasters | InverseExploreFollowThe Dumb A.I. of "Really Bad Chess" Will Teach Future GrandmastersA provocative iPhone game alienates the world's chess snoots by design.By Dylan Love on November 24, 2016Filed Under A.I., Apps & iPhonesIf you’re bad at chess, you might be great at Really Bad Chess. The — happening this month in the Fulton Market building near the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan is seeing Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin, contemporary kings of the chessboard, duke it out in a multi-game series for the title of 2016 World Chess Champion. In attendance is iOS developer , who weeks ago released a fascinating, provocative spin on the traditional game, which he named .Where Carlsen and Karjakin are applying the highest-level modern thinking to the 1,500-year-old game, Gage lays out a counterintuitive take for your iPhone: In Really Bad Chess, opposing players’ armies are randomly generated, with players receiving different numbers of queens, knights, bishops, rooks, and pawns. Silliness and unfairness are built right into the game’s DNA. Away from the iPhone, it’s the type of game that might be played on a bender after stealing every piece from a children’s chess club.A flyer for Really Bad Chess in New York City.“It’s fun,” says Greg Shahade, founder of the United States Chess League. “Really Bad Chess is an interesting way to keep a game balanced between two players of wildly different skill levels.” Because so much of the “common sense” of conventional chess is absent, the game presents itself as a self-aware, novel variation. Wanting to cater his free app to the single player, Gage even built it with a novel artificial intelligence to match.Computers are the alpha predators of the chessboard today, dominating the game decades ago by virtue of raw processing power. The precedent was publicly established in February 1996, with the high-profile computer victory of IBMs Deep Blue over then-reigning human world champion Garry Kasparov. Really Bad Chess upends this status quo of computer advantage — you stand every chance to beat the computer in this unbalanced, unfair game.Nine knights? Why not?Humans may be better at making qualitative judgments on the chessboard, but computers can crunch so many different positions simultaneously that they’re instantly identifying advantageous positions to come 10-20 moves later. Perhaps it is suitable that the A.I. powering Really Bad Chess’s single player mode is a primitive one that never looks more than five moves deep and “never gets smarter.”SponsoredWHAT'S THE GREENEST ROUTE FROM LA TO NYC??Join Shell for The Great Travel Hack, an energy conscious roadtrip across the country.Watch More »“This is one of the first games I’ve ever made with A.I.,” Gage tells Inverse over the phone from the World Chess Championship. “You’re often playing against variations of an A.I.: easy, medium, or hard. Playing against the A.I. in Really Bad Chess is closer to playing a human in poker. You’re playing the same person over and over with different stakes.”Gage affectionately mocks the software opponent that powers his free iPhone app. His dumb chess A.I. is one that he acquired with the purchase of a $25 bundle of assets for , a software development environment; it is a variation on , the gold standard in open source chess intelligence. Stockfish dominates today’s conversations about chess engines alongside names like and . At intermediate settings, these engines can beat the strongest club-level players. At their highest settings, they crush the world’s grandmasters handily.Simon WilliamsBritish grandmaster and professional chess player Simon Williams has built a chess-centric audience for himself on sites like and , where he broadcasts his live showdowns against top-performing chess software. Currently filming an instructional chess DVD in Germany, Williams checked in with Inverse via email, writing that chess engines are simultaneously the bane and joy of modern professional chess players. [In an even match against a computer], humans stand no chance at winning and a very small chance of getting a draw. This would include world champion — Magnus often loses to his own phone app!”With this disparity in position-calculating ability, there are two ways to make human chess matches against A.I. more interesting. Software might be pitted against other high-powered chess software, as they do at the . Software might also play against a person using material odds; the computer starts with fewer pieces or some other disadvantage.When leading American chess player Hikaru Nakamura played a four-game in January, he lost despite advantages ranging from extra pieces to free moves. (He won one game, drew one, and lost two.) Even with major setbacks and other chess unbalance, computers can still crush the world’s best human players. Unless those humans have five more queens.Gleefully unfair, Really Bad Chess injects new life into the chessboard-sized battleground between A.I. and humans. Gage thinks that Really Bad Chess might be an excellent educational tool for teaching kids how to play the real game. “Even if an opponent takes one of your very powerful pieces, you still have a few more left on the board. You hang onto your fighting chances longer.”Really Bad Chess is available as and might be just the breath of fresh air you need in order to rediscover chess’s beautiful complexity.Media via Wikipedia, Flickr / Sam HamesFollow inverse on FacebookFollow humans+ on FacebookFollow star wars on FacebookFollow science & chill on FacebookFollow inverse on FlipboardFollow inverse on Apple NewsWatch your brain on blank on FacebookSign up for our newslettersign upAboutTopicsArchiveBrowsePrivacyCommerceTermsDMCACorrectionsNewsletter Contest2019FiltersSort by relevanceSort by recentSort by oldestScienceInnovationEntertainmentCultureMind & BodyBrave New WorldsBrave New WorldsHumans+Humans+Life in SpaceLife in SpacePoint BPoint BReplicantReplicantScience & ChillScience & ChillAboutTopicsArchiveBrowsePrivacyCommerceTermsDMCACorrectionsNewsletter Contest2019. "Makes chess fun even if you’re really bad" - The Verge. "More modern than chess has ever felt" - ApplenApps. "a really bad idea [made] a lot of fun." - Pocket Gamer. Really Bad Chess (stylized as really bad chess) is a mobile video game developed by Zach Gage.It was released on October 13, 2016 for iOS, with a version for Android released in May 2017. The game is based on the original game of chess but contains rearranged boards..