Google AI becomes world’s best chess player in four hours

Ben Travis
Chess champ: DeepMind's new software went from beginner to worldwide winner within four hours: Jason Kempin/Getty

Google’s AI program AlphaGo Zero has become the best chess bot in the world after its performance in a recent content.

The software, developed by DeepMind, faced off against former champion Stockfish 8 in a round of 100 matches.

AlphaGo Zero won 28 of the games, and drew the rest of them.

The bot's performance was described as ‘superhuman’ in a scientific paper published on Cornell University’s website.

Most impressively – and slightly worryingly – AlphaGo Zero wasn’t programmed with advanced strategies.

The software was given the basic rules of chess, and over the 100 games it continually improved itself and learned new tactics based on its experience.

Oxford professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC: “From a scientific point of view, it's the latest in a series of dazzling results that DeepMind has produced.

“The general trajectory in DeepMind seems to be to solve a problem and then demonstrate it can really ramp up performance, and that's very impressive.”

Chess ‘grandmaster’ Peter Heine Nielsen also praised the bot’s performance, telling the BBC: "I always wondered how it would be if a superior species landed on earth and showed us how they played chess. Now I know.”