Chess computers in popular culture

Discussion of anything and everything relating to chess playing software and machines.

Moderators: hgm, Harvey Williamson, bob

User avatar
JuLieN
Posts: 2945
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 10:16 am
Location: Nantes (France)
Contact:

Chess computers in popular culture

Post by JuLieN » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:39 pm

As I stumbled upon a chess computer story while reading a comic strip, I thought it would be a good idea to make a thread about chess computers and popular culture. Have you done such an encounter, then please share it with us. :)

Here's my finding. It comes from one of my favorite french/belgian comic strips : Génial Olivier. Olivier is a mischievous genius kid, always inventing new things (mostly designed to annoy his teacher, but not only). It first was published in the Spirou comic strips magazine on August the 8th, 1963, and up to the death of his author, Jacques Devos, in the early 90ies. It has been remorselessly ripped off by the American TV program "Jimmy Neutron" (even his robot dog was copied! :cry: )

Image

Raw Translation

[0] Title:
Echec au fou : this is a word play, as the "bishop" is called "fou" (crazy/joker) in french. It means "check to the crazy/joker".

[1] First square:
Igor : Hi, Olivier and his friend.
Olivier: Oh! Hello Igor, please step in!
Flafla: Hello!

[2] Second square:
olivier: Igor Titurbine is a russian friend! He is a fanatic of chess. He received a new chess computer from a japanese diplomat. Right, Igor?
Igor: Da! But... Errr... To tell the truth... Errr...

[3] Third square:
Igor: Da-da! My tjapanese friend Tora Pathkado ("Uwont Getagift") gave to me! Him verrrry nice and me verrry happy receiving machine. Now its is kaputt!

[4] Fourth square:
Igor: This machine I defeating it in seven moves game and it say strange word! Me not understand!

[5] Fifth square:
Flafla: A talking machine?
Olivier: My friend, today, electronic devices talk, commenting your moves using a synthetic voice.
Flafla: Come on! Come on!

[6] Sixth square:
Igor : Machine said "c'est beaucoup" (it's a lot) afterrr me defeating it; then look, machine splitting in two! Look!?
Flafla: My goodness!
Olivier: Rats! "c'est beaucoup" is not a coined chess terminology!

[7] Seventh square:
Flafla: Eh! Are you sure this was this sentence? What if it was in a foreign language?
Olivier: That's possible! Let's check my universal electronic translator.
Igor: Boje moï.

[8] Eighth square:
Flafla: but why did this chessboard exploded in two parts like that?
Igor: this big big mysterrrium!
Olivier: Let's see?

[9] Ninth square:
Olivier: Careful, friends! I'm giving the sentence to my translator : "c'est beaucoup!"

[10] Tenth square:
Translator: Trik-trik-trik-trik-trik-trik! In-cor-rect pr--noun-cia-tion! Spea-ker pro-ba-bly meant "sé-pou-kou"!...
Igor: Yaas! This being this!

[11] Eleventh square:
Translator: "Seppuku" : noble name for "hara-kiri"! End. Trik-trik-trik!
Igor: Nitchevo!
Olivier: Yet another cultural conquest by electronics! Pfff!
"The only good bug is a dead bug." (Don Dailey)
Image [Blog: http://tinyurl.com/predateur ] [Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/fbpredateur ] [MacEngines: http://tinyurl.com/macengines ]

Tord Romstad
Posts: 1808
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:19 pm
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by Tord Romstad » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:15 pm

It probably doesn't qualify as popular culture, but Gene Wolfe -- my favorite living author -- has written a short story named The Marvellous Brass Chessplaying Automaton. The story is set some time in the future, at a time when technology has regressed compared to today. People still remember the age of computers, but the art of making them has been forgotten. It is widely assumed that no working computers remain. But there are rumors that a single computer still survives in a remote German village: A dedicated chess computer.

I won't spoil the story, in case somebody wants to read it. It's included in the short story collection The Best of Gene Wolfe (which, albeit very good, isn't really the best of Gene Wolfe, because his novels are better than his short stories).

yanquis1972
Posts: 1541
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:14 pm

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by yanquis1972 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:59 pm

this is only very tangentially related, but i recall a short story from my childhood published in one of chernev's books, called something like 'three sailors', set in maybe the 19th century...they had found some small pocketsized device that could play chess. basically as i recall they'd go to pubs etc, input the moves in the device, play what it recommended, & crush everyone. too bad they didn't have wifi or 3G back then, they would've been really floored with that iphone.

Adam Hair
Posts: 3183
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by Adam Hair » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:06 pm

Tord Romstad wrote:It probably doesn't qualify as popular culture, but Gene Wolfe -- my favorite living author -- has written a short story named The Marvellous Brass Chessplaying Automaton. The story is set some time in the future, at a time when technology has regressed compared to today. People still remember the age of computers, but the art of making them has been forgotten. It is widely assumed that no working computers remain. But there are rumors that a single computer still survives in a remote German village: A dedicated chess computer.

I won't spoil the story, in case somebody wants to read it. It's included in the short story collection The Best of Gene Wolfe (which, albeit very good, isn't really the best of Gene Wolfe, because his novels are better than his short stories).
Something else to add to my reading list. Thanks!

Jan Brouwer
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:12 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by Jan Brouwer » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:32 pm

Adam Hair wrote:
Tord Romstad wrote:It probably doesn't qualify as popular culture, but Gene Wolfe -- my favorite living author -- has written a short story named The Marvellous Brass Chessplaying Automaton. The story is set some time in the future, at a time when technology has regressed compared to today. People still remember the age of computers, but the art of making them has been forgotten. It is widely assumed that no working computers remain. But there are rumors that a single computer still survives in a remote German village: A dedicated chess computer.

I won't spoil the story, in case somebody wants to read it. It's included in the short story collection The Best of Gene Wolfe (which, albeit very good, isn't really the best of Gene Wolfe, because his novels are better than his short stories).
Something else to add to my reading list. Thanks!
If you haven't already added Douglas Adams, please do.
I must have read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at least 10 times by now.

Jouni
Posts: 1782
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:15 pm

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by Jouni » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:54 pm

I remember this has been discussed here already. But anyway first in mind comes the legendary 1982 The Thing were Kurt Russel plays chess against computer! Was it Sargon?

Jouni

User avatar
Mike S.
Posts: 1460
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:33 am

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by Mike S. » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:09 am

One of the most famous computer chess scenes is in Stanley Kubrick's legendary "2001: A Space Odyssey". But the movie is from 1968 and so it wasn't a real chess computer. They used an old game Roesch-Schlage 1910 for the chess scene where Poole plays against HAL.

See also http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/chess2/schlage.htm
Regards, Mike

Adam Hair
Posts: 3183
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by Adam Hair » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:25 am

Jan Brouwer wrote:
Adam Hair wrote:
Tord Romstad wrote:It probably doesn't qualify as popular culture, but Gene Wolfe -- my favorite living author -- has written a short story named The Marvellous Brass Chessplaying Automaton. The story is set some time in the future, at a time when technology has regressed compared to today. People still remember the age of computers, but the art of making them has been forgotten. It is widely assumed that no working computers remain. But there are rumors that a single computer still survives in a remote German village: A dedicated chess computer.

I won't spoil the story, in case somebody wants to read it. It's included in the short story collection The Best of Gene Wolfe (which, albeit very good, isn't really the best of Gene Wolfe, because his novels are better than his short stories).
Something else to add to my reading list. Thanks!
If you haven't already added Douglas Adams, please do.
I must have read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at least 10 times by now.
I have not read The Hitchhiker's Guide yet, but I will do so. I recently
started making time to read again, something that has been tough to do
the previous 5 years.

User avatar
JuLieN
Posts: 2945
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 10:16 am
Location: Nantes (France)
Contact:

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by JuLieN » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:51 pm

Tord Romstad wrote:It probably doesn't qualify as popular culture, but Gene Wolfe -- my favorite living author -- has written a short story named The Marvellous Brass Chessplaying Automaton. The story is set some time in the future, at a time when technology has regressed compared to today. People still remember the age of computers, but the art of making them has been forgotten. It is widely assumed that no working computers remain. But there are rumors that a single computer still survives in a remote German village: A dedicated chess computer.

I won't spoil the story, in case somebody wants to read it. It's included in the short story collection The Best of Gene Wolfe (which, albeit very good, isn't really the best of Gene Wolfe, because his novels are better than his short stories).
I remember you yet mentioned this author, and advocate him so well that I really want to read him, now. :) Sadly the only books from him I find in my language seem to be heroic fantasy only, which is not my cup of tea... :/

-----------------

Another famous reference to chess computers in pop culture is the "Kasparov and the machine" advert, by Pepsi :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRTZW0EwOJ4
"The only good bug is a dead bug." (Don Dailey)
Image [Blog: http://tinyurl.com/predateur ] [Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/fbpredateur ] [MacEngines: http://tinyurl.com/macengines ]

User avatar
JuLieN
Posts: 2945
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 10:16 am
Location: Nantes (France)
Contact:

Re: Chess computers in popular culture

Post by JuLieN » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:13 pm

in the eleventh episode of third season of Lost (name: "enter 77"), John Locke got fascinated by a chess program and plays it until he eventually wins... with unexpected consequences.

Image

Here's a video of this sequence :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIQoV1xFoDI
"The only good bug is a dead bug." (Don Dailey)
Image [Blog: http://tinyurl.com/predateur ] [Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/fbpredateur ] [MacEngines: http://tinyurl.com/macengines ]

Post Reply