1990 Silicon Dreams Games and Movie Reviews: Chess 2.0 Arimaa : Proof that we're still smarter (or at least more imaginative) than the bots

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chess 2.0 Arimaa : Proof that we're still smarter (or at least more imaginative) than the bots

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Here's something I didn't expect. Apparently Chess has gotten way too easy for AIs, consequently the last time a human won against a top AI was around 2005. So now there's a new game, called Arimaa, that's been designed specifically to make it difficult for the bots to outsmart us. A sort of last chance to feel good about ourselves, before Skynet takes over ALL THE THINGS, or at least the nice things... but I digress. 

The rules are simple and you can play the whole game with a standard chess set. Only this time instead of capturing each other the pieces push, pull, freeze, and help each other out in pursuit of getting a pawn(dubbed rabbit) to the opposite end of the board. It's pretty fun actually:

You can read all the rules of Arimaa here: Arimaa Creator's Web-Site

There's also several Wikipedia pages devoted to guides and strategies: ArimaaWiki Rules and Guides

The best part is probably for those with a background in AI and programming, since there's a $16000 (and going up) reward for the first Bot that can beat two top human players 2 out of 3 games each. So far none of the bots have been able to, even though the game's creators have been hosting a championship event every January for the past several years.

There's some interesting elements that add variation to the game (and further confuse your silicon opponent), like the ability to arrange your side of the board however you like, and the fact that each player takes 4 moves per turn (but pushing or pulling an enemy piece takes 2 of those) and so on and so forth.

So check it out, if nothing else, for the fact that it was voted the most likely new game to still be around after 1000 years. And perhaps by then the corps would have caught up with the fad and much like FortressCraft we might have the thing made awkwardly available  for Xbox360, to play on our interplanetary Xbox Live during the holidays, when ever so often it's free, of course. 


  1. Oh man, it's tests like these that make me worried for the date when robots overcome us...

  2. It's really cool no one's been able to beat a computer for that long time to be honest :D

  3. I robot! You puny humans are nothing to me...

  4. I dislike humans.

  5. I knew it. Robots are next step in evolution.

  6. This is really interesting. It's pretty sad that we have to make a new game to beat the AI's at though... hah


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