Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, Computer Chess transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.Written by
Peter, did you ever stop and ask yourself how many squares are on a chess board?
64. It's an 8 by 8 grid.
Well... but don't you see how limited that is?
No, it's actually very complex once you start to think about it as a programming problem. Just the number of possible games explodes exponentially with each move, it's close to 10 to the 120th power. And to try and compute all those games might take even longer than humanity would be around to do so.
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Computer Chess may have an unconventional and experimental style, but its story is simple. It's very much like a Christopher Guest competition mockumentary setup with a similar satirical sense of humour and fortunately its exposition is welcome and well-handled. Its video and black and white cinematography feels more than a gimmick and places the film convincingly in the 80s. At least it makes better use of it than last year's disappointing No. Although it's intended as a character-based film, peering into the lives of the contestants rather than concerned with the competition itself, it's the area it struggles with most. It's difficult to keep track of characters and many feels like cartoons. But its themes still work. It makes you think about the progression of technology and its integration with society as well as what you should live for. It's more of a directors movie with hints of surrealism and meta scenes where the gimmick breaks the mold which results in making Computer Chess interesting, thoughtful and entertaining film but wildly inconsistent with the places where it doesn't know what it's doing.
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