Quantum Physics Added to Standard Chess

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Queen’s University undergraduate computer science student Alice Wismath has added a bit of quantum physics to the game of chess, creating a style of chess where the identity of nearly every piece is in a state of constant flux.

Wismath’s quantum chess program is based on a paper written by a Queen’s University computer science professor, Selim Akl, in which he discusses how computers can see every possible outcome of every possible move when playing chess and wanted to make the computer’s task a little more difficult. He settled on having the pieces mimic particles that can simultaneously exist in multiple states.

Wismath had to create a few rules in order for quantum chess to be playable. First off, the king has to be captured, rather than put into checkmate, and it can’t morph into another piece. Equally important, the pieces only change states when they land on black squares and only change when they’re touched by a player. Also, the pieces don’t morph 100% randomly, as what piece they change into is based on a calculation of how many pieces are left on the board and their respective positions. These rules make the game somewhat playable, though much more playable than a game where every single piece changes every single time someone touches it.

Chris Perez, a participant in a quantum chess tournament held in Kingston, Ontario, claims there is still strategy involved in the game, despite the morphing pieces, which involves attempting to morph weaker pieces into stronger ones based on the morphing calculations.

(via CBC News)

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