Abstract for the talk on 19.12.2017 (17:00 h)Colloquium of the Faculty of Physics and Geosciences
Thomas Voigtmann (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., Köln)
On the Importance of Pawns in Chess
It is said that there are more possibilities in chess than there are atoms in the universe.
However, size may not be all that matters. The different rules according to which the
different chess pieces move, impose a highly nontrivial structure on the game's
configuration space. Clearly, direct sampling of even small portions of this space is out
of reach. Yet, the task of figuring out properties of a state space that is too vast to
enumerate, is a familiar one for statistical physics. In this talk I will show how we applied
transition-path sampling, an advanced Monte-Carlo simulation method that is usually
used to study crystallization, protein folding or the flow behavior of polymers, to chess.
The simulations show that chess' state space decomposes into a large number of weakly
connected "pockets" that reflect the pawn structures emphasized by good chess players.