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.A parent.Neither mother nor father, but in our language we used a male pronoun to describe the Progenitors.”“They raise you?”“They teach us.They are lifelong instructors.Their genetic material is what we’re made of—genetic engineering beget our caste system.Some genetic lines are more gifted at nurturing, parenting, so their genetic material is granted from their Progenitor, a parenting specialist, and their legacies are to be mothers and fathers.”“You…genetically engineered people to be good fathers and mothers, and then they, what, adopted another Progenitor’s engineer-warrior offspring to nurture?”“Yes.It’s up to our mothers and fathers to feed us, keep us safe, but it’s the Progenitor’s job to instruct.Mine told me that not all people are meant to have families.”“So you don’t have anyone you care about?”“I did not say that.I miss my people greatly, and my family.”“Your Progenitor?”A pause.“Him most of all.” There was a note there…almost human.Rook nods.“Well, that caste system sounds weird to me, but I think my dad and your Progenitor knew what they were talking about.Solitude is definitely me.”“It’s what’s kept you alive.Me, as well.Our personalities keep us apart from others, but we still try and watch over them.We try and do the right thing, without thought of reward.On my world, we had a name for that kind of person.It’s unpronounceable by you, but it meant Lone Watchman.Your world once had another name for it: ronin.”Rook considers that a moment, then looks down at the chessboard, and brings about the conclusion.He finally pushes his queen into position.“Checkmate.”“I see that.I’m afraid I’m not giving you very good practice.”“You just need to start thinking about the three separate stages of play, and approach them separately.After the opening, there’s the middlegame and endgame.After about ten or fifteen moves, middlegame starts, and that’s when you need to watch carefully for maneuvers, mistakes to exploit.Also, you need to try to look for a combination—a series of forcing moves—that wins pawns and pieces.”They cue up another game, and after just six moves, Rook already knows he’s going to win.Ten moves later, it’s over.“You lost that time because you started endgame-type of maneuvers too early.Don’t even start thinking about endgame until most of the dangerous pieces are lost.And when you do reach endgame, it’s best to utilize the king.King and queen versus a lone king is the most basic endgame play, but you gotta be careful about a stalemate.”A long silence.Then, “You really love this game, don’t you?”Rook smiles.“Takes me back.”“It’s more than that, though, isn’t it?”He gives it some thought, and realizes the alien is right.“It’s what opened my eyes to my enemy’s weakness.It’s how I beat them.” It feels good just saying it.“Why do you think that is? The Cerebrals are the most highly-advanced creatures and computers either of our species ever encountered, so how did you beat them? What principle was it that beat them, exactly? It wasn’t just their aversion to sacrifice, or the principle of four.”For Rook, the answer is as simple as pie.“Computers can never conceive of what we can.Not ever.” He smiles briefly.It’s just a flash, there and gone, but we can see the pride in his eyes and hear it in his voice as he talks about his people.“When the first computers were built to play chess, what surprised the builders the most was how inadequate computers were in playing against humans.It’s the exponential number that was always the problem.”“The exponential number?” probes Bishop, cuing up another game and making an opening move.He’s White, and opens with pawn to E4.Rook mirrors Bishop’s move with Black pawn to E5, interfering with his opponent’s plan to play D4.A classic King’s Pawn Opening.“Yeah, a major problem with chess for computers was always, ‘How do you solve the exponential problem?’ If a person has eight possible moves, then for each of those moves, the other player has eight possible counter-moves, and for each of those counter-moves there are eight other counter-moves.On and on and on it goes.As a matter of fact, there are more possible games of chess than there are atoms in the universe.No computer can compute that, no computer is that powerful.At least, none that Man ever created, and none, I suspect, that even the Cerebs ever created.” He shrugs.“Then there’s also a problem with imagination.”Bishop moves his queen-side knight to F3, combining defense of the pawn with control of the D4 square, refusing to commit another pawn.Not a bad response.“How so?”“Computers are good for looking at things the way they are right now, assessing the situation, collating all the data, and extrapolating a little, making simulations of the future,” he replies, responding with knight to C6.“Variables cause them all sorts of trouble, though, and human imagination, including simple brute force or just a seemingly stupid sacrifice, can be a major variable.Over time, they became more sophisticated—computers, I mean—but not so sophisticated that they solved the exponential problem and the imagination problem.”“Are you sure about that? Some of your ship’s historical files indicate that in 1997, a company called IBM created a computer called ‘Deep Blue’ that defeated the Grand Master named Garry Kasparov, considered by some to be the greatest chess player that ever lived.”Rook smirks.“Actually, that’s not how it happened, but that’s how IBM wanted people to think it happened.In actual fact, Kasparov defeated Deep Blue in their first games in 1996 [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]