The World's Most Advanced Automatic Chess Problem Composer

Development of Chesthetica started in 2006, as part of my doctoral research in computational aesthetics; a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI). It incorporated a computational aesthetics model to evaluate aesthetics or beauty in chess move sequences in a way that correlated positively with human assessment. This means many thousands of chess problems or puzzles could be ranked automatically, in terms of typically perceived aesthetics, in a very short period of time compared to humans doing the work. In 2010, after completing my PhD the year before, Chesthetica was further developed so it could also compose original chess problems but this work was just preliminary.

While computers could already beat world chess champions, they could not compose even functional chess problems entirely on their own. This piqued my interest in computational creativity; also a subfield of AI. In particular, to a new approach I called the 'Digital Synaptic Neural Substrate' (DSNS). Named so because it uses fragments of information from other domains (e.g. photos, paintings, music, regular chess game sequences) and combines them into 'strings' (a standard 'substrate') that allows recombination of information from seemingly unrelated domains. This is analogous to how a human brain (synaptic connections between the neurons etc.) might get inspired from being exposed to various creative objects as stimuli.

Despite having the word 'neural' in it, the DSNS has nothing to do with machine or deep learning; this is a common misconception. Since 2014, Chesthetica has been using this approach to compose thousands of aesthetically-pleasing original chess problems entirely on its own with no limit in sight. In effect, it is doing the equivalent of thousands of hours of human creative labor. The aesthetics model is used optionally as a filter whereas the DSNS is what serves as the 'spark' of creativity. These puzzles can be used by human players and even composers to train, to learn from or purely for entertainment. They also help keep your brain healthy and mind sharp. You can find more resources on these topics here and the links below.


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ChessBase News, 22 March 2018: Challenging Studies, Automatically
ChessBase News, 7 April 2017: Chesthetica Composes Custom Mates
ChessBase News, 31 May 2016: Cheshetica: Studies and a Decade in Development
ChessBase News, 07 Sep 2015: Cheshetica Composes Longer Mates!
ChessBase News, 31 May 2015: Celebrating 300 Machine Generated Problems
ChessBase News, 06 Feb 2015: Computer Generated Chess Problems for Everyone
ChessBase News, 07 Nov 2014: A Machine that Composes Chess Problems
ChessBase News, 15 Dec 2012: A Computer Program to Identify Beauty in Problems and Studies

Contact: ayzed at yahoo dot com OR dr.azlan.iqbal at gmail dot com