About The Penrose Chess Puzzle

Fellows, by now, you may have seen the Telegraph piece on a chess position which purportedly composed by Sir Roger Penrose (first brought up by Dušan Jovanović). On behalf of AIDL, I emailed Mr. James Tagg to verify if the position was actually created by Sir Penrose. Mr. Tagg verified that is indeed the case.

Here is my question in email, and Mr. Tagg's quotable answer.

* * * * * * * * begin exchange
My email:
"Hey Mr. Tagg,

I administer a Facebook group on Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. Recently a member post an article from Telegraph, claiming that Scientist from Penrose Institute (PI) contact Telegraph, and share an interesting chess position to the public.

Since Telegraph is not a scientific journal, I am curious if the whole story is true. From the best of my judgment, the position is legit - humans would easily find it to be a draw, whereas engine such as Stockfish or Fritze would got very confused. Perhaps only deep learning type of technique would solve this problem more satisfactorily.

All that said, would you kindly verify if you did share a position with Telegraph. Of course, I also hope to have a write-up from PI as well. Then I can verify to my group members that the story is real.

Arthur Chan"

Mr. Taggs' reply,
"The chess position was worked out by Sir Roger Penrose over the course of a few months and James Tagg tested it on Fritz. The Telegraph newspaper published the story as they have a lond history of setting puzzles. Indeed, they set the crossword puzzle that features in the story of codebreakers being recruited for Bletchley park to work with Alan Turing in World War II."

* * * * * * * * end exchange

Of course, my apology to The Telegraph's staffs who specialized in puzzles - I was fact-checking and it is a good idea to be cautious.

So one bit we know for real - this is indeed a puzzle composed by Sir Penrose and the Telegraph's piece is legitimate. I don't want to comment on the answer of the puzzle yet. Nor I want to speculate on whether it is indeed a "key to consciousness". But one thing for sure, Waikit Lau and I will comment on the position in the future issue of "AIDL Weekly".


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *