Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chance Plays Chess

The fictional first mover
Makes her fictional first move,
And the cards are dealt, 
The game is on, board set.

Can backwards induction
By a computer with more teraflops
Per second than electrons
In the universe tell us whether

A pure strategy exists in which
White or Black will always win?
Not in poker, baby, but
If this is only Go, Hex, Chess, 

Then, yes. And yet. No one
Knows or could know
Without such miraculous
Machinery what that strategy

Would be. Experts guess
That at least in the case
Of chess, there is only the hope,
The minimax of eternal draw.

But chance suggests,
In the usual, whispering
Bayesian rattlesnake voice
Chance prefers, no,

There's a better bet than that.
Somewhere in the infinity
Of games, rules, regulators,
And tickets issued for trivial

Infractions, lies the theorem
Of the purest, winningest,
Guaranteed strategm.
No, not God. Not gods. Guess.

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