Star Trek TNG: S5E14 Conundrum Troi Beats Data in Chess
“This episode originally aired in 1992. Deep Blue didn’t defeat Kasperov until 1996! The writers (and scientists) at the time were probably working on the assumption that computers will never be better than humans at chess. They probably tried to look it up too, and the only thing they found was Shannon’s Number (more games than atoms in the universe) and concluded, because computers can’t brute-force chess, they can never beat the best human players.
I still think it was pretty bad writing, because during the scene Data lists the correct named response to his named attack. If his attack, and resulting defense are both named move sequences then they have been well studied, surely Data would know the entire “book” on both maneuvers. Which means he would not be surprised by any defense. Even if it was not what he anticipated. But he reported the correct response to his attack, which means that must be the BEST defense. Obviously it isn’t if Troi completely countered the defense and set up Checkmate in the next few moves, that doesn’t make sense. Also, Data clearly puts Troi in check, but she does NOT move her king out of check. In the next move Data can simply capture her king. I suppose the rules of 3D chess are never canonically explained, so I guess we need to accept that “checking the king” doesn’t actually mean anything in this game?”
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