Chess BoardAt, Aaron Tucker and Jody Miller have developed a computer program that translates Chess games in to poetry. Chessbard, as they call it, takes the standard algebraic notation of recorded Chess games, draws on a series of source poems, and applies an algorithm to produce unique works for each game.

There are distinct source poems for each piece (king, queen, bishop, rook, knight, and pawn) in each color (white and black) and each poem is 64 words long—one word corresponding to each space on the board.

Chess is a collection of cities, vibrantly unique and organic. Chess is the authorial path of a story or a poem. Chess is the delicate hinge between imagination and reality. Chess is both mechanical and human. In 2014, chess is the culmination of the rise of digital computing, a murky proving ground of intelligence, a litmus test for computer and human intelligence and creativity, but, most fascinatingly, a collision point for human-computer relationships…

The goal of the Chessbard is not whether it’s possible to get a computer to write a better poem than a human, but rather how computers and humans can work together to make poetry in collaboration.

Visitors to the website can play games and have them translated live,  upload any saved game in standard PGN format, or browse the poetic versions of a number of famous Chess games. Here’s The Game of the Century, Donald Byrne vs. Bobby Fischer, 1956:

any sand, lock mechanically knots
and massively blurs beside sphere

Will flavour choose circlet and operation?
Probably skittish powder

each settled woman erratically ravishes
mirror, woman bases hideously and
lyrically likes base, a finger

massive stage, spooned woman mirrors
and blackens stormy ferryboat, storm

diagonal texture below this centre
forks make-up, a fate
steadies and draws force

limbed drawing icily de-escalates hour
automaton yelps or draws instant

this darkness and absolution, shoreline
inquires revision, force beside texture

mimic owns choice down symmetry
automatic drawing ventures

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