(ArsTechnica) The world’s quantum chess tournament was held December 9 as part of the virtual Q2B 2020 conference on quantum computing, with Amazon’s Aleksander Kubica emerging victorious, New Scientist reports.
Quantum chess is a complicated version of regular chess that incorporates the quantum concepts of superposition, entanglement, and interference. “It’s like you’re playing in a multiverse but the different boards [in different universes] are connected to each other,” said Caltech physicist Spiros Michalakis during a livestream of the tournament. “It makes 3D chess from Star Trek look silly.”
Quantum chess (as played in the tournament) is the brainchild of Chris Cantwell of Quantum Realm Games. When he was a graduate student in quantum computing at the University of Southern California, he got the idea while working on a project for a class on creativity and invention. “My initial goal was to create a version of quantum chess that was truly quantum in nature, so you get to play with the phenomenon,” Cantwell told Gizmodo back in 2016. “I didn’t want it to just be a game that taught people quantum mechanics.” By playing the game, the player slowly develops an intuitive sense of the rules governing the quantum realm. In fact, “I feel like I’ve come to more intuitively understand quantum phenomena myself, just by making the game,” he said.