"EinStein würfelt nicht" - Duel on Campus 2005

Dr. Stefan Schwarz is a giant, almost 2 meters tall. When he walks through a door, he draws in his head a little bit. Also in the morning of January 26, 2005, when entering Seminar Room 3521 of Jena University. Out of his rucksack Stefan takes a game board and twelve thick glass stones, six of them in gold and the other six in light blue color.

Dr. Stefan Schwarz

On the other side of the table Andreas Schäfer is waiting already with the baby. In full length, the baby's name is "Rock'n Roll Baby", and it is a computer program. Andreas is a student in computer science, the completion of his semester thesis within reach. When his baby scores at least 50 percent in 20 games against Dr. Schwarz, he will get an A-mark for the thesis.

For Stefan Schwarz there is no formal hurdle. He is simply the best EinStein player of Jena and wants to defend this inofficial title.

From left to right: Andreas Schäfer, chess clock (historical item from the 1920's), Stefan Schwarz, notebook with baby, Ingo Althöfer

Some two hours later the baby is in the lead: by 13-0! Originally, we had intended to play only ten games of the match in this morning. But at 10-0 - the 90 minutes of the seminar were almost over - all spectators had pity on Stefan. "to 0", that could mean a crack for his life. So nobody took measures for leaving. We all became witnesses, how 10-0 turned to 11-0, to 12-0, and finally to 13-0. Oh my god, Stefan.

Stefan really had bad bad dice. A sympathetic student offered help: "Let me roll for you." "No. I can do that by myself."

From left to right: Two sympathetic students, Jörg Sameith, Dr. Raymond Georg Snatzke, Lars Stoppe, Andreas Schäfer (with bottle), Stefan Schwarz

Game 14 is starting. And if Stefan had never done something different, he overruns the baby within only eight moves. This time simply everything fits: The dice are falling in Stefan's favour, baby does not find a harmonic setup, and the own "3" makes a home run, as if pulled at a string.

Hurray! Only 1-13 now - and curtain for today. On the march to Mensa hot debates could not clarify to what extent the dice had contributed to the demonstration. Post mortem analysis (in the spirit of Jakob Erdmann's doctoral dissertation) shows that "with normal randomness" something like a 5-9 (instead of 1-13) might have happened.

On the second day, baby drove home another 4-2 victory. Hence, total score became 17-3 for the baby: Andreas Schäfer got his A with distinction. For Stefan Schwarz a small comfort remains: Baby's evaluation function is partly based on "Schwarz Tables", a heuristic introduced by him only a few months earlier.


The report on Andreas' semester project is available online, either from here or from here . Observe: By some technical reason page 2 (which is empty) of 46 pages of the report is opened on click.

In November 2005, Stefan Schwarz got a 10-0 revenge on Andreas Schäfer, during the Long Night of Sciences in Jena. See in the middle of that article.

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