Chess Grand Master Meets with CITEC Researchers

Héðinn Steingrímsson of Iceland to attend workshop at Bielefeld University’s Cluster of Excellence CITEC

In the research project “Ceege,” CITEC researchers are investigating the skills a chess player needs in order to win. To do this, they are comparing how chess pros and amateurs differ in terms of tactics, behavior, and body language. Chess Grand Master Héðinn Steingrímsson from Iceland is visiting the Cluster of Excellence CITEC at Bielefeld University to discuss previous findings with researchers.

Chess Grand Master Héðinn Steingrímsson exchanges ideas with CITEC researchers working on the Ceege research project, who are also partnering with colleagues in France. Photo: Ómar Óskarsson Steingrímsson is one of the 400 best chess players in the world, and as a FIDE Senior Trainer, Steingrímsson is one of the top coaches in the World Chess Federation (FIDE). He is also an expert in chess software and artificial intelligence. During the workshop from 23–24 May 2017, Steingrímsson will give a talk on the sport of chess, chess coaching methods, and chess software. Approximately 20 researchers from the fields of psychology, sports science, and computer science will participate in the workshop. The CITEC research group Neurocognition and Action – Biomechanics, which is led by Professor Dr. Thomas Schack, is organizing the workshop.

For the Ceege project, Schack’s research group is partnering with the research institute INRIA Grenoble Rhônes-Alpes in France. The researchers are working on automatic recognition of optimal chess moves that increase the probability of winning.

The goal of the project is to research how the problem-solving abilities and attentional processes of chess experts differ from beginner players in real game situations. The researchers are investigating not only game tactics, but also the social interaction between two chess players. To do this, they record eye movements (eye tracking), as well as facial expressions and body language, and analyze how chess moves are stored in long-term memory. The researchers also measure physiological reactions, such as heart rate, circulation, and skin conductance, in different emotional situations like satisfaction, dissatisfaction, fear, and excitement.  

The findings from these studies can be used to make reliable predictions about the strength of individual players, the outcomes of chess matches, and individual chess moves. The goal of this project is to implement new interactive coaching methods: a personal electronic chess assistant is designed to provide targeted training at different levels to address a player’s individual weaknesses, supporting them on their path towards becoming chess masters.

The research project Ceege will run for three years, through February 2019. The project name stands for “Chess Expertise from Eye Gaze and Emotion.” The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the French research funding institution “Agence Nationale de la Recherche” are providing funding for the project.

More information is available online at:
Why Chess Masters Win:

Dr. Kai Essig, Bielefeld University
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Telephone: 0521 106-6057