Daily Rome Shot 630 and Mittens the Kitten, Destroyer of Worlds

Photo by The Great Roman™

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I look forward to the new Norcia beer Triple, but last night I had some Blonde from the wonderful Norcia monks. I invited Mom and we had a “Taco Salad” with the Birra Nursia and it was terrific!

In chess news… have any of you been following the evolving tale… or tail… of the evil genius whose chess skills are crushing the souls of mere mortals?

I am talking, of course, about the diabolical feline over-lord…


Mittens the Kitten is one of the AI “bots” at chess.com right now, along with other cat bots, such as Mr. Grumpers, who bears a strong resemblance to a certain figure in the Church.

Mittens, who taunts you with ominous trash talk, has an ELO (rating) of 1… but is crushing Grand Masters right and left. Some videos have been made pitting Mittens against Stockfish (a chess AI engine of extreme strength) with mixed results. It seems, too, that Mittens’ play was a little erratic last week. She started losing games in odd ways. There were problems with the engine. I believe they have been corrected and Mittens is now back as the chess bot equivalent of the Destroyer of Worlds.

I’ve beaten the other cat bots, but not Mittens.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tony Pistilli says:

    There was a great Reddit post recently about how the chess.com bots work:.
    In short, they are based on different settings in the Komodo engine (a parallel to Stockfish).


  2. UnwaffledAnglican says:

    For shame! Your comparison of Mr. Grumpers to “a certain figure in the Church” is a diabolical slander against the real Grumpy Cat, of sainted memory, whom I consider my spirit animal.

  3. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    “The Sallustiano Obelisk in front of the Church of Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The obelisk is ancient but not a Pharaonic obelisk. It was constructed during the reign of Emperor Aurelian (r. 270 – 275 CE) and placed in the Gardens of Sallust. It was erected at its current location in 1789 CE.” -Summary from the World History Encyclopedia

    The Egyptian incription apparently contains writing errors, which is somewhat amusing.

    The Latin inscription:
    “Pius VI Pont.(ifex) Max.(imus)
    Obeliscum Sallustianum
    Quem prolapsione defractum
    Super aetas iacentem reliquerat
    Coll.(atum) Hortulorum in subsidentium viarum
    Prospectu impositum tropaeo Crucis praefixo
    Trinitate Augustae dedicavit.”

    I don’t understand what “Hortulorum” is doing. Is it referring to the Sallustian Gardens where it was collected, by some use of the genitive that has eluded me, or is it referring to the location of the obelisks new home?

  4. Neal says:

    1. Rxb6 and then start exchanging.

  5. Cliff says:

    1. Bd2+ Rxd1 – Forced move-it is the only way out of check for black.
    2. Rxd1 Rd6 – Any other move is game over with white Rd3.
    3. Rxd6 Bd4 – Only delaying the inevitable.
    4. d6xd4 … – Nothing can save black now.
    5. Rd3++

  6. Cavalier: Did you try your hand at the inscription? Thanks for typing it out. But it isn’t quite whole. Also, that should be COLLI and DIFFRACTUM is from diffringo.

    The Latin inscription:


    To the venerable Trinity Pius VI, Pontifex Maximus, dedicated the sallustian obelisk, which great age had left lying shattered by a fall, placed on the hill of the gardens in the view of the lower byways, for a fixed memorial of the Cross.

    At least that’s how I read it.

  7. My take…

    The black King is trapped in a box. Black bishop is hanging.

    1. Bd1+ Rxd1
    2. Rd1 Bf2 (threat is Rb1#)
    3. Rd3+ Be3 (threat continues)

    1. Bxb6 Rd2 (threatens Rxf2#)
    2. Bxc6+ Rxc6
    3. Rxc6 Rd1# or 3. Rf4+ Kxf4 4. Rxc6 and whites king is safe for a moment)

    1. Rb2 if Rd6 white is up

    1. Rb2 Rxb2
    2. Bd1+ Re2
    3. Bxe2#

  8. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    Fr. Z,

    Colli! I thought there was a punctum, for a rather unorthodox abbreviation. My initial attempt at deciphering gave me “coll.(ega).” That helped even less. I had attempted a translation, but having run out of free time, I abandoned the attempt, posted what I had, and went to fulfill required household tasks.

    Speaking of college, I’m reminded of my university days, when I spent about twenty minutes in Hebrew class pouring through the minutiae of my lexicon (the BDB is arranged on a trilateral root system, like most classic semitic lexica). Prefixes? Suffixes? A rare verb form? Exasperated, I was gently told by my professor to “sound out the word.”

    …”Ye…ri…mi…ah. yerimiah.”


  9. RJR says:

    I thought that white’s best move was

    1. R-b6 (wins apiece – the bishop) if Black plays R-d1+
    2. B-d1 (takes the rook)

    Did I miss something?

Think, proof read, preview BEFORE posting!