Today, telemetrics are vital for all professional sports. Every move is measured, presented in statistics and analyzed. But how do you create telemetrics for sports that mainly happen in the player’s head, like chess? The eye control pioneer 4tiitoo and Chess World Championship sponsor Kaspersky Lab teamed up to give the technology a try. This resulted in a prototype of an eyetracking solution to predict moves, which was showcased and tested during a match between footballer Trent Alexander-Arnold and chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen in October.
4tiitoo’s software usually improves efficiency and productivity in offices and similar workplaces, as it enables employees to use their eyes to control their screens, instead of a mouse. “For an eye tracking device, a chessboard is in no way different from a screen. You just have to adjust and calibrate the software accordingly”, explains Tore Meyer, CEO of 4tiitoo. “We took a standard digital chess board, as used at tournaments, as it allowed us to directly integrate the eyetracking data on top of their visualization of the chessboard.”
Alexander-Arnold could then see a heatmap and pointer lines on a screen next to him, indicating where his opponent’s eyes looked most frequently and which moves the eyes made. “It was a basic proof of concept”, says Meyer. “But if we combine the output from the board and from our software with additional data points and a machine learning algorithm, we believe that the technology could actually become a valuable training and analysis tool for chess players.”
4tiitoo nevertheless also ran into a few challenges with eye tracking on the chess board. While a screen is flat, a chess board is 3D which could be difficult for the system to understand if a player is actually looking at the top of a rook, for example, or at the field behind it. While that could mislead the automatic analysis, an experienced chess player or commentator should be able to understand that from the context.
“We teamed up with 4tiitoo for this project, as using machines to analyze chess is a bit like what we do in cyber security every day”, says Alexander Moiseev, Chief Business Officer of Kaspersky Lab. “Our software uses algorithms to predict malware behavior, but without the human expertise of our top malware analysts, we would still often not understand what the data really means. And predicting a world class chess player’s next move definitely is at least as difficult as predicting a cybercriminal’s next move.”
Nevertheless, that was not the main reason for the England and Liverpool FC footballer having to admit defeat after five minutes and 17 moves. “We didn’t do this to change the game”, laughs Meyer. “If one of the players is much stronger than the other, eye tracking will not save them. But maybe afterwards it will help them analyze what went wrong.”
The World Chess Championship 2018 is the chess match between Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion since 2013, and challenger Fabiano Caruana to determine the World Chess Champion. The 12-game match, organized by FIDE and World Chess, and held in London between 9 and 28 November 2018. The Championship Match will be broadcasted live on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform.
About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company, which has been operating in the market for over 20 years. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
About World Chess
World Chess, exclusive official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), is the owner the World Chess brand, the most intellectual brand in the world, as well as commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company operates worldchess.com website, the official broadcasting platform of the Championship cycle with a full production live show with exclusive access to the match, experts and commentary team, analytics, graphics and more.
4tiitoo (www.4tiitoo.com) is a Munich-based enterprise software company that offers the software platform NUIA Productivity+. NUIA increases the efficiency and ergonomics at computer workplaces by controlling applications based on user intention, using a combination of eye tracking and artificial intelligence. As the market leader in eye control, 4tiitoo helps its international customers to increase productivity, while making the daily work of their employees more convenient.