In order to determine which one of the many games that Steven plays may be included in his statistics, Steven eastablished the four ctriteria listed below.
After reading these criteria carefully, it's obvious that the nature of the games that would survive the application of these criteria would easily be considered by many players as being normal games (normal in the sense of being typical). However, these selfsame criteria would also be responsible for producing another category of games whose nature, unlike those in the category just mentioned, would not be viewed by many players as normal. What are these games? These would be the games played against computers.
Over the years, Steven has been plagued by this nagging dilemma: Should he or should he not play against computers and count the games that woud result from these matches? So far, Steven has succedded in putting off the need of making any decision on this matter by simply abstaining from playing against computers. By not playing against them, Steven has never been forced to decide on whether or not to include these games in his statistics.
(However, to be perfectly honest, Steven has probably played a game or two against computers, out of curiosity (no, these games were not counted), at some point in his carrer. This would have been at a time when he would not have been fully concious of the wider implications of such an actfrom the point of view of the integrity of his statisticsof playing against a machine.)
Why the reluctance to deal with this issue? At the heart of the matter lies the issue of a missing standard in the ranking of computers. When Steven plays against a human, he knows that he is playing against someone who is ranked at a certain level, and that the hancicap, if any, that is given to Black will produce a game whose outcome will be fair to both players, more or less. But against machines, there is no such standard. The ranking of these machines varies, and it varies not only over time but also from machine to machine. This can produce lopsided results. In such a situation, for example, how would players evalute the significance of a statistical analysis that would be made of, say, victories?
Another factor that militates against the inclusion of games played against computers, a factor just as important as the one on the lack of a standard of ranking, is the fact that computers don't have names. One of the items of information that is recorded on each game is the name of the opponent.