Is this the inevitable end of backgammon?

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MK

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Sep 24, 2021, 6:33:05 PMSep 24
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I hadn't played backgammon against a human since eons ago because of
where I live but I never thought I would get tired of playing backgammon
even if against bots.

Yet, now I can't even remember how long it has been since I quit playing
against bots also, simply because it became too predictably repetitive and
boring. And, yes, when the challenge also wanes for the unlucky few people
who can actually consistently beat the bots (as unbelievable as it mey be
for you flock).

The two bots that were consirered the last best, have not been improved on
for the past six years. Even any talks about an Alpha-BG stopped over a year
ago (or more?).

There was a spark of hope that an Alpha-Hypestgammon and then an Alpha-
Hypergammon could be developed but that didn't go anywhere either.

Every so often I take a loot see if there is anything interesting dicussed here
but the last time I marke a post with an intent to reply to it was in May and
then I thought it would be waste of time since it would quickly degrade to
stupid smartass one-liners, as all/most other discussions had done in the
past, since the mentally ill gamblers (even if claimedly scientists) can't do
any better to pursue them into any fruitful conclusions.

I don't know if there is more interest in other forums, if people still buy BG
bots, books, etc. but this group has long been reduced to a private mail-list
for less than a handful, obcessive senile idiots to dicuss positions (which is
fine), to then defer to bots (which is not good) to decide the "correct" moves
when simple logic dictates that bots based on arbitrary, fartass algorithms
are biased by an undeterminable magnitute.

It's all very sad... :(

MK
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Timothy Chow

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Sep 25, 2021, 8:47:07 AMSep 25
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The inevitable end of backgammon? Not at all, R.B. Just make sure
you keep ranting and raving and swearing and cursing and talking
nonsense. You can singlehandedly turn the tide if you just keep
fighting the good fight. Don't give up now. The ancient game of
backgammon is counting on you! It's all on your shoulders.

Take a deep breath and curse me right now. Trust me, it will feel good!
---
Tim Chow

MK

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Sep 26, 2021, 4:28:10 AMSep 26
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On September 25, 2021 at 6:47:07 AM UTC-6, Tim Chow wrote:

> The inevitable end of backgammon? Not at all, R.B.

Are you still carrying my R-ed B-ig truck in your ass??

I said I was sorry many times. I wouldn't shove it in
if I had known it would cause you a lifelong trauma. :(

Just pull it out and move on... If you're too fat to reach
your butt, ask your "colleague" (who was working on an
Alpha-Hypergammon ;) to help you with it. And let him
kiss your owie... ;))

> Take a deep breath and curse me right now. Trust
> me, it will feel good!

If and when you give me a reason to put you where
you belong, I will oblige. But for now, I just pity you. :((

MK
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MK

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Sep 27, 2021, 5:31:11 AMSep 27
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On September 27, 2021 at 12:02:46 AM UTC-6, tetraHydro saved my life wrote:

> How about a vacation to Istanbul and play a bg tournament like this one..
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFUu8KTvUno&t=339s&ab_channel=GezenAdam

For the ones who can't read Turkish, it's an almost 6 years old video
of a promotional bg tournament for a shopping center. About $10's
worth of shopping got people free entry, with some prizes for the
winners. Too noisy and wouldn't be challenging at all to play against
a hord of "shopper-level" players from the street.

Also, this wasn't "Turkey" then and is less so now. Sure there a few
dozen luxury hotels, resorts, golf courses, etc. but it has become a
mainly islamo-fascist, narco-state dictatorship of 85 million dirt eating,
insect brained moslems... :(

I'm sure rich tourists, more and more from arab emirates, etc. still go
there to vacation, well fenced off from the masses.

Also probably old woman and gay men from european countries may
be still going there to get fucked by horny moslem locals, who can't
have normal human sex with women, and tired of fucking donkeys,
sheep, dogs, etc.

People with average means and travel/vacation interests would have
to be out of their minds, (or greedy and brave enough to risk getting
more for less), to go Turkey. Personally, I wouldn't go for a million
dollars. Not worth it. There are plenty of better places to go in the world
(of course, after covid will be over).

MK

Grunty

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Sep 27, 2021, 10:57:04 AMSep 27
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You took the time to put all this together and dump it here. Sounds like transiting the very last year and months of your existence.

If you don't like to see people obsessively discussing positions, just quit and remain silent.
Take your depressive ass elsewhere. Everyone's trying to carry on through these times as best as they can.
Message has been deleted

MK

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Sep 28, 2021, 3:52:53 AMSep 28
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On September 27, 2021 at 8:57:04 AM UTC-6, Grunty wrote:

> If you don't like to see people obsessively discussing
> positions, just quit and remain silent.

This is an unmoderated newsgroup. Nobody can prevent
you from obsessively discussing positions, nor can you
prevent me from expressing my opinion that I don't like it.

> Take your depressive ass elsewhere.

I wasn't trying to chase anyone away, nor can you. But you
did hit one nail on the head though. You flock's pathetic
existance in RGB is indeed depressing. That's probably
one of the reasons I have been staying away by choice.

> Everyone's trying to carry on through these times as best
> as they can.

This is nothing limited to "these times". Just search RGB for
"pottle or not" and you will see that you morons have been
discussing it and other qutely described position for at least
10 years. That's got to amount to a few thousand positions
that you can't even remember 1 from each year memory.

I was just encouraging you all to do something better with
your time for the more general benefit of BG and its lovers.

But, you are right that I should not put you down for not being
what you can't be or for not doing for what you can't do... :(

MK

MK

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Sep 28, 2021, 4:09:53 AMSep 28
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On September 27, 2021 at 10:58:51 AM UTC-6, tetraHydro saved my life wrote:

> greedygammon with friends I knew from FIBS back in the day but we
> lost touch, and i dont know how how reliable the program is but if
> there was interest in it i would fix any bugs. I still enjoy playing the bot.

Since you are capable of developing BG software, why don't you just
forget about the obsolete stuff and tackle the Alpha-Gammon??

Tesauro's excuse was lacking CPU power back then, which we have
more than enough of today. TD-Gammon v1 was an "Alpha-Gammon"
but limited to 1-point games. Just start from there and let the bot
make random cube decisions as well and tabulate the results. Simple.

If you or anyone else interested wants to start with an easier variant,
try Alpha-Hypestgammon and Alpha-Hypergammon first. Even a PC
should have enough CPU power to handle those.

Someone should have the courage to do it. Yes, at first, your xg-centric
universe will turn upside down but you probably will survive to enjoy it.

MK

Timothy Chow

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Sep 28, 2021, 3:20:18 PMSep 28
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On 9/28/2021 4:09 AM, MK wrote:
> If you or anyone else interested wants to start with an easier variant,
> try Alpha-Hypestgammon and Alpha-Hypergammon first. Even a PC
> should have enough CPU power to handle those.
>
> Someone should have the courage to do it. Yes, at first, your xg-centric
> universe will turn upside down but you probably will survive to enjoy it.

Alpha-Hypestgammon isn't going to turn the XG-centric universe upside
down because I solved Hypestgammon and there were no surprises.

---
Tim Chow
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MK

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Sep 28, 2021, 7:58:13 PMSep 28
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You can't say "there were no surprises" because you never compared
the two results, because you never ran an "Alpha-Hypestgammon".

You created a C program to "calculate" the equities two different ways.
You posted them on your web site in May 2020.

https://groups.google.com/g/rec.games.backgammon/c/h03ubUZEd2s/m/tTsrzi5eBgAJ

I downloaded them and waited for your next step which never came.

In August 2020, in an unrelated discussion I wrote:

"After that, this groups will be quieter but hopefully worth following more,
"with future articles about Chow's experiment to compare his calculated
"cubeful equities to alpha-zero cubeful equities for Hypest-Gammon and
"then maybe even for Hyper-Gammon, about his "colleague"s attemts at
"creating an AlphaZero bot for Hypest-Gammon or Hyper-Gammon (or
"was it regular backgammon??), and about other such subjects...

https://groups.google.com/g/rec.games.backgammon/c/rNvgR3JzwXA/m/4siZGBM7AgAJ

Then in March 2021, in another unrelated discussion you said:

"By the way, you never commented on the Hypestgammon results."

https://groups.google.com/g/rec.games.backgammon/c/9kVaqJABXD0/m/HRu8ZGA9AAAJ

It's possible that you didn't see my above comment on it and you may
have not realized that I was waiting for you to complete your project.

I can accept that you may have misundestood from the very beginning
what I was expecting of you to do, i.e. compare Alpha-Hypestgammon
derived equities to your Hypestgammon calculated equities (that I was
questioning, just the same as for Hypergammon and regular Backgammon).

So, as of today, that's where things stand. If you are willing to go back
to finishing your project, I'm willing to continue the discussion on the
subject, and hopefully with more people than just the of us participating.

MK

MK

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Sep 29, 2021, 5:40:24 AMSep 29
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On September 28, 2021 at 4:57:50 PM UTC-6, tetraHydro saved my life wrote:

> Isn't "alpha-gammon" just another AI bg bot like xg and gnubg?

My understanding/definition of Alpha-XYZ is a AI bot untainted
by human bias. In other words, just tell the bot the rules of the
game and let it figure out what are the best decision statistically
by trial and error, over a sufficient number of trials.

> I'm not that level of programmer as these AI people.

Don't over estimate them or underestimate yourself.

> I did my bg game because I couldn't find any other interface that
> I liked, and i had plenty of help attaching the gnubg engine to it.

Okay, fine. Just modify what you are doing slightly. If you can get
all possible legal moves from gnubg and pick one randomly yourself
or let it return a random move somehow, maybe by tricking it to think
that the winning chances are zero for the given position?? For cube
decisions, don't even ask gnubg, just randomly decide to double or
not and to take or not. If you can just tabulate the results, you'll have it.

For Hypestgammon, no checker play decision is needed since they
are all "forced moves" so to speak. And just make random cube
decisions. Nothing could be easier.

Now, for Hypergammon, supposedly Sconyer has solved it 30 years
ago (according to "their" understanding of what "solved" means,
which I don't agree with but let's leave this aside foe now), with
32,000,000 possible moves (the bullshit is all over the place on the
Internet, even in the Wiki). Gnubg plays Hypergammon. So, query it
for possible moves in a given position and pick one randomly. And
again, just make random cube decisions before every roll for each
side. If you can tabulate 32,000,000 moves times cube decisions
in a given length match, you will have made it.

For now, let's leave the development of regular BG Alpha-Gammon
bot to the biggest scumbags of world-class bot developers with
the help of world-class book publishing sick gamblers...

MK
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Timothy Chow

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Sep 29, 2021, 10:20:35 PMSep 29
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On 9/28/2021 7:58 PM, MK wrote:
> I can accept that you may have misundestood from the very beginning
> what I was expecting of you to do, i.e. compare Alpha-Hypestgammon
> derived equities to your Hypestgammon calculated equities (that I was
> questioning, just the same as for Hypergammon and regular Backgammon).

Oh, I see. That's fair. Unfortunately, my colleague was doing this as
a "lockdown project" and when the lockdown was eased, he abandoned it.
I'm a bit disappointed about that and I'm hoping he'll get back to it
someday.

By the way, AlphaZero is not exactly "untainted by human bias." It is
true that no "human expert knowledge" of the game is directly fed into
the algorithm, but there are tons of hyperparameters that can and must
be tweaked. This tweaking is an art and certainly involves human bias
in a sense. What happens is that the computer starts off playing like
an imbecile and then "evolving" by changing its weights so that it can
beat previous versions of itself. The human guides the process of
evolution. Different humans will guide the evolution along different
paths. This partially explains why, when people first tried to
reproduce AlphaZero Chess, there was a long process of trial and error
before they were able to get a chess engine that could beat Stockfish.

---
Tim Chow

MK

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Sep 30, 2021, 3:50:54 AMSep 30
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On September 29, 2021 at 8:20:35 PM UTC-6, Tim Chow wrote:

> On 9/28/2021 7:58 PM, MK wrote:

>> I can accept that you may have misundestood from the very beginning
>> what I was expecting of you to do, i.e. compare Alpha-Hypestgammon
>> derived equities to your Hypestgammon calculated equities (that I was
>> questioning, just the same as for Hypergammon and regular Backgammon).

> Oh, I see. That's fair. Unfortunately, my colleague was doing this as
> a "lockdown project" and when the lockdown was eased, he abandoned it.
> I'm a bit disappointed about that and I'm hoping he'll get back to it someday.

Actually I'm surprised that people like gnubg developers haven't tried it yet.

> By the way, AlphaZero is not exactly "untainted by human bias." It is.....
> reproduce AlphaZero Chess, there was a long process of trial and error
> before they were able to get a chess engine that could beat Stockfish.

I just can't understand why human tweaking is needed... Is it to expedite
the training/finalizing of the bot? Especially in order to beat a specific
adversary??

Random against random training would the purest but would probably
require the longest training to beat other bots. So, I suppose random
against XG of Gnubg training would reach the goal of beating those
bots with less but naturally more aimed training?

I wish I could tackle this myself but I would have to waste a ton of
time starting from square one. The only game programming I had
done was a jigsaw puzzle in the late 80's early 90's, for Windows 3.1
on an 486 machine, which is now seems like the Flinstones age of
computing... :)

Still, we still keep talking about it in as much detail as we can so that
anyone who may tackle eventually won't have think of everything by
himself. An Alpha-BG bot would be among the rare things that I would
be willing to pay money for and it doesn't exist... :((

MK

Timothy Chow

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Oct 1, 2021, 7:36:18 AMOct 1
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On 9/30/2021 3:50 AM, MK wrote:
> I just can't understand why human tweaking is needed... Is it to expedite
> the training/finalizing of the bot? Especially in order to beat a specific
> adversary??

The problem is much more basic. If you don't do any tweaking, the
training process can stall, with the program failing to get any better.
It might even get worse than it was before.

---
Tim Chow

MK

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Oct 1, 2021, 6:06:32 PMOct 1
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"Can stall"? Did it ever stall and and is that how you know? What if
it doesn't stall?

I really can't understand anything at all from your hypothetical and
vague statement. Would you can to expand, if you can? Perhaps
even giving some specific example cases?

MK

Timothy Chow

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Oct 1, 2021, 8:12:35 PMOct 1
to
I don't know what you mean by specific example cases. Of course I have
observed stalling. Stalling is normal. It's *not* stalling that is
hard, and that requires significant effort. If it doesn't stall, you
break out the champagne. If you've tried to do any nontrivial deep
learning you would already know all this.

---
Tim Chow

MK

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Oct 13, 2021, 4:06:31 AM (13 days ago) Oct 13
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On October 1, 2021 at 6:12:35 PM UTC-6, Tim Chow wrote:

> On 10/1/2021 6:06 PM, MK wrote:

>> I really can't understand anything at all from your hypothetical and
>> vague statement. Would you can to expand, if you can? Perhaps
>> even giving some specific example cases?

> I don't know what you mean by specific example cases.

I mean weather you are talking about alpha-hypestgammon specifically
or some other sorts of bots or hypotethically in general?

> Of course I have observed stalling. Stalling is normal. It's *not* stalling
> that is hard, and that requires significant effort. If it doesn't stall, you
> break out the champagne. If you've tried to do any nontrivial deep
> learning you would already know all this.

From this, I suppose we should understand that you did actually try to do
some "nontrivial" deep leaning yourself?

What kind of project was it? Or perhaps you were helping your "colleague"
with alpha-hypestgammon?

If so, what specif hyperparaneter/s did you "tweak" and how did you tweak?

We may not understand your math genius at once but we may with some
effort. Why don't you make and effort to give a try at explaining what you
are talking about?

If you don't know what you are talking about, well, that's okay too. We'll
understand that also and more easily... ;)

MK
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