[Q:] Some Computer Chess Questions

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MWells

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Sep 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/1/96
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Hi All,

I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
understand at all.

Can someone help me out with working defintions?

What is 'positional play?'
What is 'tactical play?'
How do they differ and is one more desirable than the other?
What is 'brute force' when applied to chess software, and why is it
that popular (or informed?) opinion devakues it (ie. why do I always
read: "... which isn't a bad result for brute force...")?

Thanks in advance,

M.
***
I call my pocketknife "Excalibur" 'cos I can't get out the blade...


Komputer Korner

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Sep 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/1/96
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In computer chess terms, positional and tactical mean the same things as
they do in human chess. As for brute force, it simply means that all
possible move candidates are condidered to a depth at which the time
control algorithm will allow. Humans do not play by brute force. They
play selectively so as to maximize their depth search in the most
important candidate lines. The amount of selective search or non brute
force is one measure of chess knowledge of a program.
--
Komputer Korner

Eran

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Sep 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/2/96
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MWells wrote:
>
> Hi All,
>
> I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
> have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
> understand at all.
>
> Can someone help me out with working defintions?
>
> What is 'positional play?'
> What is 'tactical play?'
> How do they differ and is one more desirable than the other?
> What is 'brute force' when applied to chess software, and why is it
> that popular (or informed?) opinion devakues it (ie. why do I always
> read: "... which isn't a bad result for brute force...")?
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> M.
> ***
> I call my pocketknife "Excalibur" 'cos I can't get out the blade...


Hi Mwells,

Positional play is when a chess player plays a slower game, knows where the chess pieces
are, strategically positions his chess pieces in good squares on the chess board very
carefully and analyzes openings and games and then makes a long strategic plan
carefully. Also, a chess player can be aware of what his opponent plans against him and
why. The game begins with opening, middle game and then endgame that way.

Tactical play is when a chess player plays a faster game such as blitz or lightning, and
at the same time since no chess player is aware of where their chess pieces are
and of what opponent's plan is and why. Faster games are very tactical oriented - they
are very popular on ICS or FICS, for instance - and they involve no careful strategic
plan. In other words, a chess player must be tactical and quick in play and tries to
fool his opponent into making any blunder without knowing what your plan really is.

The question is which is better positional or tactical play? Well, at least I can tell
you that tactical play is commonly distracted and aggressive, while positional play
requires long patience, discipline and lots of iron nerves. So, choosing the play style,
positional or tactical play, is up to any chess player's favor.

Now, as to brute force on comuter chess, brute force is a specific method for computer
chess. When brute force is on, all possible positions will be evaluated, without regard
to if they are good or bad. The main advantage is that there is no risk that the
computer will overlook a move. It may slow down the search time. It is good for
analyzing and studying chess games. If a chess player plans to let his personal computer
analyze any complicated game for a long time overnight, then he should activate brute
force.

Eran

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/2/96
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MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
: Hi All,
:
: I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
: have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
: understand at all.
:
: Can someone help me out with working defintions?
:
: What is 'positional play?'

Simply stated, positional play is simply "long-range" tactical play.
So long-range you can't see the outcome. An example is an isolated
pawn on an open file with rooks on the board. The pawn will likely
be lost, but you can't see far enough ahead to determine this. So,
just on "positional principles" you don't create one if you can help
it.

: What is 'tactical play?'

Moving pieces around and calculating the consequences. Such things
as Qxh7, sacking the queen for a forced mate. In tactical play, you
generally "analyze" the board position and you can "see" the outcome
of the series of moves you are considering. This includes things like
the Win At Chess set of problem positions, etc., any of which can be
solved by direct calculation, rather than by "intuition". Of course,
there are also positional points to tactical play, where you might make
a sac just because it looks strong enough, even without enough time
to calculate all the various lines to confirm that the move is good or
bad.


: How do they differ and is one more desirable than the other?

They are both integral to the game, unless you can calculate to
some unlimited depth.

: What is 'brute force' when applied to chess software, and why is it


: that popular (or informed?) opinion devakues it (ie. why do I always
: read: "... which isn't a bad result for brute force...")?

It's not the way human's play chess. As a result, there is great
dissatisfaction with the way the computer is playing. It's probably
exaggerated because the computers are getting pretty successful, even
if they don't play using the same "methodology" as a human. (of course,
no one knows how a human plays chess either, but that's another subject.)

:
: Thanks in advance,

:

Chris Whittington

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Sep 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/3/96
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hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>
> MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
> : Hi All,
> :
> : I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
> : have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
> : understand at all.
> :
> : Can someone help me out with working defintions?
> :
> : What is 'positional play?'
>
> Simply stated, positional play is simply "long-range" tactical play.
> So long-range you can't see the outcome.


No it isn't.

Positional play is play by general principles or knowledge.

You might want to play a black nite to e5 when white has a pawn on
e4 and no possibility of chasing the e5 nite with a pawn push to f4
or d4.

There may well be no 'loss' for white in this situation, its just
'good' for black to blockade the pawn. No way is this long-range
tactics.


Chris Whittington

Komputer Korner

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Sep 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/4/96
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Chris Whittington wrote:
>
> hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
> >
> > MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
> > : Hi All,
> > :
>snipped
> >
> > :

> > : Thanks in advance,
> > :
> > : M.
> > : ***
> > : I call my pocketknife "Excalibur" 'cos I can't get out the blade...
> > :


Great, we now have a new controversy. The question of whether positional
play is always subordinate in the end to tactics. In practice I guess it
doesn't really matter in the end, because if you can't figure it out to
a mate or draw, then positional evaluation will have to come into it.
Here is another definition, I will throw at you. A Positional type of
position is one where you can't figure it out all the way to the end in
a postal match. There is a 3rd type of position where there are lots of
tactics that eventually quiesce to a position where search is no longer
helpful because it would take too long to figure out all the
possibilities. All this won't help us play better chess though.
--
Komputer Korner

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/4/96
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Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
: >
: > MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
: > : Hi All,
: > :
: > : I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
: > : have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
: > : understand at all.
: > :
: > : Can someone help me out with working defintions?
: > :
: > : What is 'positional play?'
: >
: > Simply stated, positional play is simply "long-range" tactical play.
: > So long-range you can't see the outcome.
:
:
: No it isn't.

Yes it is. A trivial example: isolated pawn is weak, and everyone
knows to avoid one, particularly on open file with rooks still on the
board. However, *if* you could search deeply enough to confirm that
either you never lose it or can trade it, then you would not need to
avoid creating it. If, however, you discover it will be lost, you would
avoid making it. And do so with no "positional" knowledge at all, other
than the fact that you either lose a pawn or don't.

:
: Positional play is play by general principles or knowledge.

To cover up for a lack of depth or "vision". Rook on the 7th? no
problem if it doesn't (a) hem your king in; (b) win material; (c) decoy
pieces to defend pawns and prevent them from performing a more useful
function. If none of the above happen, stick your rook on my 7th. If
they do, I'll try to prevent it.

:
: You might want to play a black nite to e5 when white has a pawn on


: e4 and no possibility of chasing the e5 nite with a pawn push to f4
: or d4.

And in some games, the knight on e5 is worthless. In some games it will
win. Positional judgement says usually it's good, so do it. Deep tactical
accuracy proves that it's good or bad and would *always* be right.

:
: There may well be no 'loss' for white in this situation, its just


: 'good' for black to blockade the pawn. No way is this long-range
: tactics.

Why are you blockading the pawn? Tactical reasons of course. You don't want
me to advance and trade it, because you hope to win it later, or you want to
avoid the weakness that advancing/trading will create for you, a weakness that
a deep search will expose.

Only an idiot would prevent something from happening unless he has an "idea"
that this "something" is going to be bad for him. Games are *not* won by
positional play, they are won by winning material or mating the opponent.
If you can't see deeply enough to analyze everything, then "positional rules
of thumb" are the next best idea. Visualize a program that could search the
entire game tree to completion. What kind of positional knowledge would it
need? *none*...


:
:
: Chris Whittington

Mike

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Sep 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/4/96
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Chris Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote in article
<84178606...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk>...


> hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
> >
> > MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
> > : Hi All,
> > :
> > : I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
> > : have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
> > : understand at all.
> > :
> > : Can someone help me out with working defintions?
> > :
> > : What is 'positional play?'
> >
> > Simply stated, positional play is simply "long-range" tactical play.
> > So long-range you can't see the outcome.
>
>
> No it isn't.

wait a minute - look at the two examples - blocking a passed pawn or not
creating an isolani - they are both examples of positional play

>
> Positional play is play by general principles or knowledge.
>

> You might want to play a black nite to e5 when white has a pawn on
> e4 and no possibility of chasing the e5 nite with a pawn push to f4
> or d4.
>

> There may well be no 'loss' for white in this situation, its just
> 'good' for black to blockade the pawn. No way is this long-range
> tactics.

preventing a pawn from queening by blockading is a 'long range' tactic -
and it is a 'loss' for white - another term for 'long range' tactics
perhaps is 'strategy'.

>
>
> Chris Whittington
>
> > An example is an isolated
> > pawn on an open file with rooks on the board. The pawn will likely
> > be lost, but you can't see far enough ahead to determine this. So,
> > just on "positional principles" you don't create one if you can help
> > it.
> >

>[deleted]

Chris Whittington

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Sep 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/5/96
to

hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>
> Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:

> : hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
> : >
> : > MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
> : > : Hi All,
> : > :
> : > : I read this forum quite regularly and there are a couple of terms I
> : > : have encountered which I either don't clearly understand or don't
> : > : understand at all.
> : > :
> : > : Can someone help me out with working defintions?
> : > :
> : > : What is 'positional play?'
> : >
> : > Simply stated, positional play is simply "long-range" tactical play.
> : > So long-range you can't see the outcome.
> :
> :
> : No it isn't.
>
> Yes it is. A trivial example: isolated pawn is weak, and everyone
> knows to avoid one, particularly on open file with rooks still on the
> board. However, *if* you could search deeply enough to confirm that
> either you never lose it or can trade it, then you would not need to
> avoid creating it. If, however, you discover it will be lost, you would
> avoid making it. And do so with no "positional" knowledge at all, other
> than the fact that you either lose a pawn or don't.
>
> :
> : Positional play is play by general principles or knowledge.
>
> To cover up for a lack of depth or "vision". Rook on the 7th? no
> problem if it doesn't (a) hem your king in; (b) win material; (c) decoy
> pieces to defend pawns and prevent them from performing a more useful
> function. If none of the above happen, stick your rook on my 7th. If
> they do, I'll try to prevent it.
>
> :
> : You might want to play a black nite to e5 when white has a pawn on

> : e4 and no possibility of chasing the e5 nite with a pawn push to f4
> : or d4.
>
> And in some games, the knight on e5 is worthless. In some games it will
> win. Positional judgement says usually it's good, so do it. Deep tactical
> accuracy proves that it's good or bad and would *always* be right.
>
> :
> : There may well be no 'loss' for white in this situation, its just

> : 'good' for black to blockade the pawn. No way is this long-range
> : tactics.
>
> Why are you blockading the pawn? Tactical reasons of course. You don't want
> me to advance and trade it, because you hope to win it later, or you want to
> avoid the weakness that advancing/trading will create for you, a weakness that
> a deep search will expose.
>
> Only an idiot would prevent something from happening unless he has an "idea"
> that this "something" is going to be bad for him. Games are *not* won by
> positional play, they are won by winning material or mating the opponent.
> If you can't see deeply enough to analyze everything, then "positional rules
> of thumb" are the next best idea.

> Visualize a program that could search the
> entire game tree to completion. What kind of positional knowledge would it
> need? *none*...
>

This final paragraph explains your world view, where your argument is
going wrong and why ......

You posit this mythical beast, the all knowing chess program, the one
that gives the answer to life the universe and everything, the
DB mantra, the beast that doesn't and will never exist.

Your argument is about measuring all chess engines against this
god-engine.

And you're right, if the god-engine exists then there is no
positional, there is no knowledge, there is only tactics leading to
a result.

Your weak pawn isn't weak, you say, when the god-engine doesn't lose
the pawn - therefore the weak pawn is a long-range tactical concept,
either it is weak (tactically and shown to be lost by god-engine)
or it isn't (tactically and shown to be safe by god-engine); so you
say.

Your positional=long-range-tactics argument fails because of the
non-existence of the god-engine. Any chess game is not between
god1 and god2, or god1 and mortal, but between mortal and mortal (I
include computers as mortals here).

Have a counter argument:

Suppose a chess game between two mortals, say ELO 2400 each.

Suppose mortal_1 attacks mortal_2's 'weak' black pawn on c6 (weak
because on open file, and no other black pawn can defend it).

Let's say mortal_1 can build three pieces against the pawn, and
mortal_2 can build three pieces to defend it.

So far so good, the weak pawn is held safe. But what does white have ?
He has tied down three black pieces to defence, but then he's tied
down three white pieces to attack. *But*, crucially white can decide
when to release the attack, to transfer his attacker(s) elsewhere, this
gives white a substantial mobility and initiative advantage.

Suppose on the other side of the board, things are relatively equal,
each side has some maneouver capability there, and possibilities.

Now, suppose that the Hyatt god-engine says 'no win possible on
king side or queen side'. So this absolute, objective but unattainable
reality says the c6 pawn (remember that one?) is not weak, black is ok,
god-engine proves it by reducing all to total tactical knowledge.

But we know that there is no god-engine, just two 2400 ELO players, and
what I say is that 2400 ELO mortal white has a big advantage over
2400 ELO mortal black in such a position.

These mortals are fallible, they make errors; white, we've already said
has a mobility advantage and initiative. He has the ability to maneover
on the king side and to choose when to switch his attacking piece(s).
White can maneouver until black makes a mistake - so white has
a substantial *positional* advantage, quite possibly a game winning
advantage, and quite possibly *without* needing to capture the
'weak' pawn on c6.


If one side can accumulate several 'small' positional advantages, then
that side is in a better situation to exploit and provoke mistakes
by the opponent.

Positional is not long-range-tactics because the positional doesn't
have to resolve to be 'good'. Several 'small' positional advantages,
none of which may need to tactically resolve are 'good'; and by good
I mean give game winning chances against mortals.

Chris Whittington


Robert Hyatt

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Sep 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/5/96
to

Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
: >

No, I was just explaining that "positional" play is nothing more than
very deep tactics. Beginners often look for "forks" knowing they are
good, but in time, they forgot about them because they find the
tactical idea directly. Ditto for many positional ideas. They are
just the human way of saying "I think this is a good move in the long
range planning I understand, although I can't yet see how it's going
to help me win the game." Later, I reach a point where I say "thank
goodness for that knight on e5." If I could see deeply enough, I'd
put the knight there when it's needed, and move it somewhere else if
it's not.

:
: Your argument is about measuring all chess engines against this

I never argued that there was or wasn't such an engine, just made a
statement that positional chess = long-range tactical chess. The deeper
you search, the less useful some positional ideas are. At blitz speeds,
a human is likely playing almost *all* positional moves, and it works
well.

:
: These mortals are fallible, they make errors; white, we've already said


: has a mobility advantage and initiative. He has the ability to maneover
: on the king side and to choose when to switch his attacking piece(s).
: White can maneouver until black makes a mistake - so white has
: a substantial *positional* advantage, quite possibly a game winning
: advantage, and quite possibly *without* needing to capture the
: 'weak' pawn on c6.
:
:
: If one side can accumulate several 'small' positional advantages, then
: that side is in a better situation to exploit and provoke mistakes
: by the opponent.
:
: Positional is not long-range-tactics because the positional doesn't
: have to resolve to be 'good'. Several 'small' positional advantages,
: none of which may need to tactically resolve are 'good'; and by good
: I mean give game winning chances against mortals.
:
: Chris Whittington

No argument, other than to say that you learn positional ideas by making
mistakes, then saying to yourself, hey, that pawn was hard to defend, so
next time I have the opportunity, I'll avoid making it weak or try hard to
exchange it. That's still long-range tactics, just you learned it from
a backward analysis (hindsight.)

:
:
:

Don Fong

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Sep 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/5/96
to

In article <50n5gl$6...@juniper.cis.uab.edu>,

Robert Hyatt <hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu> wrote:
>Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>: hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>: > Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>: > : hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>: > : > MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:
>: > : > : Can someone help me out with working defintions?
>: > : > : What is 'positional play?'
>: > : > Simply stated, positional play is simply "long-range" tactical play.
>: > : > So long-range you can't see the outcome.
>: > : No it isn't.
>: > Yes it is. A trivial example: isolated pawn is weak, and everyone
>: > knows to avoid one, particularly on open file with rooks still on the
>: > board. However, *if* you could search deeply enough to confirm that
>: > either you never lose it or can trade it, then you would not need to
>: > avoid creating it.

re-read the original question. some beginner wanted a
"working definition" of positional play. your definition may be
self-consistent, but it is not very useful.

this reminds me of the story about the balloonist who was blown
astray by a freak storm. after the storm subsided, he was totally
lost and floating pretty low. he saw a building and he could see
a guy thru one of the windows. the balloonist shouts "WHERE AM I?".
the window guy shouts "YOU'RE IN A BALLOON". balloonist: "IS THIS
THE MATH BUILDING?" window guy: "YES, HOW DID YOU KNOW?"
balloonist: "BECAUSE YOUR ANSWER WAS 100% TRUE and 100% USELESS."
(substitute MATH/CS/IBM according to taste.)

>: > If, however, you discover it will be lost, you would


>: > avoid making it. And do so with no "positional" knowledge at all, other
>: > than the fact that you either lose a pawn or don't.

right, except that -if you knew that-, then it would no longer
be positional play by your definition.

[...]


>: > : Positional play is play by general principles or knowledge.
>: >
>: > To cover up for a lack of depth or "vision". Rook on the 7th? no
>: > problem if it doesn't (a) hem your king in; (b) win material;

hey, don't forget that "material" too is only a concept that
covers up for "lack of vision".

[...]


>No, I was just explaining that "positional" play is nothing more than
>very deep tactics.

[...]


>I never argued that there was or wasn't such an engine, just made a
>statement that positional chess = long-range tactical chess.

you can define it that way, but i don't think that is a useful
definition. because there is a qualitative difference between
the positional and tactical thinking. your definition obscures that.

>The deeper
>you search, the less useful some positional ideas are.

that may be so, however that was not the question.

--
--- don fong ``i still want the peace dividend''
--

Simon Read

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Sep 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/6/96
to

I can quite understand both points of view: the theoretical viewpoint
which says that it all comes down to long-range tactics and the end
result of the game, and the practical viewpoint which attempts to
make the *probably* best move, acknowledging the finite game-tree
which must be searched.

I notice that crafty does take a practical approach: in theory,
the a7 pawn is either safe or not safe to be taken by white's
bishop, and pure tactics will tell you which. In practice,
however, there is a term in the evaluation function which makes
that pawn appear to be unsafe.


I would like to see a viewpoint which encompasses both: there would
be a relationship between the amount of computation needed to obtain
a certain level of confidence that you've made the right move. The
theory would also tell you where that computation should best be
spent: search or evaluation. The more computation you put in, the
higher the probability that you've made the best move.

I think that that we _are_ getting there.
After much testing, Bob seems to have discovered that he can get
moves with a higher probability of correctness when there is a term
to express the cost of taking the a7 pawn. I am sure that Chris is
also discovering similar things and choosing whether to put effort
into searching or knowledge. It is fascinating to watch the
development of chess system tal and crafty, (and of course all other
programs reported here) as the knowledge/search tradeoff is explored
and understood better.

Simon


Vincent and Toni DiChiacchio

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Sep 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/7/96
to

i can help you with the brute force question. as far as the diff
between tactical and positional, i hope someone else provides an
answer for us both.
brute force is an approach which emphasizes sheer depth of moves in
evaluating a position rather than the subtleties of the position
itself. brute force slows down a computer by taking time extending
its calculations to positions that are insignificant.

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/7/96
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Vincent and Toni DiChiacchio (TAR_...@msn.com) wrote:
: i can help you with the brute force question. as far as the diff

Possibly. However "selective search" programs slow way down too, because
they have to carefully analyze moves that are not going to be searched to
make sure that something good is not being thrown out. Most of this is a
"wash" so that the difference is likely not too significant at present.

you'll see selective programs make gross blunders, while exhaustive
programs make mistakes because they don't "see" deeply enough. Again,
six of one, half-dozen of another.

mcl...@prima.ruhr.de

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Sep 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/7/96
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In article <50n5gl$6...@juniper.cis.uab.edu>, hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert
Hyatt) writes:

>Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>: hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>: >
>: > Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>: > : hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>: > : >
>: > : > MWells (mwe...@powerup.com.au) wrote:

>: > : > : Hi All,
>: > : > :
snip...


>: > Visualize a program that could search the
>: > entire game tree to completion. What kind of positional knowledge would
it
>: > need? *none*...
>: >
>:
>: This final paragraph explains your world view, where your argument is
>: going wrong and why ......
>:
>: You posit this mythical beast, the all knowing chess program, the one
>: that gives the answer to life the universe and everything, the
>: DB mantra, the beast that doesn't and will never exist.
>

>No, I was just explaining that "positional" play is nothing more than

>very deep tactics. Beginners often look for "forks" knowing they are
>good, but in time, they forgot about them because they find the
>tactical idea directly. Ditto for many positional ideas. They are
>just the human way of saying "I think this is a good move in the long
>range planning I understand, although I can't yet see how it's going
>to help me win the game." Later, I reach a point where I say "thank
>goodness for that knight on e5." If I could see deeply enough, I'd
>put the knight there when it's needed, and move it somewhere else if
>it's not.
>

When do the *realists* learn that in our world
words like

infinity
eternity
never

describe real existing objects and facts.

They always do as if their mortal existence forces the whole
universe to be mortal, and to limit all distances within
the search horizont of their brute-force engines / machines, that
need no indistinct evaluation but is perfectly calculated
UNTIL THE END OF THE SEARCH TREE (!!).

I have the suspicion that these *realists* are very
very religious, because they always imagine that their machines
could be GODS.

Maybe in the end, we find out, that those *realists*
are just fanatic members of a strange sect, studying
at universitys and project their machines as gods,
because they think themselves as gods.

REALISTS ??? Call them godfathers!

Positional play is NOT tactical play in a range of infinite.

Positional means, doing something where the end is not known.

Tactical ideas are normally computable (within the range of the horizont)
and can force material wins.

Positional implicates NOT knowing about the end.

It has something to do with feeling, experiences, and ideas.

Exactly that, what your machines will never learn. Maybe you will
never learn the same!

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/8/96
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mcl...@prima.ruhr.de wrote:
: In article <50n5gl$6...@juniper.cis.uab.edu>, hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert
:

How about this: I've taught lots of kids to play chess over the years.
One lesson might go like this: the game starts off with a typical
Sicilian, the student playing black. after e4 c5 nf3 d6, and a few
more moves, the student will often play e5 to drive my knight away from d4
for example. At that point I stop the game, and ask why they did that.

I then try to explain that they have created a weakness that is going to be
a problem for a while, because their d-pawn is now backward at d6. I shuffle
the pieces, making a few illegal moves, just to show them that after I double the
rooks on the d-file, they have to match me to hold the pawn, and they eventually
get the idea that a backward pawn is as bad as an isolated pawn (which it sort of
is).

Now, does it matter to either of us whether (a) I can see a direct way to win
that pawn (tactical) or (b) I suspect that I can win it; or (c) as a general
rule a backward pawn is a weakness if it can't be traded? The better your
chess skills improve, the more your tactical skills can refine this simple
idea, sort of like in the QGA, is the isolated d-pawn strong or weak?

I never meant to imply that anything would *ever* replace positional play.
However, a move is positionally weak only if it somehow affects the game in a
negative way. If you are absolutely certain that it won't, because you can see
to the point where the pawn is traded, you don't think about the pawn in a
positional sense, but in the same game, at a blitz time control, you'd likely
*still* avoid the backward pawn because you suspect it's bad. However, note that
if I don't lose it, and I don't tie up pieces defending it, then it's not a
positional weakness at all, since it didn't hurt the quality of my position at
all. That's why I say positional chess is simply very long-range tactical chess,
where we use intuition to replace concrete analysis because the depth is beyond
our ability to analyze.

Simple to understand in that light I think.

Chris Whittington

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Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
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Hmmm. Kasparov is a selective searcher not noted for his gross blunders.

It is true that his 'selectivity' slows him down real bad, but this
doesn't seem to be a problem.

six of one, 250 million nodes per second of the other ...

More seriously, the difference may be more significant than you think.

Chris Whittington


Ken Weiner

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Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
to

test



Robert Hyatt <hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu> wrote in article <511mg2$u...@juniper.cis.uab.edu>...
> Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> : hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:

> :
>
> Hard to say.  I had crafty follow one of the kasparov DB games, while it
> commented on ICC.  Kasparov made a couple of gross mistakes in that game,
> after Crafty noticed one really strong move, the GM commentators agreed
> that Kaspy's move was worse.  He still won, but it was a mistake.  I and
> others also found errors while other Kasparov games were in progress, not
> just the deep blue match..  He's not infallible by any stretch of the
> imagination.  :)
>
> BTW, I was talking about the "programming" side of this, ignoring the
> carbon-based question.  I have this "intuition" that says that a selective
> program has to spend about as much time "analyzing" what to throw away as
> I have to spend searching that same move.  In the very old selective version
> of Blitz, the selective analysis code became *large* (and in software circles,
> usually large -> buggy).  I certainly hope this is not the case for every
> circumstance, because I, too, am always playing around with selective
> forward pruning, not just the null-move type.  Unfortunately, I haven't found
> a magic bullet yet, although there are plenty of good attempts.  WchessX
> certainly comes to mind as being impossibly strong for a forward pruner, although
> it also forward prunes itself into huge holes at times, making an outright
> mistake that a 5 ply search (crafty) finds in about .01 seconds.  In other cases,
> it appears that he's outsearching me by 10 plies, which he may be in the right
> cases.  If he can eliminate more of the tactical blunders while not getting rid
> of his current percentage of forward pruning, it will be *most dangerous.*...
>
> Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Lone Ranger, disguised as a pool table,
> got his balls racked...  :)  I'm working on changing my disguise for Dave's
> program.  :)
>
> BTW, one thing WchessX does better than any program I've seen is attack.  If
> you don't make a king weakness, it's not so important, but if you do, it is
> *really* good at attacking.  CST ought to have a lot of fun with WchessX because
> they seem to be playing to each other's strength.  In Crafty's case, I'm trying
> to teach it to not expose a weakness that can be attacked, because then it does
> very well against WchessX, because it finds odd moves to win material in most
> games that the selective search seems to somehow miss.  (of course, my machine
> is 2-3x faster than his on ICC, which is yet another story...  :)  )
>
> Bob
>

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/9/96
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Dan Kirkland

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

In article <84228325...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> Chris Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> writes:
>hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:

[Cut, cut, cut. Don't ya just luv cutting?]

>> you'll see selective programs make gross blunders, while exhaustive
>> programs make mistakes because they don't "see" deeply enough. Again,
>> six of one, half-dozen of another.

>Hmmm. Kasparov is a selective searcher not noted for his gross blunders.
>
>It is true that his 'selectivity' slows him down real bad, but this
>doesn't seem to be a problem.
>
>six of one, 250 million nodes per second of the other ...
>
>More seriously, the difference may be more significant than you think.

Okay, it's me again...
And I still wanna know...

How does CSTAL do against Crafty.

Or, for that matter, how does CSTAL do against ANYBODY?
I mean, the way you been spouting off about all this
knowledge crap, your program should be rolling over all
the guys who use less knowledge but have deeper searches,
RIGHT?

TALK IS CHEAP! Let's hear about some results!

I will be expecting your program to beat-up on the
others Jakarta! If not, maybe you better spend less
time TALKING and more time PROVING!

YAWN!
dan

Moritz Berger

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
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Dan Kirkland <kirk...@ee.utah.edu> wrote in article
<5137bm$m...@ee.utah.edu>...

> Or, for that matter, how does CSTAL do against ANYBODY?
> I mean, the way you been spouting off about all this
> knowledge crap, your program should be rolling over all
> the guys who use less knowledge but have deeper searches,
> RIGHT?
>
> TALK IS CHEAP! Let's hear about some results!
>
> I will be expecting your program to beat-up on the
> others Jakarta! If not, maybe you better spend less
> time TALKING and more time PROVING!
>
> YAWN!
> dan
>
Exactly right! Chris is always making big statements here that all those
"dumb" brute-force searchers were on the wrong track. This might well be,
but I still have to see if his approach is more efficient at least in a
meaningful sample of positions (i.e. is faster in many cases or finds
moves that the brute-forcers don't).

I have already asked him some time ago via e-mail if it were possible to
get a beta copy of CST. I have received no response. It would be
interesting if he could be persuaded to reveal at least some parts of his
approach (e.g. how he incorporates knowledge into his program). If his
claims are true and CST is indeed fundamentaly different from other chess
programs he would not likely lose his edge over the competition (if he
indeed has something better which offers any kind of improvement).

My concern is that if you implement too much chess knowledge (e.g. 1/10th
of a human GMs evaluation patterns), this will eventually lead to
mutually incompatible goals for the program and thus cannot replace a
as-deep-as-possible search to find out which move is best.

I see the benefits of chess knowledge as a tool to achieve a good move
ordering (which is most important for overall search speed) and as a
trigger for search extensions. However, most programs (AFAIK) apply chess
knowledge only at the root of the search tree to avoid a costly
evaluation at each node. This can cause problems deeper in the search
tree when certain positional criteria change e.g. by exchanges that lead
to a different phase of the game (middle to endgame). One example to
implement "root-node-knowledge" is the CHE language in Nimzo 3.

Here is why speed is still important: The faster you are, the more
knowledge-based search extensions you can afford (this fact has already
been pointed out by some others here). This is the main pro and con of
the Deep Blue approach: They are fast, but have to rely on their host
software to implement knowledge triggers for their specialized search
chips. Thus, their limit for a meaningful selective search might be not
in their extremely fast search hardware but in the host machine which is
AFAIK probably not that much faster than an ordinary PC (my knowledge is
a bit outdated, I know that they used to have an IBM RISC RS 6000
workstation as host back in the days of Deep Thought). If they would move
their host program to a very fast supercomputer (e.g. Cray) this could
change, so I think there's still some hope - if they know how to
implement meaningful chess knowledge and balance the computational work
between their "simple" (let's call it simple) evaluation in the custom
chips and the "complicated" evaluation function in the host program that
needs not to be applied at each node.

Back to Chris and CST: Tell us how will beat Kasparov!

Moritz

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
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Dan Kirkland (kirk...@ee.utah.edu) wrote:

: In article <84228325...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> Chris Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> writes:
: >hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
:
: [Cut, cut, cut. Don't ya just luv cutting?]
:
: >> you'll see selective programs make gross blunders, while exhaustive
: >> programs make mistakes because they don't "see" deeply enough. Again,
: >> six of one, half-dozen of another.
:
: >Hmmm. Kasparov is a selective searcher not noted for his gross blunders.
: >
: >It is true that his 'selectivity' slows him down real bad, but this
: >doesn't seem to be a problem.
: >
: >six of one, 250 million nodes per second of the other ...
: >
: >More seriously, the difference may be more significant than you think.
:
: Okay, it's me again...
: And I still wanna know...
:
: How does CSTAL do against Crafty.
:
: Or, for that matter, how does CSTAL do against ANYBODY?

: I mean, the way you been spouting off about all this
: knowledge crap, your program should be rolling over all
: the guys who use less knowledge but have deeper searches,
: RIGHT?
:
: TALK IS CHEAP! Let's hear about some results!
:
: I will be expecting your program to beat-up on the
: others Jakarta! If not, maybe you better spend less
: time TALKING and more time PROVING!
:
: YAWN!
: dan

It's not so easy for Chris to compare results with other programs yet. If
he's making progress in king attacks, that's going to produce better results
against humans than against computers at first (from experience, BTW, if you
remember the days a few months back where Crafty always castled opposite and
pushed those damn pawns... :) ). As a result, he may play much better than
Crafty against humans, and do poorly against crafty until all the wrinkles are
ironed out. (of course, he might also beat crafty easily, who knows.)

However, I don't write *any* approach off just because it loses to a program
like Crafty or Ferret, nor would I jump up and down about the new breakthrough
if they do. Crafty is but *one* hurdle in his way. There are *many*, lots
of them having names starting with "K". :)

He's begun to play on ICC, so maybe we'll see more of CST and how it
plays. I hold hope for everyone here, any way to make progress is still
progress, no matter what the methodology...

Bob

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

Moritz Berger (ber...@athene.informatik.uni-bonn.de) wrote:
: Dan Kirkland <kirk...@ee.utah.edu> wrote in article
: <5137bm$m...@ee.utah.edu>...

: > Or, for that matter, how does CSTAL do against ANYBODY?
: > I mean, the way you been spouting off about all this
: > knowledge crap, your program should be rolling over all
: > the guys who use less knowledge but have deeper searches,
: > RIGHT?
: >
: > TALK IS CHEAP! Let's hear about some results!
: >
: > I will be expecting your program to beat-up on the
: > others Jakarta! If not, maybe you better spend less
: > time TALKING and more time PROVING!
: >
: > YAWN!
: > dan
: >
: Exactly right! Chris is always making big statements here that all those

They are now running on an IBM SP, which is a sort of "low end" supercomputer
with multiple processors, shared memory, high memory bandwidth, etc. When you
study their hardware you find that the search is broken into two parts: (1)
the part handled by the software on the SP, which is where all the extensions
and so forth are done; and (2) the part done in the chess chip itself.

Their chess chip is used in two ways (as of my last conversation with Hsu and
Campbell, which is now about two years old). First, each chip has a chess board,
move generator, move make/unmake, etc. They use this for the entire search,
both in parts (1) and (2) above. Once they reach some specific depth (distance
from the current ply to the end of the full-width part of the search) they hand
the positions off to the various chess processors which then use their full
alpha/beta tree search to return a search value for each position the processors
are given. Since the speed of these processors is fixed by the design and
clock speed they operate at, going to a faster processor (than the SP) doesn't
serve much of a useful purpose, because a faster machine would search deeper
in the software, resulting in more terminal positions for the chess hardware
to search to some fixed depth. This would produce work faster than the chess
hardware could complete the searches, and result in a bottleneck. If you go
the other way, and run on too slow a base machine, the basic search could not
produce positions fast enough and the chess processors would be idle. Hsu
reported that he was always working with the goal of about 90% usage of the
chess processors to make sure the software part of the search wasn't acting
as a bottleneck. However, as you can see, if you make the software part
faster by running on a cray, you have to do something to search the increased
volume of positions this produces. At present, this is done by cloning more of
the chess processors. However, using more and more processors is yet another
problem, and in the case of Deep Blue, it's a two level problem, because the
SP has multiple processors, with each processor driving multiple chess
processors. Keeping all this in "balance" is obviously (to me, anyway) a
real *trick*. Just making that work reasonably well is quite an accomplishment.

:
: Back to Chris and CST: Tell us how will beat Kasparov!
:
: Moritz

Chris Whittington

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
>
> Dan Kirkland (kirk...@ee.utah.edu) wrote:
> : In article <84228325...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> Chris Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> writes:
> : >hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote:
> :
> : [Cut, cut, cut. Don't ya just luv cutting?]
> :
> : >> you'll see selective programs make gross blunders, while exhaustive
> : >> programs make mistakes because they don't "see" deeply enough. Again,
> : >> six of one, half-dozen of another.
> :
> : >Hmmm. Kasparov is a selective searcher not noted for his gross blunders.
> : >
> : >It is true that his 'selectivity' slows him down real bad, but this
> : >doesn't seem to be a problem.
> : >
> : >six of one, 250 million nodes per second of the other ...
> : >
> : >More seriously, the difference may be more significant than you think.
> :
> : Okay, it's me again...
> : And I still wanna know...
> :
> : How does CSTAL do against Crafty.
> :
> : Or, for that matter, how does CSTAL do against ANYBODY?
> : I mean, the way you been spouting off about all this
> : knowledge crap, your program should be rolling over all
> : the guys who use less knowledge but have deeper searches,
> : RIGHT?
> :
> : TALK IS CHEAP! Let's hear about some results!
> :
> : I will be expecting your program to beat-up on the
> : others Jakarta! If not, maybe you better spend less
> : time TALKING and more time PROVING!
> :
> : YAWN!
> : dan
>
> It's not so easy for Chris to compare results with other programs yet. If
> he's making progress in king attacks, that's going to produce better results
> against humans than against computers at first (from experience, BTW, if you
> remember the days a few months back where Crafty always castled opposite and
> pushed those damn pawns... :) ). As a result, he may play much better than
> Crafty against humans, and do poorly against crafty until all the wrinkles are
> ironed out. (of course, he might also beat crafty easily, who knows.)
>
> However, I don't write *any* approach off just because it loses to a program
> like Crafty or Ferret, nor would I jump up and down about the new breakthrough
> if they do. Crafty is but *one* hurdle in his way. There are *many*, lots
> of them having names starting with "K". :)
>
> He's begun to play on ICC, so maybe we'll see more of CST and how it
> plays. I hold hope for everyone here, any way to make progress is still
> progress, no matter what the methodology...
>
> Bob


If you'ld like some technical information then fine.

But, last time I was asked to provide some details of my ideas, the immediate result
was an emotional attack by Gillgasch, some flames, and a kill file within three days.

I'm more than willing to have a discussion with people of goodwill, but,
unfortunately, on this news group, there are persons who will take the
opportunity, whenever one of their pet hates puts it's head over the parapet,
to get out the flame gun.

To answer Moritz and Kirkland directly:
I have *never* made the claim that CSTal will be top of the SSDF, or beat
other micro programs, or beat DB.
I have said that the approach I use is probably the only way that will
ultimately work, but I've not said it would be my program that did it.
I have said a great deal about what I believe to be the 'correct' way to
design chess programs, and I have generally attacked the brute-force/speed
concept, specifically the ideas behind DB, and occasionally the 'complex
knowledge is best left to the search' ideas of Bob's.

So I don't really go along with this Desperate Dan the Macho Man's put_up
or_shut_up show-down at the OK Corral way of resolving contentious issues.

Nor with Gillgasch's if_you_haven't_written_a_chess_program you've got
nothing to say approach.

For me that is the language of the playground, or of the milky-bar kid playing
cowboys. I prefer to take the line that everybody, even a fool, has something
of interest to say. Its just a question of wanting to listen.

So here goes:

Chess System Tal is almost finished. I've been converting the engine from assembler
to C and rewriting and adding chunks at the same time.
The last elements are a little endgame code (opposition and some freepawn stuff);
and a general bug hunt.

But it is playable, and has been subject to various tests over the past couple of
months.

1. Last BT2630 test gave a rating of 2419 (PPro 200)
position solve times:
1,22,9,0,64,3,1,1,53,1,
1,0,6,2,1,1,0,8,101,1,
xxx,113,196,130,xxx,xxx,219,xxx,xxx,xxx

2. Autoplayer results. It plays against a mixture of MChess4, MChess5, Nimzo3
Frtiz3. Genius3 and Hiarcs3.
Why these ? Well I have them, they all have autoplayer functionality, they all
have a SSDF ELO grade.
Games are either on P90 or PPro200 (both programs on equivalent hardware),
and are at 60 moves in 60 minutes tournament mode.

I tend to play 50 to 150 games in a series, and then work out an ELO rating
from the results.
On 3 August CST was grading at 2330
On 21 August CST was grading at 2345
On 29 August CST was grading at 2380
On 31 August CST was grading at 2420
On 2 September CST was grading at 2385
On 4 September CST was grading at 2419
On 6 September CST was grading at 2415

Don't tell me I need more games - I know.
Don't tell me I need a wider range of computer opponents - I know.
Don't tell me there's a danger of tuning against specific opponents - I know.
Don't tell me I should vary the times - I know.

3. ICC
Cstal-x has recently played a few games on the ICC.
It has won about 5 games or so against some weak human players.
It got smashed by a sacrificial attacking 2000 player in two games.

It played Nimzo3 (which was on a Pentium, I think), result a win and a draw.
It played Ban (Israeli program), result draw, except I pressed the resign button
instead of the draw button, but that's life.
It played Chess Genius (on Pentium) and lost both games.
It played ChessMaster 4000 (133Mhz) and won one game.

I think at the moment it has been given a 2000 rating, (it needs to stop
playing 1400 rated humans !) from the rated games against humans.

I also tried some fast-ish blitz without time increment, but, since it's on
manual operation, my fingers can't keep up with the moves; so proper
blitz will have to wait for an auto interface.

And lastly, some games, I kept getting thrown off the line every 5 minutes, so
there are a couple of adjournments to finish off.

If there are any program operators that want to set up a match, no problem, I'm
not on ICC very much, but you can email me to arrange a time. Preferably
after 20.00 GMT. And preferably 15 10 or so because (a) its manually
operated, and (b) CST is not designed as a blitz engine and (c) I like
talking during the game.

I did challenge Crafty to a match, but it said 'go away - your grade is too low' !

4. Current engine criticisms that need attending to:
a) Thorsten Czub who tests in Germany reckons that the Tal function is
currently on Valium and needs waking up.
b) he is also disappointed with the results against Genius, so I need to look
at these.
c) Its certainly still buggy, and. probably,as of yesterday, broken somewhere.

Chris Whittington

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
:
: If you'ld like some technical information then fine.

:
: But, last time I was asked to provide some details of my ideas, the immediate result
: was an emotional attack by Gillgasch, some flames, and a kill file within three days.
:
: I'm more than willing to have a discussion with people of goodwill, but,
: unfortunately, on this news group, there are persons who will take the
: opportunity, whenever one of their pet hates puts it's head over the parapet,
: to get out the flame gun.

I agree. no name-calling, no putting any program down, other than to compare
something we do well with something another program does poorly, which should
be fair game here of course.

:
: To answer Moritz and Kirkland directly:


: I have *never* made the claim that CSTal will be top of the SSDF, or beat
: other micro programs, or beat DB.
: I have said that the approach I use is probably the only way that will
: ultimately work, but I've not said it would be my program that did it.
: I have said a great deal about what I believe to be the 'correct' way to
: design chess programs, and I have generally attacked the brute-force/speed
: concept, specifically the ideas behind DB, and occasionally the 'complex
: knowledge is best left to the search' ideas of Bob's.

This is a touchy topic. I posted a year ago that I know "what it takes to write
a program that would stick near or at the top of the SSDF", and also posted that
I'm not particularly interested in that goal. I'm more interested in finding ways
to plug weaknesses in crafty so that it does better against GM's. I've been quite
surprised by some longer games (say 30 0) where it's outplayed lots of IM's and GM's,
really amazing me in the process. And then it plays a game where I can see that it's
happily digging itself into a deep hole, and it doesn't get too concerned until just
as the tide starts "coming in." In this case, I think that Chris and I are after
the same end result, with differing approaches to pursuing that result. Which is
better won't be known for some time. I suspect something in between what we are
doing will do the trick, but it will take time...

:
: So I don't really go along with this Desperate Dan the Macho Man's put_up

Go back to august 31... :)

Just kidding of course. I have the same problem. You wouldn't believe the
number that have downloaded Crafty (over 40,000 at last count) and who report
back that V9.17 is better than 9.31 in autoplay against each other, or that
version 9.27 is getting clobbered by 8.13.

In my case, I simply believe in what I'm doing. I try to run tests to see
if a new version is better, but I don't necessarily use just test suites, but
include intuition and ICC performance as well. I've slowly ruined it on some
tactical tests like WAC, but have seen its rating steadily improve and the
comments from players like Roman seem to support that it's better. I run things
like Bt2630 on occasion, but don't study the positions to try and make it do
better. The old CCR test suite killed Crafty, but I chose to ignore that too
for the time being. I am beginning to tune seriously, so I pay more attention,
but am careful to match playing on ICC against suites. I don't want a lousy chess
player but a great problem solver.

:
: Don't tell me I need more games - I know.


: Don't tell me I need a wider range of computer opponents - I know.
: Don't tell me there's a danger of tuning against specific opponents - I know.
: Don't tell me I should vary the times - I know.
:
: 3. ICC
: Cstal-x has recently played a few games on the ICC.
: It has won about 5 games or so against some weak human players.
: It got smashed by a sacrificial attacking 2000 player in two games.

Aha. Here's problem #1 you have to solve. :)

Bruce Moreland and I have seen this far too many times to think about,
and we've taken action in the king-safety code of Ferret and Crafty to
help. A couple of months ago, Bruce was complaining about the classic
attack where black plays Bg4 pinning the knight, white plays h3 attacking
the bishop, and black plays h5 defending the bishop. Taking with hxg4
followed by hxg4 leaves black with a rook on the open h-file and an
impending attack that can be a killer. In many cases I've seen crafty
play this h5 move itself because it can see deeply enough to know that
the opponent can't take, but in some it can't. Bruce asked me how I had
gotten around this because Ferret was running into it relatively frequently.
I told him easy, Crafty *never* plays the h3 move to drive the bishop away,
knowing that h3 gives black a target. Of course it occasionally has to
struggle with a weak back rank, but that's much easier to handle than
a long-range attack when you are a piece up but almost lost.

If you get an auto-interface, you'd better work on your king threat
code a bunch, because you are going to get this attack stuff over and
over. One reason why I say that I feel comfortable with the way Crafty
is playing, because it takes on all comers, same opening over and over
if they want, and fights like hell through these attacks. It does lose
some, particularly in the odd StoneWall that I haven't taken care of, but
it's become less and less of a problem for either Bruce or myself.

Join the crowd, get ready for lots of action, and have fun. Of course,
this does *nothing* to help in Jakarta because no programs are going to
attack like that that I'm aware of, possibly excepting WchessX which I
didn't see on the list.

:
: It played Nimzo3 (which was on a Pentium, I think), result a win and a draw.


: It played Ban (Israeli program), result draw, except I pressed the resign button
: instead of the draw button, but that's life.
: It played Chess Genius (on Pentium) and lost both games.
: It played ChessMaster 4000 (133Mhz) and won one game.
:
: I think at the moment it has been given a 2000 rating, (it needs to stop
: playing 1400 rated humans !) from the rated games against humans.
:
: I also tried some fast-ish blitz without time increment, but, since it's on
: manual operation, my fingers can't keep up with the moves; so proper
: blitz will have to wait for an auto interface.
:
: And lastly, some games, I kept getting thrown off the line every 5 minutes, so
: there are a couple of adjournments to finish off.
:
: If there are any program operators that want to set up a match, no problem, I'm
: not on ICC very much, but you can email me to arrange a time. Preferably
: after 20.00 GMT. And preferably 15 10 or so because (a) its manually
: operated, and (b) CST is not designed as a blitz engine and (c) I like
: talking during the game.
:
: I did challenge Crafty to a match, but it said 'go away - your grade is too low' !

I'll leave you a message on ICC with instructions on how to get around this. I
have a -400 point rating floor to prevent weaker players from sitting on crafty
and playing 30 games, because I get very little from 30 wins in a row. I let it
play unrated and lower-rated players, but I do this by manually telling it to match
or accept when I'm on. You are welcome to play anytime you want, Bruce, Mark Lefler,
John Stanback, Martin Zentner (on occasion) and others are usually congregated in
channel 64 discussing computer chess, feel free to join us.

:
: 4. Current engine criticisms that need attending to:


: a) Thorsten Czub who tests in Germany reckons that the Tal function is
: currently on Valium and needs waking up.
: b) he is also disappointed with the results against Genius, so I need to look
: at these.
: c) Its certainly still buggy, and. probably,as of yesterday, broken somewhere.

:

Been there, done that, likely doin' it tomorrow. :) I've written operating
systems and compilers, but I'd swear that as I've gotten older, my programming
has gone downhill faster than my vision. I can write a piece of code today, look
at it tomorrow, and wonder who wrote something so obviously wrong, fix it, look at
it again the next and undo all those fixes. :) Maybe it's the complexity, or the
bitmap stuff that is not always easy to read, or, of course age. I suspect the
latter and am glad I got the O/S development out of my blood at an earlier age.
While I still knew what I was doing and how to do it right. :)

Simon Read

unread,
Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

RH: hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu (Robert Hyatt) wrote, referring
RH: to Chess System Tal I think:
RH> He's begun to play on ICC, so maybe we'll see more of CST and
RH> how it plays. I hold hope for everyone here, any way to make
RH> progress is still progress, no matter what the methodology...
-->
Really? Chess System Tal on a chess server? May I put in a request
for CST on a free chess server, such as FICS or one of the
European servers? (I prefer a European server since it's closer to
me and generally less busy.)

Then those of us not on ICC can have a look. Please, Chris?

Simon


brucemo

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

Chris Whittington wrote:

> If you'ld like some technical information then fine.
>
> But, last time I was asked to provide some details of my ideas, the immediate result
> was an emotional attack by Gillgasch, some flames, and a kill file within three days.

>[snip]


> 3. ICC
> Cstal-x has recently played a few games on the ICC.
> It has won about 5 games or so against some weak human players.
> It got smashed by a sacrificial attacking 2000 player in two games.
>
> It played Nimzo3 (which was on a Pentium, I think), result a win and a draw.
> It played Ban (Israeli program), result draw, except I pressed the resign button
> instead of the draw button, but that's life.
> It played Chess Genius (on Pentium) and lost both games.
> It played ChessMaster 4000 (133Mhz) and won one game.
>
> I think at the moment it has been given a 2000 rating, (it needs to stop
> playing 1400 rated humans !) from the rated games against humans.
>
> I also tried some fast-ish blitz without time increment, but, since it's on
> manual operation, my fingers can't keep up with the moves; so proper
> blitz will have to wait for an auto interface.
>
> And lastly, some games, I kept getting thrown off the line every 5 minutes, so
> there are a couple of adjournments to finish off.
>
> If there are any program operators that want to set up a match, no problem, I'm
> not on ICC very much, but you can email me to arrange a time. Preferably
> after 20.00 GMT. And preferably 15 10 or so because (a) its manually
> operated, and (b) CST is not designed as a blitz engine and (c) I like
> talking during the game.
>
> I did challenge Crafty to a match, but it said 'go away - your grade is too low' !

I think this is a very constructive post. I'm the one that asked you for technical
information originally. I asked for some and you posted some, so that was a successful
interchange, in my opinion. I don't think people should pee on you for taking
a different approach, one simple reason is that diversity of approach should be
encouraged, we will get where we are going more reliably if we approach from several
different angles. My own angle is brute force with end-point eval + null-move pruning or
whatever else I can think of. Not very original but I'm going to do it as well as I can.

It's good to see that you are on ICC. My own program isn't on much these days, but will
be on more as I get my home office situation stabilized. I'm not sure if you had a good
time but it sounds like you got a good start at least.

A 2000-rated human is the most dangerous creature on the net.

bruce

Peter W. Gillgasch

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Sep 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/10/96
to

Chris Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:

[ snip ]

> If you'ld like some technical information then fine.
>
> But, last time I was asked to provide some details of my ideas, the
> immediate result was an emotional attack by Gillgasch,

I ask you again to reproduce that "emotional attack". As far as I
remember the whole thing started with me mentioning Slate/Atkin which
you then grossly misinterpreted as "only university knowledge counts"
statement. I corrected that statement but you decided to ignore this
correction and continued to proliferate that misinterpretation, this
time with full knowledge that it is simply not the truth, and you added
a couple of other nice stuff. That was pretty much what happened.

> some flames, and a kill file within three days.

The kill file is the reason for my ability to read this post. Sure. Go
and cultivate the myth of the censored Whittington.

> I'm more than willing to have a discussion with people of goodwill, but,
> unfortunately, on this news group, there are persons who will take the
> opportunity, whenever one of their pet hates puts it's head over the
> parapet, to get out the flame gun.

Unfortunately on this news group there are folks who need someone on
whom they can project their hatred. I am happy to serve this purpose
since they obviously __do__ need this for some reason - which I am happy
to fail to understand completely :-)

[ snip ]

> So I don't really go along with this Desperate Dan the Macho Man's put_up
> or_shut_up show-down at the OK Corral way of resolving contentious issues.
>
> Nor with Gillgasch's if_you_haven't_written_a_chess_program you've got
> nothing to say approach.

Its more of a "if you haven't written a chess program then don't call
those who did names" approach. Minor difference.

> For me that is the language of the playground, or of the milky-bar kid playing
> cowboys.

Hear hear. Whittington, a child is someone who hopes that Black Peter
will not talk with him at Christmas :-)

[ Interesting data snipped ]

-- Peter


A.Mader

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

Moritz Berger wrote:
< snip >

>
> I see the benefits of chess knowledge as a tool to achieve a good move
> ordering (which is most important for overall search speed) and as a
> trigger for search extensions. However, most programs (AFAIK) apply chess
> knowledge only at the root of the search tree to avoid a costly
> evaluation at each node. This can cause problems deeper in the search
> tree when certain positional criteria change e.g. by exchanges that lead
> to a different phase of the game (middle to endgame). One example to
> implement "root-node-knowledge" is the CHE language in Nimzo 3.
> <snip>

Nimzo3 hasn't only implemented "root-node-knowledge". Sure advices like
"goodmove", "badmove" or "movetosqrs" are of that kind, but when you take
"goodsqrs" or "badsqrs" Nimzo3 has the "knowledge" in the whole tree.

It is true that "root-node-knowledge" has its problems.
Nimzo now plays a good move but the bad move is still in the search tree.
Chrilly Donninger tried to use the knowledge of i.e. "goodmove" in the
whole tree. The result was that Nimzo played a bad move because the good
move was in the search tree! I think that's worse.

A. Mader

Chris Whittington

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

gil...@ilk.de (Peter W. Gillgasch) wrote:
>
> Chris Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> [ snip ]
>
> > If you'ld like some technical information then fine.
> >
> > But, last time I was asked to provide some details of my ideas, the
> > immediate result was an emotional attack by Gillgasch,
>
> I ask you again to reproduce that "emotional attack". As far as I
> remember the whole thing started with me mentioning Slate/Atkin which
> you then grossly misinterpreted as "only university knowledge counts"
> statement. I corrected that statement but you decided to ignore this
> correction and continued to proliferate that misinterpretation, this
> time with full knowledge that it is simply not the truth, and you added
> a couple of other nice stuff. That was pretty much what happened.
>
> > some flames, and a kill file within three days.
>
> The kill file is the reason for my ability to read this post. Sure. Go
> and cultivate the myth of the censored Whittington.
>
> > I'm more than willing to have a discussion with people of goodwill, but,
> > unfortunately, on this news group, there are persons who will take the
> > opportunity, whenever one of their pet hates puts it's head over the
> > parapet, to get out the flame gun.
>
> Unfortunately on this news group there are folks who need someone on
> whom they can project their hatred. I am happy to serve this purpose
> since they obviously __do__ need this for some reason - which I am happy
> to fail to understand completely :-)
>
> [ snip ]
>
> > So I don't really go along with this Desperate Dan the Macho Man's put_up
> > or_shut_up show-down at the OK Corral way of resolving contentious issues.
> >
> > Nor with Gillgasch's if_you_haven't_written_a_chess_program you've got
> > nothing to say approach.
>
> Its more of a "if you haven't written a chess program then don't call
> those who did names" approach. Minor difference.
>
> > For me that is the language of the playground, or of the milky-bar kid playing
> > cowboys.
>
> Hear hear. Whittington, a child is someone who hopes that Black Peter
> will not talk with him at Christmas :-)
>
> [ Interesting data snipped ]
>
> -- Peter
>

This is just silly.


Chris Whittington

Chris Whittington

unread,
Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

OK.

The reason I'm on ICC:

1. I could successfully telnet to it and get in

2. I coudn't successfully get into anything else.

3. Blitzin 1.1 only appears to dial up ICC and nothing else.

Very pleased to be on FICS or whatever, but how ?

Final plea for help. I woudl like the make CSTal into a
general purpose chess server access interface. Any ideas how ?

Sorry to appear such a dummy, but I just do the chess engine side,
all the GUI coding is someone else's responsibility with which
I've studiously avoided all contact or knowledge.

Chris Whittington

Chris Whittington

unread,
Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

Yes, I think one needs *one* testing concept, and stick with it.
Occasionally cross-referencing to another test.

My feeling is that tuning to test-suites is a disaster. Resulting
in going backwards, whilst having the fine feeling of progress.
Very seductive, but its no good. Reason: test-suites contain
positions to be solved, add the right selective extensions and
you'll solve them; and, simultaneously, clog up your program so
it has reduced general search depth - result, play a chess *game*
and have next to no look ahead.

Crafty appears to have selected ICC humans as its test bed.

I've been using other chess programs.

My guess is that most of the commercial programs are busy
testing against each other.

I find that autoplay against other programs is the fastest way
to discover if something is going wrong, largely because the
opposition is consistent - something that ICC humans are not.

> :
> : Don't tell me I need more games - I know.
> : Don't tell me I need a wider range of computer opponents - I know.
> : Don't tell me there's a danger of tuning against specific opponents - I know.
> : Don't tell me I should vary the times - I know.
> :
> : 3. ICC
> : Cstal-x has recently played a few games on the ICC.
> : It has won about 5 games or so against some weak human players.
> : It got smashed by a sacrificial attacking 2000 player in two games.
>
> Aha. Here's problem #1 you have to solve. :)
>
> Bruce Moreland and I have seen this far too many times to think about,
> and we've taken action in the king-safety code of Ferret and Crafty to
> help. A couple of months ago, Bruce was complaining about the classic
> attack where black plays Bg4 pinning the knight, white plays h3 attacking
> the bishop, and black plays h5 defending the bishop. Taking with hxg4
> followed by hxg4 leaves black with a rook on the open h-file and an
> impending attack that can be a killer. In many cases I've seen crafty
> play this h5 move itself because it can see deeply enough to know that
> the opponent can't take, but in some it can't. Bruce asked me how I had
> gotten around this because Ferret was running into it relatively frequently.
> I told him easy, Crafty *never* plays the h3 move to drive the bishop away,
> knowing that h3 gives black a target. Of course it occasionally has to
> struggle with a weak back rank, but that's much easier to handle than
> a long-range attack when you are a piece up but almost lost.

It's the most complex and interesting component of the whole chess
area.

Better than not playing h3, would be to measure better the value
of the black stuff coming down the h-file. But that's a whole
lot of knowledge and processing needed.


Ok, thanks, will do.

Chris Whittington

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:

Good point, in that humans are very inconsistent. If you look at Crafty
vs a GM long-term, you get one picture, if you observe crafty vs that GM
tonite, Crafty might win 20 in a row. Tomorrow afternoon it might lose
10 in a row. Fatigue, outside distractions, etc.. all affect the
results, which means I can't really make a change and then watch for
4 hours and say "wow" or "crap". It takes a week or even two. When you
fold in the stuff you *have* to do on ICC, like more random book play to
avoid getting killed with the same bad line, then it's more difficult
to evaluate. I essentially have to look at each game and say "oooohh... bad
opening" or "ouch, mis-evaluated that passed pawn." Slow at best...

:
: > :

I agree. King safety has grown more than any other component in the
evaluation. I've probably only re-written it 10 times in the past
two years. Used to be a huge joke between Bruce and me... "rewritten your
king safety yet this week?" We did it frequently for a while. I will add
that the depth I'm now getting (7-9 in blitz) has helped a whole lot, but
not nearly enough of course...

:
: >
: > If you get an auto-interface, you'd better work on your king threat

: >
: >
:

mcl...@prima.ruhr.de

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

In article <199609102152193087868@[194.121.104.138]>, gil...@ilk.de (Peter W.
Gillgasch) writes:

>Unfortunately on this news group there are folks who need someone on
>whom they can project their hatred. I am happy to serve this purpose
>since they obviously __do__ need this for some reason - which I am happy
>to fail to understand completely :-)
>

Hello Peter!
I would like to answer to the above.
I don't hate you. I don't need you or others to project hate.
I have the feeling that SOME GUYS (including you) have problems
with the fact that other people (including me) tell their
point of view (doesn't matter how stupid, agressive, low level
or whatever) and opinions.

Whenever there is a 180 degree different opinion that comes not shy,
you instantly shout about KILLFILES and other threads and
in my opinion this shows that YOU have not cultured a tolerance I could
accept.

When I attack somebody (in words), I do not hate him, nor threaten him.
I don't understand why you chose these *weapons*.
This is exactly what Chris wanted to say.
When I spoke/wrote to Marty Hirsch, or Mark Uniacke or Ed
Schroeder or Chris, nobody before asked me what I have learned at school
before, nobody of them corrected my language, no one told me:
How can you criticize my program, if you haven't program
one yourself.

How can that be???
Whether Dave Kittinger nor Julio Kaplan or others asked me:
how can you say this without having seen deep blue playing there,
how can you say this without my experience.

We all can discuss and talk and small-talk each other
WIHOUT HATRED THREADS and killfiles.

Sometimes we even come to a working result after all.

But why is it you and others, here on the internet,
that ask posters first:
Who are you ? What is your reputation ?
Thats as silly as the question: How old are you?
Or : are you male or female?

>[ snip ]


>
>> So I don't really go along with this Desperate Dan the Macho Man's put_up
>> or_shut_up show-down at the OK Corral way of resolving contentious issues.
>>
>> Nor with Gillgasch's if_you_haven't_written_a_chess_program you've got
>> nothing to say approach.
>

>Its more of a "if you haven't written a chess program then don't call
>those who did names" approach. Minor difference.
>

>> For me that is the language of the playground, or of the milky-bar kid
playing
>> cowboys.
>

>Hear hear. Whittington, a child is someone who hopes that Black Peter
>will not talk with him at Christmas :-)
>
>[ Interesting data snipped ]
>
>-- Peter
>

So Peter, maybe the micro-computer-chess-szene is somehow very different
to the university-szene.


mcl...@prima.ruhr.de

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

In article <5137bm$m...@ee.utah.edu>, kirk...@ee.utah.edu (Dan Kirkland)
writes:

Calm down a little. CSTal is not on the market.
The predecessor is ranked place 44 on a 486/33 PC.

CSTal has played at championship Paderborn and has
shown some nice attack-games with sacrificing and also
some big-bugs that made the results weaker than it could
have played.
There are still some bugs in the program, at the aegon
tournament vs. humans it has shown a repetition-bug
that caused almost 5 draws.
There it played 5 draws and one win, no losses.

If the public wants, and I get it ready to download a new
crafty, I would like to let it run on autoplayer ort manually
vs. CSTal. Also I could sent you some games between WCHESS
and CSTAL, if wanted.

As soon as the bugs are out of the program, it will come
on the market.

I guess this will be in october 2016 ! :-)

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

mcl...@prima.ruhr.de wrote:
: In article <5137bm$m...@ee.utah.edu>, kirk...@ee.utah.edu (Dan Kirkland)
:
:

The autoplayer option in crafty is not totally perfected yet, it seems.
Since I can't test it myself, this really hinders the debugging effort.
It seems to work until somewhere along the way, it misses an opponent
move (or so it seems), or else it misses sending a move to the opponent.

I'm testing as best I can to track it down, but we had to put in quite
a few kludges to get around things like you *must* promote to a queen,
which is going to cause some problems in its own right, and the rather
ugly move format of e2e4 and the like. Those have been cured, now if
we can find this last thing, you can autoplay until you get tired. :)

Meanwhile, if you have auto232, please play crafty vs anything, and,
if you can, try to detect what case arises to make the game "hang". Any
data is welcome...

Bob


Peter W. Gillgasch

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Sep 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/11/96
to

[ this is probably not interesting for the casual observer. I apologize
to the group. If you are looking only for computer chess issues then
please skip this post. Since I included this disclaimer you can't
flame me for posting this, so get off of my cloud :-) ]

<mcl...@prima.ruhr.de> wrote:

> In article <199609102152193087868@[194.121.104.138]>, gil...@ilk.de (Peter W.
> Gillgasch) writes:
>
> >Unfortunately on this news group there are folks who need someone on
> >whom they can project their hatred. I am happy to serve this purpose
> >since they obviously __do__ need this for some reason - which I am happy
> >to fail to understand completely :-)
>
> Hello Peter!
> I would like to answer to the above.

Hi. Of course you can feel free to comment [but I find it slightly
annoying that some people *seem* to need their alter ego to post
things].

On the other hand maybe it is helpful to clear some things up between us
since a certain person is obviously "not interested".

> I don't hate you. I don't need you or others to project hate.
> I have the feeling that SOME GUYS (including you) have problems
> with the fact that other people (including me) tell their
> point of view (doesn't matter how stupid, agressive, low level
> or whatever) and opinions.

Not really. I readily admit that I have a problem with the combination
of being *aggressive* and uninformed. That is a lethal combination that
turns me into war mode within a split second as you probably have noted
:-) No I cannot work on that since I don't feel that it is necessary.

I have no problem with opinions, as long as you don't try to sell me
yours. If you want tolerance then you have to be tolerant yourself.

My reaction on your very first posts was *not* induced by your opinions.
It was *not* induced by your beliefs. It was induced by the way how you
tried to sell THE FINAL WORD to the masses and by all this off topic
hogwash and the pile of personal abuse. I still have the stuff somewhere
and in case you have forgotten it I could email it to you :-)



> Whenever there is a 180 degree different opinion that comes not shy,
> you instantly shout about KILLFILES and other threads and
> in my opinion this shows that YOU have not cultured a tolerance I could
> accept.

Now listen. I didn't start to make comments about the pope, politics,
the situation in Germany, the German army, religious issues,
philosophical issues, environmental issues, sexual and personal
relationships - I don't see what this has to do with the issue at hand.

This newsgroup is about computer chess issues. Not about chess issues,
not about computer issues but about the *combination* of both aspects.

As you can see in my latest post about comparing computer chess systems
I am interested in discussing things but your very first post to this
newsgroup was [to put it mildly] completely out of line. So *please*
don't ask for tolerance if you introduce yourself in such a way to this
group. Maybe I am less tolerant than others, but this is me, Peter G.,
this is the way I work internally and you can either accept that or
leave me alone. Your choice.



> When I attack somebody (in words), I do not hate him, nor threaten him.
> I don't understand why you chose these *weapons*.
> This is exactly what Chris wanted to say.

I don't like statements like that. In general I don't like statements
that explain what someone else or me wanted to say by others. Seen too
many of those statements before and they didn't do us any good on this
group.

> When I spoke/wrote to Marty Hirsch, or Mark Uniacke or Ed
> Schroeder or Chris, nobody before asked me what I have learned at school
> before,

I can't recall to have asked you that. This is in no way interesting for
me.

> nobody of them corrected my language,

I simply don't like the inflation of the usage of the word fascism. This
word has a meaning and it is not a word like "well, hum". You get the
idea. The fact that you made that typo was a side issue. I readily admit
that I made a typo right now myself. It is hard for a German :-)

> no one told me:
> How can you criticize my program, if you haven't program
> one yourself.

Feel free to criticize, but *don't* tear the discussion into a religous
crusade. If you do this *and* exhibit a certain amount of being
uninformed then I'd think that it is a quite natural reaction by myself
that I ask you about your background and make the polite suggestion that
you learn to appreciate not only the "chess" issues but also the
"computer" issues [on the level of algorithm design and implementation].

I personally wouldn't go to some newsgroup about [for example]
computerized translation of natural languages and tell them that the
last product I saw by a computer program that translated a text from
English to German was ugly, that they are on the wrong track and that
they are therefore mothersons and say "haha very funny".

This is what you did. Now what do you expect ? They'd say: either you
criticize us in a manner that is constructive, or you show us how do to
it better, or get the f*ck out of here.

As far as I can remember the only positive reaction on your post was
from Tom who appreciated it with some sort of a Beavis and Butthead
humour... This says something about it if you know Tom :-)

> How can that be???
> Whether Dave Kittinger nor Julio Kaplan or others asked me:
> how can you say this without having seen deep blue playing there,

Never said this. I said that you have to see it to get a real
perspective on their capabilities. If you see only the games, or the
scores, or their nodes per second numbers, or their depth reached that
will *not* give you a "sensual" impression of what they are doing. I am
into this for some time, I can understand what the words and the numbers
mean *in context* but abstract numbers are not the same as "oh my God I
didn't even blink and they have seen that" experiences. If you don't
have such experiences that *really* make a deep impression on you then
you probably can't appreciate what their capabilities are.

If I read to you that some Porsche Carrera [you owe me one, does your
cousin know :-) ?!] can accelerate in N seconds to 100 km/h then this is
pretty different than sitting inside while hitting the gas. You see ?



> how can you say this without my experience.

Never said that. If you knew me better then you'd know that I am pretty
much convinced that I know nothing at all. In some way this is the
product of experience, though :-) If someone approaches me and tells me
that he found THE WAY TO DO THINGS and THIS IS THE WAY IT HAS TO BE then
you will find me shaking my head with a sinister smile on my face. There
are no absolute answers. I am a sceptical person and probably this is
the reason why I am curious to learn new things and why I am deeply
skeptical about knowledge that that is carved in stone (or code, for
that matter) unless it is based on math.

> We all can discuss and talk and small-talk each other
> WIHOUT HATRED THREADS and killfiles.

True. But some are obviously not happy if they are caught and
chastizised for telling blunt lies. I am probably not good at saying "ok
that guy is doing a character assasination here, let's forget it and
keep talking". I don't consider that as being a problem of mine. It is a
strength.

> Sometimes we even come to a working result after all.

Hopefully yes.

> But why is it you and others, here on the internet,
> that ask posters first:
> Who are you ? What is your reputation ?

As you probably have noted this is not the usual reaction. It is what
you get for being aggressive and abusive or for criticizing folks I like
in a non-constructive manner.

> Thats as silly as the question: How old are you?
> Or : are you male or female?

Not at all. See above.

> >> Nor with Gillgasch's if_you_haven't_written_a_chess_program you've got
> >> nothing to say approach.
> >
> >Its more of a "if you haven't written a chess program then don't call
> >those who did names" approach. Minor difference.

Did you notice that ?

> >> For me that is the language of the playground, or of the milky-bar kid
> playing
> >> cowboys.
> >
> >Hear hear. Whittington, a child is someone who hopes that Black Peter
> >will not talk with him at Christmas :-)

Ah. For the Germans: "Knecht Ruprecht".

[ snip ]

> So Peter, maybe the micro-computer-chess-szene is somehow very different
> to the university-szene.

Gimme a break. Don't start with that university stuff again. It is a
*myth*. I could tell you endless stories about university types [which
are not necessarily typical - Bob, did I see the finger at the trigger?]
Maybe the usenet scene is somehow very different than others. But in
"real life" you cannot introduce yourself in such a way as you did as
well.

Maybe this has helped a bit to clear things up. What do you think ?

Peter

And I still like this signature :-)

--
May God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to choke the living shit out of those who piss me off,
and wisdom to know where I should hide the bodies...

Chris F.A. Johnson

unread,
Sep 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/15/96
to

: Positional is not long-range-tactics because the positional doesn't
: have to resolve to be 'good'. Several 'small' positional advantages,
: none of which may need to tactically resolve are 'good'; and by good
: I mean give game winning chances against mortals.

Positional play is not long-range tactics, but a substitution for them.
A weak pawn, for example, will ultimately be proven weak as a result of
tactical play somewhere down the line: it may be lost, or its defense
may tie up piece that are needed elsewhere, etc.

Positional play is the use of principals rather than specific analysis,
but it stands or falls on the ensuing tactics.

Chris Johnson
http://www/interlog.com/~cfaj


Robert Hyatt

unread,
Sep 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/15/96
to

Chris F.A. Johnson (bq...@torfree.net) wrote:
:
: : Positional is not long-range-tactics because the positional doesn't
:
:
:

You are going to be mucho sorry you posted that. :)

Chris Whittington

unread,
Sep 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/15/96
to

I am actually not joking, but I nearly fell off my chair :)

Chris Whittington

P.S. What is worse a Chris Whittington attack or 300,000 words
to wade through from Bob ? Answers on a postcard, please. :)


Dan Thies

unread,
Sep 15, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/15/96
to

In article <84279197...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk>, Chris

Whittington <chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>P.S. What is worse a Chris Whittington attack or 300,000 words
>to wade through from Bob ? Answers on a postcard, please. :)
>
Actually, if Bob would just do a little snipping of quoted text now
and then, it would only be a couple thousand words. You get far
enough into some of these threads, and his posts are 99% noise.
Fortunately the 1% signal is very strong. :)

DanT

Bill Newton

unread,
Sep 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/16/96
to

In article <51ihgs$v...@juniper.cis.uab.edu>, Robert Hyatt
<hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu> writes
> If a little
>quoting can eliminate a few, perhaps I've been too lazy... :)
>
>I did snip above you'll notice. :)

Congratulations Bob!! Some of your stuff is SO bogged down with reams of
repeated posts.......... looking forward to reading your future succinct
efforts!

With some luck perhaps Chris Whittington ( and everbody else whom the
cap fits ) will follow suit ;-)

Regards.

--
Bill Newton

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/16/96
to

Dan Thies (rt...@accessone.com) wrote:

: Actually, if Bob would just do a little snipping of quoted text now


: and then, it would only be a couple thousand words. You get far
: enough into some of these threads, and his posts are 99% noise.
: Fortunately the 1% signal is very strong. :)
:
: DanT

I often edit, but if you'd visit my email one morning, you'd see why I
generally quote a whole article. I get lots of "Bob... you responded to
something about XXX, but I didn't see that article, and don't know whether
I missed it or if it will arrive later... can you tell me what this is
all about?"

If I've been sloppy, I'll try to improve, but I'm also trying to do something
about my email as well. When I log on each morning, I generally have between
50 and 60 messages and I try to answer/respond to each one. If a little


quoting can eliminate a few, perhaps I've been too lazy... :)

I did snip above you'll notice. :)

Bob


Chris Whittington

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Sep 16, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/16/96
to

Bill Newton <not...@demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> In article <51ihgs$v...@juniper.cis.uab.edu>, Robert Hyatt
> <hy...@crafty.cis.uab.edu> writes
> > If a little
> >quoting can eliminate a few, perhaps I've been too lazy... :)
> >
> >I did snip above you'll notice. :)
>
> Congratulations Bob!! Some of your stuff is SO bogged down with reams of
> repeated posts.......... looking forward to reading your future succinct
> efforts!
>
> With some luck perhaps Chris Whittington ( and everbody else whom the
> cap fits ) will follow suit ;-)
>
> Regards.
>
> --
> Bill Newton


Oink-oink, the pigs are on their way ......... :)

Chris Whittington

Robert Hyatt

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Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96
to

Simon Read (s.r...@cranfield.ac.uk) wrote:
: I can quite understand both points of view: the theoretical viewpoint
: which says that it all comes down to long-range tactics and the end
: result of the game, and the practical viewpoint which attempts to
: make the *probably* best move, acknowledging the finite game-tree
: which must be searched.
:
: I notice that crafty does take a practical approach: in theory,
: the a7 pawn is either safe or not safe to be taken by white's
: bishop, and pure tactics will tell you which. In practice,
: however, there is a term in the evaluation function which makes
: that pawn appear to be unsafe.
:
:
: I would like to see a viewpoint which encompasses both: there would
: be a relationship between the amount of computation needed to obtain
: a certain level of confidence that you've made the right move. The
: theory would also tell you where that computation should best be
: spent: search or evaluation. The more computation you put in, the
: higher the probability that you've made the best move.
:
: I think that that we _are_ getting there.
: After much testing, Bob seems to have discovered that he can get
: moves with a higher probability of correctness when there is a term
: to express the cost of taking the a7 pawn. I am sure that Chris is
: also discovering similar things and choosing whether to put effort
: into searching or knowledge. It is fascinating to watch the
: development of chess system tal and crafty, (and of course all other
: programs reported here) as the knowledge/search tradeoff is explored
: and understood better.
:
: Simon
:

Absolutely correct. If crafty could search to 30 plies, I'd remove the
trapped bishop code, because if you can't win it in 30, you likely can't
win it. Ditto for two connected passed pawns on the 6th, the bonus can
reach a rook's value with few pieces left. I've never said that eval
and search are not *both* important. Chris and I may disagree on which
should be used to do what, but that's part of the development process.

His ideas seem to work reasonably well, and can only get better. Crafty
is working reasonably well and is getting better (in recent tests, when
all the servers have been inaccessible thanks to the "internet a**hole",
crafty 10.9 has outplayed 9.31 by a serious amount, frequently 3-1 or 4-1,
although self-play is not a reliable way to measure progress). I hope
that as Chris continues working, CSTal continues to improve, and that he
continues to "leak" details about what he's doing so the rest of us can
take advantage of his new ideas. I'm certainly going to do the same and
continue to make Crafty public. Who knows, we might see progress over the
next couple of years...


Chris Whittington

unread,
Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96
to

This is true, but ......

Imagine a realistic chess search space - a tree containing 'all' the
moves, except those branches killed off by beta.

Ok, now imagine the actual search trees that get searched, by Hiarcs
or Crafty or Genius or Rebel or Chess System Tal.

These trees are not the same.
Some are wider, some are spikier.
Some contain certain moves, some others (even the move
ordering from genmove will affect the moves in the tree).

You can say that the closer the eval functions are together, and
the closer the search strategies are (null or no null etc), the
more the trees will overlap.

Now imagine some nutter writes a chess program. He puts a term
in his eval that says something stupid like 'a pair of knights
is worth 5 pawns'. His tree will be radically different to the
others, skewed off into some other part of the search space.

Maybe you can imagine that the evaluation function acts like
a vector on the actually searched tree.

Sensible evaluation functions will gives trees that share much of
the search space. As will relatively low-knowledge functions, since
they tend to base eval on the same feature.

Speculative evaluation functions will contain branches that are outside
this space.

Unfortunately for slow, speculative, knowledge programs, fast programs
have the potential to contain the formers search space plus extend
it deeper.

So the battle between the slow, speculative, 'knowledgable' programs
and the fast ones becomes one in which the slow program, via its
evaluation function, tries to 'steer' the game off into its
'skewed' direction, before the 'fast' program realises what has
happened. Because of the way its done, I think this may be called
positional play :)

It would seem that the difference between me and Bob is that I *have*
to be speculative, because I'm slower. Bob can be sensible. So, for
him, positional=tactics, positional only matters if it resolves for
material. For me positional is everything, because without it I have
no chance, I have to speculatively rely on it.

Chris Whittington


Robert Hyatt

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Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96
to

Chris Whittington (chr...@cpsoft.demon.co.uk) wrote:
:

Good explanation. I see some of this and it gets me into trouble on
occasion. Crafty "favors" open games in general because it's quite
good tactically. It favors them even when it oughta be doing some-
thing quite different. I have (in the past) folded in the king safety
in such a way that it was used to guide the search, encourage/discourage
trades, encourage/discourage pieces close to the king, etc. I'd suspect
Chris has done this better at present. Something I hope to one day
remedy. :)

However, part of what he said above is quite critical to the success
of computer chess. The program *has* to somehow guide the game into
positions that are favorable to it, and away from those that are
not. If we can't avoid games like DB vs Kasparov # 6, we are in very
deep kimshee... Chris's approach seems to be one way to make this
happen.


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