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Old August 19th 07, 10:15 PM posted to rec.games.chess.computer,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256




M Winther wrote:

Computer vs. human matches is an unfair competition while the computer
has recourse to a huge opening library. Thus, the program doesn't need
to know much about play in the first phase of the game. The opening
problems are already solved, more or less, while the opening books are
that comprehensive. The chess engines, typically, begin thinking only
at the beginning of the middlegame.

It would be a more fair competition if Chess256 was employed in
computer vs. human matches. Neither human nor computer would know any
theory. But it would still be regular chess, and not Fischer Random,
which is much different.

In Chess256 the rules are the same as in Fide chess, and the piece
array is the same. The only difference is the pawn chain. The opening
setup for the pawns is chosen randomly while satisfying the condition
that the pawns must be either placed on the second or third rank.
There are 256 possible configurations. All of them are sound and
balanced, and fully playable. Black's setup mirrors white's.

While Black's setup mirrors white's, this should result in a proper
evaluation of strength. One is free to choose opening strategy,
whether to create an unbalanced or a balanced position, etc. In this
way the program is forced to grapple with problems specific to the
opening, which pertain to development, initiative, and opening
strategy.

http://hem.passagen.se/melki9/randompawn.htm


Good post! Innovative thinking.

I have three comments:

[1] Why did you post this to rec.games.chess.misc and not to
rec.games.chess.computer? that's where computers and chess
should be discussed. Followups set.

[2] I would like to examine the argument that "all 256 possible
configurations are sound, balanced, and fully playable." This
could be tested with a computer; run 256 computer-vs-computer
games with each of the configurations and see whether the black
to white win/loss/draw ratios stay reasonably close. At 10
minutes per game this would take a little over a year for one
computer and about a month for ten computers, with partial
results a lot earlier. It is not a given that all positions
where black mirrors white are fair.

[3] The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger. It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games, which is IMO a Good Thing, but it would not remove the
advantage the computer gets from having a huge opening book.
It would instead increase that advantage.

--
Guy Macon
http://www.guymacon.com/


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Old August 19th 07, 10:58 PM posted to rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256

19.08.2007 23:15, Guy Macon:


[3] The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger. It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games,


Is there any example of a computer generated opening book? I never heard
of any. To do so would require a lot of calculation power - for each of
the 256 positions. This would take many years.

The effort would be better used for improving general principles, on
which the computers can rely their evaluation in the opening phase.

Greetings,
Ralf
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Old August 19th 07, 11:45 PM posted to rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256




Ralf Callenberg wrote:

Guy Macon http://www.guymacon.com/ :

[3] The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger. It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games,


Is there any example of a computer generated opening book?


Not that I know of, but if I was developing a championship
chess computer, I would invest in a bunch of PCs and have
them extend all of the final moves of the human generated
opening book by a few plies calculated using more time than
would be available OTB.

I never heard of any. To do so would require a lot of calculation
power - for each of the 256 positions. This would take many years.


Or many computers. I am sitting on a LAN with 4000 computers all
sitting idle on this sunday afternoon, as they are every night.

The effort would be better used for improving general principles, on
which the computers can rely their evaluation in the opening phase.


Different kinds of effort. Human vs. machine. Also, the two are
not mutually exclusive. Making the engine better at openings
would be the first step toward a giant computer-generated opening
book.

--
Guy Macon
http://www.guymacon.com/


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Old August 20th 07, 12:07 AM posted to rec.games.chess.computer,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256


"Guy Macon" http://www.guymacon.com/ wrote in message
...



M Winther wrote:

Computer vs. human matches is an unfair competition while the computer
has recourse to a huge opening library. Thus, the program doesn't need
to know much about play in the first phase of the game.


Or anything, It plays moves it cannot calculate for itself, otherwise, ipso
facto, it wouldn't need the book.

The opening
problems are already solved, more or less, while the opening books are
that comprehensive. The chess engines, typically, begin thinking only
at the beginning of the middlegame.


Solved, as we understand it to mean, is that no one has yet refuted such
line of play.

It would be a more fair competition if Chess256 was employed in
computer vs. human matches. Neither human nor computer would know any
theory. But it would still be regular chess, and not Fischer Random,
which is much different.


It would not be regular chess, it would be FR. When computer advocates
suggest the engine plays chess it means Advanced Chess. How come if
everything is solved it can't play Chess, with no qualifier?

In Chess256 the rules are the same as in Fide chess, and the piece
array is the same. The only difference is the pawn chain. The opening
setup for the pawns is chosen randomly while satisfying the condition
that the pawns must be either placed on the second or third rank.
There are 256 possible configurations. All of them are sound and
balanced, and fully playable. Black's setup mirrors white's.

While Black's setup mirrors white's, this should result in a proper
evaluation of strength. One is free to choose opening strategy,
whether to create an unbalanced or a balanced position, etc. In this
way the program is forced to grapple with problems specific to the
opening, which pertain to development, initiative, and opening
strategy.

http://hem.passagen.se/melki9/randompawn.htm


Good post! Innovative thinking.

I have three comments:

[1] Why did you post this to rec.games.chess.misc and not to
rec.games.chess.computer?


Because computer geeks don;t understand the game at all, and its hard to
find even an 1800 player in their ranks.

that's where computers and chess
should be discussed. Followups set.


That's where fantasies take place about what is happening, as if anyone
understood the chess side of it.

[2] I would like to examine the argument that "all 256 possible
configurations are sound, balanced, and fully playable." This
could be tested with a computer; run 256 computer-vs-computer
games with each of the configurations and see whether the black
to white win/loss/draw ratios stay reasonably close. At 10
minutes per game this would take a little over a year for one
computer and about a month for ten computers, with partial
results a lot earlier. It is not a given that all positions
where black mirrors white are fair.


It has been 10 years since a similar challenge was issues for Chess, and not
taken up, since who has any motivation to be objective about the engine?
Not, by any evidence, anyone in computer chess. Engines have Advanced chess
ratings, and never play in the ELO ratings pool.

Every now and again there is some pretence that the fact chess engines can't
play chess from move 1 doesn't even matter )))

[3] The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger.


Another confusion on what is emulated chess, and playing chess. If anyone
had the time they could cheat too, and this is all that is here - just
look-up stuff and call it Chess. It ain't.

It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games, which is IMO a Good Thing, but it would not remove the
advantage the computer gets from having a huge opening book.
It would instead increase that advantage.


It increases the probability that the emulation will win, and adds nought to
our knowledge of evalutions, or if computers can play chess with real
players according to the rules of the game.

If you want to have these sorts of fantasies, keep them in chess.computer,
and don't post them in front of real players of the game here.

Phil Innes

--
Guy Macon
http://www.guymacon.com/




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Old August 20th 07, 02:28 AM posted to rec.games.chess.computer,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256

20.08.2007 01:07, Chess One:

Computer vs. human matches is an unfair competition while the computer
has recourse to a huge opening library. Thus, the program doesn't need
to know much about play in the first phase of the game.


Or anything, It plays moves it cannot calculate for itself, otherwise, ipso
facto, it wouldn't need the book.


It is probably stronger with a book than without. That doesn't mean a
program can't do without.


[1] Why did you post this to rec.games.chess.misc and not to
rec.games.chess.computer?


Because computer geeks don;t understand the game at all, and its hard to
find even an 1800 player in their ranks.


You mean people like the programmer of Rybka, International Master Vasik
Rajlich? Are computer admistrators incluced by your definition of
"geeks" - as International Grandmaster Gerald Hertneck? In fact the
percentage of chess players earning their life in the software industry
is quite high.

Every now and again there is some pretence that the fact chess engines can't
play chess from move 1 doesn't even matter )))


When Hydra smashed Adams, it had only a very shallow opening book. It
wasn't move one - but definitely not a book reaching into the
middlegame. The Hydra-team is convinced, that their program does better
going its own path. When Rybka was playing his last two matches with
odds - do you think the Rybka-team set up a sophisticated opening book
for such starting positions?

Greetings,
Ralf


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Old August 20th 07, 06:08 AM posted to rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256

Den 2007-08-19 23:15:47 skrev Guy Macon http://www.guymacon.com/:




M Winther wrote:

Computer vs. human matches is an unfair competition while the computer
has recourse to a huge opening library. Thus, the program doesn't need
to know much about play in the first phase of the game. The opening
problems are already solved, more or less, while the opening books are
that comprehensive. The chess engines, typically, begin thinking only
at the beginning of the middlegame.

It would be a more fair competition if Chess256 was employed in
computer vs. human matches. Neither human nor computer would know any
theory. But it would still be regular chess, and not Fischer Random,
which is much different.

In Chess256 the rules are the same as in Fide chess, and the piece
array is the same. The only difference is the pawn chain. The opening
setup for the pawns is chosen randomly while satisfying the condition
that the pawns must be either placed on the second or third rank.
There are 256 possible configurations. All of them are sound and
balanced, and fully playable. Black's setup mirrors white's.

While Black's setup mirrors white's, this should result in a proper
evaluation of strength. One is free to choose opening strategy,
whether to create an unbalanced or a balanced position, etc. In this
way the program is forced to grapple with problems specific to the
opening, which pertain to development, initiative, and opening
strategy.

http://hem.passagen.se/melki9/randompawn.htm


Good post! Innovative thinking.

I have three comments:

[1] Why did you post this to rec.games.chess.misc and not to
rec.games.chess.computer? that's where computers and chess
should be discussed. Followups set.




Because human-computer matches have had a great impact in the
human chessplayers world, as well. It has affected how we view
chess, and how the public views chess. Moreover, this forum is
much bigger.



[2] I would like to examine the argument that "all 256 possible
configurations are sound, balanced, and fully playable." This
could be tested with a computer; run 256 computer-vs-computer
games with each of the configurations and see whether the black
to white win/loss/draw ratios stay reasonably close. At 10
minutes per game this would take a little over a year for one
computer and about a month for ten computers, with partial
results a lot earlier. It is not a given that all positions
where black mirrors white are fair.


Computer's are horridly bad at evaluating strategical aspects. It
is a very inefficient method. Although the computers will certainly
create good theory, it will exclude many variations that are good
or even better, simply on the grounds that it has no understanding
of the strategical advantages of those lines. For instance, accepting
a position with a bad bishop and get a very solid position instead.

I'd argue that the problem with Chess256 is not unbalanced positions.
The problem is, rather, that the positions are too balanced, i.e., black
is often well prepared already in the opening setup. He has already
initiated a defensive setup on lines of the French (e6), Pirc (d6), etc. So
Chess256 would tend to favour a black defensive setup while some
pawns are already placed on the third rank, whereas white is not as
keen on having his pawns on the third rank, if he is playing for a win,
that is. Thus, games would tend to be equal. However, in practice,
the initial situation is well suited for fighting chess while chessplayers
aren't knowledgeable in all these different defensive setups. They
have to start working immediately, and they always have the choice to
create unbalanced positions.


[3] The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger. It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games, which is IMO a Good Thing, but it would not remove the
advantage the computer gets from having a huge opening book.
It would instead increase that advantage.



That would be a huge project, and it would tend to create opening
books understandable only to a silicon brain. Humans, with their
superior strategical understanding would be able to play opening
setups that the computers would not understand how to handle in the
most efficient way. So humans and computers would tend to go
different ways. That's a good development, instead of having
computers beat grandmasters on their own turf, simply because
the computers know the grandmasters' opening repertoire.

Mats

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Old August 20th 07, 10:16 AM posted to rec.games.chess.computer,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256




Ralf Callenberg wrote:

When Hydra smashed Adams, it had only a very shallow opening
book. It wasn't move one - but definitely not a book reaching
into the middlegame. The Hydra-team is convinced, that their
program does better going its own path. When Rybka was playing
his last two matches with odds - do you think the Rybka-team
set up a sophisticated opening book for such starting positions?


Excellent point!

In my opinion, the basic strategy of using human-to-human games
from the past as the basis for an opening book will become less
and less useful for computers as they improve to the point where
they are much, much better than the best humans. It will reach
the point where it isn't just Hydra, but rather all top rated
chess programs that do better calculating the moves from the
start rather than aping past grandmasters.

If a computer plays well calculating from the starting position
under whatever time control it is under, it will always be able
to play even better if given more time to calculate each move.

If a computer that is playing at, say, 2 minutes per move time
control has on its hard disk a complete tree of all possible
moves and responses up to ply N with its moves precalculated
at, say, 20 minutes per move, it will play those first N plies
better by using the book moves.

A computer using such a pre-calculated opening book will also
play faster for the first N moves, giving its opponent less
time to think and giving itself more time on the clock to use
for the rest of the game.

It can also spend even more time -- hours or even days -- on
certain critical moves, such as the very first few moves or
in positions that it has seen many times while playing
against itself and against other computers. Or it can extend
the book deeper into the game for positions it has seen before
-- especially if it lost when playing from those positions.

All of this takes computing power, but it is computing power
that is used before the start of the game, not computing power
that could be used to play better during the game. It is also
a task that is particularly well suited to being done on a
large LAN during non-working hours or even in with distributed
computing such as is used by [email protected] and [email protected] As
I write this the LAN I am on has thousands of computers running
[email protected] [ http://folding.stanford.edu/ ] while idle,
having done all the OS updating, virus checking and backing up
that they were assigned to do over the weekend. They could
just as easily be running Rybka and extending its opening book
with hours spent calculating each move.

A pre-calculated opening book is still the computer doing
the playing, just like a pre-calculated endgame tablebase is.
In either case the computer could play exactly as well without
the stored tablebase or book if it had unlimited time to do so.

--
Guy Macon
http://www.guymacon.com/


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Old August 20th 07, 10:37 AM posted to rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256




M Winther wrote:

skrev Guy Macon http://www.guymacon.com/:

Why did you post this to rec.games.chess.misc and not to
rec.games.chess.computer? that's where computers and chess
should be discussed. Followups set.


Because human-computer matches have had a great impact in the
human chessplayers world, as well. It has affected how we view
chess, and how the public views chess. Moreover, this forum is
much bigger.


Is it really bigger, or just Sam Sloan posting under a hundred
names? grin

Sorry for being unclear. I was asking why you posted to
rec.games.chess.misc instead of rec.games.chess.misc and
to rec.games.chess.computer. rec.games.chess.misc and
rec.games.chess.computer combined are larger than rec.games.
chess.misc alone.

I would like to examine the argument that "all 256 possible
configurations are sound, balanced, and fully playable." This
could be tested with a computer; run 256 computer-vs-computer
games with each of the configurations and see whether the black
to white win/loss/draw ratios stay reasonably close. At 10
minutes per game this would take a little over a year for one
computer and about a month for ten computers, with partial
results a lot earlier. It is not a given that all positions
where black mirrors white are fair.


Computer's are horridly bad at evaluating strategical aspects. It
is a very inefficient method. Although the computers will certainly
create good theory, it will exclude many variations that are good
or even better, simply on the grounds that it has no understanding
of the strategical advantages of those lines. For instance, accepting
a position with a bad bishop and get a very solid position instead.

I'd argue that the problem with Chess256 is not unbalanced positions.
The problem is, rather, that the positions are too balanced, i.e., black
is often well prepared already in the opening setup. He has already
initiated a defensive setup on lines of the French (e6), Pirc (d6), etc. So
Chess256 would tend to favour a black defensive setup while some
pawns are already placed on the third rank, whereas white is not as
keen on having his pawns on the third rank, if he is playing for a win,
that is. Thus, games would tend to be equal. However, in practice,
the initial situation is well suited for fighting chess while chessplayers
aren't knowledgeable in all these different defensive setups. They
have to start working immediately, and they always have the choice to
create unbalanced positions.


That's a very good point, and one I hadn't thought of. It reminds
me of a casual game I had recently agains an even bigger patzer
than I am, where he attacked early and often, losing men each time.
It also reminds me of times when a much better player attacked early
and stomped me flat...

The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger. It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games, which is IMO a Good Thing, but it would not remove the
advantage the computer gets from having a huge opening book.
It would instead increase that advantage.


That would be a huge project, and it would tend to create opening
books understandable only to a silicon brain. Humans, with their
superior strategical understanding would be able to play opening
setups that the computers would not understand how to handle in the
most efficient way. So humans and computers would tend to go
different ways. That's a good development, instead of having
computers beat grandmasters on their own turf, simply because
the computers know the grandmasters' opening repertoire.


Another good point. In my opinion, there is a limited window
of time where computers compete against humans anyway. In the
very early days of automobile technology, they didn't race
against horses because the horses were so much faster. Then
there was a short period of horse vs. automobile races, then
it settled down to where horses race against horses and cars
race against cars. I see the same future for computer chess,
with a human losing a chess game to a computer being about as
interesting as a human with a hand shovel losing a hole-digging
contest against a steam-shovel.


--
Guy Macon
http://www.guymacon.com/


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Old August 20th 07, 02:40 PM posted to rec.games.chess.computer,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256


"Ralf Callenberg" wrote in message
...
20.08.2007 01:07, Chess One:

Computer vs. human matches is an unfair competition while the computer
has recourse to a huge opening library. Thus, the program doesn't need
to know much about play in the first phase of the game.


Or anything, It plays moves it cannot calculate for itself, otherwise,
ipso facto, it wouldn't need the book.


It is probably stronger with a book than without. That doesn't mean a
program can't do without.


Ralf - I am not a fantascist like Guy Macon who thinks any science is
'boring' and writes to let us all know his opinion, I am a chess player. I
don't want to engage in talk of 'probably' or make things which /can/ be
tested into some sort of battle of words:

If after 20 years of evolution, and fantastically improved chess programs,
the answer to my question is still not known, I rest my case that any claims
for the engine are not based on facts.

[1] Why did you post this to rec.games.chess.misc and not to
rec.games.chess.computer?


Because computer geeks don;t understand the game at all, and its hard to
find even an 1800 player in their ranks.


You mean people like the programmer of Rybka, International Master Vasik
Rajlich?


No - indeed he is an exception to the norm - and look what a difference that
makes! Why do you choose some exception as if it were the rule? But lets us
not continue with fantasies about things which are testable - the standing
issue is as above.


Are computer admistrators incluced by your definition of "geeks" - as
International Grandmaster Gerald Hertneck? In fact the percentage of chess
players earning their life in the software industry is quite high.

Every now and again there is some pretence that the fact chess engines
can't play chess from move 1 doesn't even matter )))


When Hydra smashed Adams, it had only a very shallow opening book. It
wasn't move one - but definitely not a book reaching into the middlegame.


I understand you like to make these rather general claims - as if - you were
answering what I wrote, but we both know that they do not answer the
question, or even pretend to - and computer-geeks always do the same
schtick! They avoid it, and then pretend in public that you are an enemy or
something. pfft! how trite!

The Hydra-team is convinced, that their program does better going its own
path. When Rybka was playing his last two matches with odds - do you think
the Rybka-team set up a sophisticated opening book for such starting
positions?


Sorry, I don't want to encourage more specualtions - my question is actually
a scientific one, which is a different method of inquiry.

Phil Innes

Greetings,
Ralf



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Old August 20th 07, 03:38 PM posted to rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Computer vs. human matches and Chess256

On Aug 19, 4:15 pm, Guy Macon http://www.guymacon.com/ wrote:

[2] I would like to examine the argument that "all 256 possible
configurations are sound, balanced, and fully playable."


This looks like a *claim* to me, not an argument.



This
could be tested with a computer; run 256 computer-vs-computer
games with each of the configurations and see whether the black
to white win/loss/draw ratios stay reasonably close. At 10
minutes per game this would take a little over a year for one
computer and about a month for ten computers, with partial
results a lot earlier. It is not a given that all positions
where black mirrors white are fair.


A much faster alternative is to simply ask, and see what he
says is backing up his claim, or if he suddenly goes mum.


[3] The proposed solution doesn't solve the described problem.
The computer can simply start with an opening library that is
256 times bigger. It would tend to encourage machine-generated
opening books rather than building the books from master-level
games, which is IMO a Good Thing, but it would not remove the
advantage the computer gets from having a huge opening book.
It would instead increase that advantage.


Eventually, such monstrous books could be created,
but right off the bat they would either not exist or be
of rather limited quality.


Because one of the free programs I downloaded came
with no openings book, I have seen quite a bit with
regard to how well computers can play and in what
style, sans openings books. Generally speaking, the
faster the games, the more important tactics are and
the slower the games, the more likely one can convert
a strategically won position against them. On the whole,
even the strongest programs are way behind human
understanding of strategy, although their vast superiority
in tactics makes this far less noticeable. Take the
pawn-odds match between Rybka and GM Benjamin,
for instance; Rybka won, but in the opening the human
prevailed rather easily. The program was unable to do
anything until some complex middle game arose, and
even then, several games were drawn by repetition, not
by simplification.

The entire concept that openings are a disease which
needs to somehow be remedied, seems to require more
or better-reasoned support. The professionals seem to
like the status quo, and base their careers largely on
openings preparation, and this in turn generates a lot
of premature draws which I expect they do not feel were
"uncontested", on account of the contest in openings
prep. before the games. Even so, it is not good for the
game's image to have all these grandmaster draws, nor
to have important games decided by computers before
the game begins.


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