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Subject: Opening book learning

Author: Gordon Rattray

Date: 21:16:49 10/30/00


How simple or complicated do chess programs implement opening book learning?  Is
there much variation amongst the top programs?

For example, when I use Fritz/Junior, I often pair them against opponents of
various strengths.  For weak opponents they always win.  By blinding learning
that their chosen opening was a success, are they really improving their future
chances against stronger opponents?  Or is there more to it?

I understand that it is not for the program to know straight off whether it is
playing a strong or weak opponent, but can't some factors from the remainder of
the game be used?  Can't it get an idea of whether the opponent played badly?
And then take this into account?

I've read here before that the initial evaluation out-of-book isn't vital.  More
important is whether the *type* of position suits the program's style.  So, from
this, I guess it's not the starting value but the evaluation trend that needs to
be examined to see if the opening was good or bad.  Comments?

Another question...  If the opponent loses on time, but I continue anyway and
Fritz/Junior "loses on the board", is the opening book updated for a win or
loss?  Here, I think it needs to be a loss regardless of the clock.  I did have
a look at the opening book values and I think this is being treated as a win?!

Gordon



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