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Subject: Re: Win at Chess

Author: Stuart Cracraft

Date: 09:25:05 01/17/98

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On January 16, 1998 at 17:42:01, Robert Hyatt wrote:

>I can post 'em...  but I really think WAC has become an antique...  it
>is too easy.  The only problem I don't see any way of solving without
>the
>full singular extension algorithm I used in Cray Blitz is wac230.
>Crafty
>simply won't see this one.  The other 299 are not that difficult.  If we
>set a 10 second limit and toss out the ones that can be found there, we
>end up with maybe 15 or so...
>
>I'm working on the ECM suite, which is way too big.  But I'm going to
>end
>up with a hard but not impossible suite of around 300 positions that
>will
>be a good suite for a while...

I agree and disagree. For people who have been doing this for years
with Win-at-Chess or already had strong programs when they started
using it for testing, then I agree. WAC would be worn out.

But for others, Win-at-Chess is challenging. For example, I took
all this activity up about a month ago, testing against WAC.
After about one month of very hard effort, my program is within
20 problems or so of Crafty's result on the same hardware. Up from
being about 50 problems below Crafty's result, on Win-at-Chess.

This has been done without tuning individual WAC problems (which
I will have to ultimately do), but rather in doing general improvements,
retesting against WAC as well as Kaufman/Louguet and accepting only
improvements that improve the assessed rating without dropping the
score on WAC. For real game play, I don't think is is necessary a
good way to proceed. I'd rather run against an endgame suite, a middle-
game suite, a checkmate suite and at least two ratings test. So ideally,
I'd like one test that combines all of these into one and isn't just
solvable on fast Pentium's with great well-debugged software. I do all
my development on a 486 25mhz on a program that is still undergoing lots
of development and have no plans of getting faster hardware.

But with this said, I'd like to encourage RH to put together a suite
that doesn't favor one part of the game more than it should and that
is comprehensive enough, but not too hard that it only challenges a
well-debugged program like his. Most people out there have programs
that probably score 10%-50% lower on WAC than RH's current program
on the same hardware. Putting in a much harder test could be very
discouraging unless it has some other value-added such as a) better
balance of all phases of the game not just emphasizing combinations
and checkmates and b) produces a ratings estimate.

--Stuart




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