Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: chess and neural networks

Author: Djordje Vidanovic

Date: 05:43:43 07/02/03

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On July 02, 2003 at 05:07:19, Sune Fischer wrote:

>I'm not sure nets are really that good for chess.
>First of all you would need a huge NN with the capacity to remember of all these
>patterns, I mean thousands probably tens of thousands of neurons and weights.
>This would make it very slow to compute at runtime, if not using special
>designed hardware.
>Secondly, even if one could design a good cost function, like I suppose in
>KnightCap, what would the network learn?
>Well, it might learn double pawns tend to be bad, it might learn 2 rooks is
>better than 1. We already know this of course, and I think it's going to be hard
>to train the network to do better than handtuning here.
>The only interesting aspect would be, if the NN could teach itself some rules we
>where not aware existed. Honestly I don't think that is very likely, what is far
>more likely is that the net learns something that is wrong.
>When it's working for humans, I think it's because we litteraly do have billions
>of neurons, and it's not that slow because it's running in parallel.
>In spite of this our evaluation is nowhere near perfect, we aren't all world
>champions and we still need to search for tactics.

I think that KnightCap has a rather good neural net setup.  The latest score,
played at 2 min for 40 moves, against The Crazy Bishop finished 35-19 for TCB.
We all know that TCB should be about 2400, even higher at fast time controls, so
I think that KnightCap must be rated now about 2300.  Pretty good for a proggie
that was kicked around some 500 odd games ago.   I am not saying that NN will
solve the problem of evals and be the crucial breakthrough in computer chess
programming, I am only stating that NN does have a point and that, perhaps ( a
big question mark here), just perhaps, some sort of NN learning could be
implemented in future chess engines.  It is incredible to watch some of the
games it which KnightCap literally wiped out TCB using merely one third of the
allotted time...  Lots of fun, try it, you will appreciate the program, I am



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