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Subject: All this talk of cooking is making me hungry. Let's bake a program

Author: Dann Corbit

Date: 13:04:41 02/24/99


I have an email from Frederic Friedel, and I am fully convinced that Fritz did
not 'cook' anything to get the answers right.  I am writing an interface that
will cause all programs that use it to get all test problems right instantly
once asked (except those for which the answers are clearly wrong -- it will
stubborly provide "its" answer in such cases).  Will a program that uses this
add-on be guilty of 'cooking'?  Who cares if it makes the game play better
chess?  Did Fritz also cook its way to the top of the SSDF?  If so then we had
all better learn how to bake.

I think that to accuse someone of doing something underhanded, we should have
*very* strong evidence.  Is the evidence against Fritz "Well, my program could
not do it!"?  Hardly damning evidence.  If you should find some epd strings
buried in the executable with 'bm=foo' right after them, you might have some
evidence that a solution to a problem was bolted into the source.  Even this
might be innocuous.  I have some test positions that occur literally hundreds of
times in real games.  Not only that, but they are *very* difficult to solve.  In
such a case, I see nothing wrong with a program putting special case code in to
deal with it.  Or consider the dreaded D00 opening "stonewall attack."  There
are programs which *admittedly* have special case programming to deal with it.
Are those programs doing something underhanded?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.  If it plays well then it plays well.
 If you are not really convinced, why not try some very similar positions and
see if it is eval tuning.  If an eval function is tuned to defeat Nunn type
positions, then perhaps we can all learn something from studying it.

In any case, claiming that program "x" is cheating to solve problem "y" without
evidence would be (in my view) worse than making program "x" solve problem "y"
in a sneaky way.



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