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Subject: Re: What is Botvinnik's legacy to computer chess?

Author: Christophe Theron

Date: 18:41:21 02/21/00

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On February 20, 2000 at 17:22:12, Amir Ban wrote:

>On February 20, 2000 at 14:49:58, Christophe Theron wrote:
>
>>On February 20, 2000 at 10:01:46, blass uri wrote:
>>
>>>On February 20, 2000 at 02:35:02, Bruce Moreland wrote:
>>>
>>>>On February 20, 2000 at 02:25:32, Eelco de Groot wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>Botvinnik worked for many years on his program Pioneer but had very poor
>>>>>hardware available to him in the USSR. It could solve some very difficult
>>>>>positions from Botwinnik's games but never reached the stage where it could play
>>>>>whole games as far as I know.
>>>>
>>>>The essence of intelligence is generalization, and the ability to generalize,
>>>>however poorly, is built into any chess program very early on.  Anyone can
>>>>create a program in under 24 hours that plays a complete game.
>>>
>>>
>>>I do not think that anyone can create a program in under 24 hours that plays a
>>>complete game of chess even if the task is only to choose a random move.
>>
>>
>>In 1987 I write the first version of my chess program for PC in one weekend. It
>>began to play games only a few hours after I started to work.
>>
>>Of course I already had the experience of writting a chess program, but this one
>>was completely different from the one I had written before. Not the same
>>computer, not the same programming language, not the same basic data structures,
>>everything was different.
>>
>>I think any experienced programmer, or even student, can create a chess program
>>in a very short time, and a program that can play reasonnable beginner's moves.
>>
>>It actually happens all the time. Creating a chess program is a rather common
>>project in the universities. A smart student can read some thesis about the
>>subject and quickly write his own program.
>>
>>
>>
>>>Maybe you are right about professional programmers but
>>>there are many people who do not know to create computer programs and many
>>>people are going to fail in the task of creating a chess program that play chess
>>>in under 24 hours even if they know something about programs but did only some
>>>simple programs of not more than some hundreds of lines.
>>
>>
>>Probably it's a difficult task for many people, but still it's doable and has
>>been done already by non-professionals.
>>
>>
>>
>>    Christophe
>
>
>You guys must be terribly bright. Well, actually, of course you are, but I have
>no idea what you are talking about.
>
>Writing a chess program from scratch in 24 hours or even a week doesn't make the
>slightest sense to me.
>
>I think if I lost all my sources and had to recode my program based on memory it
>would probably take me about 2 weeks to come up with a simplified but working
>version.
>
>I would need to build the basic data structures, code the move generation
>functions, code makemove and unmakemove, try to remember how this alphabeta
>worked and where I need to change the signs, work on the quiescence search,
>patch some simplified evaluation function (no hope of remembering even 10% of
>the real thing) and think out its internal data structures. Then work on game
>control structures, identify the terminal positions, do input & move parsing,
>and do some move and board display. Did I forget anything essential ? Probably,
>but I'll find this later when I start compiling and debugging, which will
>probably take a long time because I coded in a hurry.
>
>I expect the result to look quite unprofessional and to play rather weakly after
>only two weeks. If you want some fancy features like a working transposition
>table and an opening book, you'll have to give me an extra week.
>
>And all this is just to recode something that I already have and know well. If
>someone is merely a bright programmer but has to think out all these issues as
>he goes, how much do you expect this to take ? I think writing a chess program
>from scratch is certainly more than a student semester project, which takes a
>semester. I manage programmers on a daily basis, and I need to have a feeling
>for how long tasks will take them. I would not assign even my best programmer to
>write a working chess program in less than 3 months, and even that seems a bit
>ambitious.
>
>What am I missing ?
>
>Amir


What a lousy programmer you are! Let me tell you that you'd better speed up a
little bit if you want to have the slightest chance to enter the SSDF list. :)
:) :) :)

More seriously, the discussion is about Botvinnik. In 20 years they did not
manage to produce a program that played chess, even poorly, when one can write a
poor chess program in 24 hours.

That's all.


    Christophe



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