TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Table of Contents................................................................................................................................................................ 201

Turin Has Them All (H.J. van den Herik) ........................................................................................................................ 201

New Results in Deep-Search Behaviour (J.R. Steenhuisen)......................................................................................... 203

Pool Physics Simulation by Event Prediction 1: Motion Transitions (W. Leckie and M. Greenspan)................... 214

The Sacrifice Move (J-C. Yan, S-C. Hsu, and H.J. van den Herik) .............................................................................. 223

Notes: †† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 235

††††††††††††††† Connect6 (I-C. Wu, D-Y. Huang, and H-C. Chang)........................................................................................ 235

††††††††††††††† Chess-Endgame News (G.McC. Haworth) ....................................................................................................... 243

Information for Contributors.............................................................................................................................................. 244

News, Information, Tournaments, and Reports:............................................................................................................. 245

††††††††††††††† The 9th Annual World Computer-Bridge Championship (A. Levy) ............................................................ 245

††††††††††††††† The 15th International Paderborn Computer-Chess Championship (U. Lorenz)......................................... 250

††††††††††††††† The 25th Open Dutch Computer-Chess Championship (Th. van der Storm) .............................................. 253

††††††††††††††† The 2nd Bilbao Man vs. Machine Team Championship (D. Levy) ............................................................... 254

††††††††††††††† The 10th Game-Programming Workshop in Japan 2005 (T. Hashimoto)...................................................... 256

††††††††††††††† Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess at Mountain View (D. Levy)................................... 257

††††††††††††††† Machine Learning for Commercial Game AI (P. Spronck) ............................................................................. 258

††††††††††††††† Computer Games in an Olympic City (H.H.C.M. Donkers)............................................................................ 259

††††††††††††††† Calendar of Computer-Games Events in 2006.................................................................................................. 260

††††††††††††††† The ICGA Activities in Turin, Italy (P. Ciancarini)......................................................................................... 261

††††††††††††††† The ICGA Journal Referees of 2005 (The Editorial Board) ........................................................................... 261

††††††††††††††† The Swedish Rating List (T. Karlsson)............................................................................................................. 262

Correspondence: ................................................................................................................................................................. 263

††††††††††††††† Pawn Odds Shootouts (L. Kaufman) ............................................................................................................... 263

Make Sure the ICGA Journal Reaches You..................................................................................................................... 264

 

 
 
TURIN HAS THEM ALL

 

 

Turin is the capital of Piedmont, Italy. It is an industrial centre in the northwestern part of the country and has over one million of inhabitants. In 2006 Turin will see fulfilled some of its deeply rooted wishes. It will host the Olympic Winter Games, the Chess Olympiad, the Computer Olympiad, the World Computer-Chess Championship, and the Computers and Games 2006 Conference. This is a really great success for all the organizers involved.

 

In the past we saw the Olympic Games in Barcelona (1992) and the World Computer-Chess Championship in Madrid (1992), but we never saw them together in the same city. Of course, the Olympic Winter Games precede the other four events, since the ice floor is not so appropriate for chess players and other game players. Nevertheless, the Olympic Oval is the common meeting place for the sportsmen and the gamesmen. The scientists among the participants will find their meeting place at the University.

 

In some sense, two wishes are fulfilled. First, the Chess Olympiad and the Computer Olympiad have never been mentioned in one organizational schedule with the Olympic Games. A few years ago, chess was introduced at the Olympic Games as a potential newcomer. Two demonstration matches were played, but nothing has been heard of this initiative since then. So, chess has not become an official sport within the framework of the Olympic Games.

 

Second, although FIDE and ICGA have an agreement of mutual support, so far they never succeeded in organizing a common Olympiad or World Championship. In 2006, this is also not the case, but we are close now. Computer programmers and chess players will be in the same hall (the Oval) and will have the opportunity to enjoy each otherís playing performances. It may evoke sympathy and respect from the two sides.

 

What do we expect from such an exchange of interest? The ICGA might have thought to aim at opening negotiations on participating in the Chess Olympiad with a computer team of four programs. This has been a wish from the ICGA (in fact the ICCA) since the 1980s. In the 1978 FIDE meeting Professor Euwe, then FIDE President, made a case for such participation. However, considering the current playing strength of the top computers (recall Hydra defeating IGM Adams, and see the report of the 2nd Bilbao Man vs. Machine Team Championship, pp. 254-255 of this issue) we may come up with a more adequate proposal. But what?

 

Times have changed considerably. Nowadays computers have the upper hand when looking at chess playing strength. We may serve the Grand Masters with deep calculations, supply them with new ideas, and help them analyse a game for publication in a chess column or on the Internet. The websites are multifaceted, but the help of a strong playing machine can be fascinating.

 

A telling example of the use of a website is the use by Connect6, a new game developed by I-C. Wu, D-Y. Huang, and H-C. Chang (see pp. 235-243 of this issue). The authors report that their program is connected to the online game system supported by ThinkNewIdea Inc. Since the introduction of the game at the ACG11 conference in Taipei, Taiwan last year, the program has played tens of thousands of players. Of course, this game will participate at the Computer Olympiad in Turin, too.

 

Connect6 is not the only sign of change we are witnessing at this moment. The ICGA is slowly broadening its scope. Another remarkable newcomer is Pool. In Taipei, Taiwan there was a first competition in this domain and two contributions at the ACG 11 conference. In this issue we see a full article by Will Leckie and Michael Greenspan on Pool Physics Simulation. Moreover, the Pool players will also be present in Turin.

 

At the end of this Editorial, I would like to recognize the organizers of the recent past who made this development possible, those from Graz (2003), Ramat-Gan (2004), Reykjavik (2005), and Taipei (2005). Thank you.

 

Finally, I would like to set the spotlights on Paolo Ciancarini, the organizer of the ICGA activities in Turin. Owing to his efforts the ICGA is happy that they may announce the organization of

-          the 14th World Computer-Chess Championship

-          the 11th Computer Olympiad

-          the Computer and Games Conference 2006 (CG2006).

 

I hope to see you all in Turin.

 

Jaap van den Herik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RESULTS IN DEEP-SEARCH BEHAVIOUR

 

J. Renze Steenhuisen1

 

Delft, The Netherlands

 

ABSTRACT

This article is a follow-up on previous work on deep-search behaviour of chess programs. The

program CRAFTY was used to repeat the go-deep experiment on positions taken from previous experiments

to push the search horizon to 20 plies. The same experimental setup was used to search,

among others, a set of 4,500 positions, from the opening phase, to a depth of 18 plies. Our results

showed that the chance of new best moves being discovered decreases exponentially when searching

to higher depths, and decreases faster for positions closer to the end of the game. This contribution

brings the understanding of deep-search behaviour and the prediction of performance a step further

to completion.

 

POOL PHYSICS SIMULATION BY EVENT PREDICTION 1:

MOTION TRANSITIONS

 

Will Leckie and Michael Greenspan1

Kingston, Canada

 

ABSTRACT

A method to simulate the physics of the game of pool is presented. The method is based upon a

parametrisation of ball motion which allows the time of occurrence of events, such as collisions and

transitions between motion states, to be solved analytically. The method is both accurate, returning

exact analytical solutions for both time and space parameters, and efficient, requiring no iterative

numerical methods. It is suitable for use within a game-tree search, which requires a great many

potential shots to be modelled efficiently, and within a robotic pool system, which requires high

accuracy in predicting shot outcomes.

 

 

THE SACRIFICE MOVE

 

Jeng-Chi Yan[1], Shun-Chin Hsu[2], and H.J. van den Herik[3]

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Taipei, Taiwan †††††††† Tainan, Taiwan†††††††† Maastricht, The Netherlands

 

 

Abstract

 

Computer Go has been a noticeable subject in the field of artificial intelligence. Go has simple rules, but can create enormous unpredictable results. It is difficult to epitomize the results into principles, because there are many exceptions. If a computer-Go designer has not a highly ranked competence of playing Go, he[4] will suggest poor principles and make algorithms with many flaws. In the design of a computer-Go program, block-capturing search plays an important role. This article explores one kind of move called the sacrifice move, which usually occurs in a block-capturing search. A sacrifice move means that when we want to attack an opponentís block and play a squeezing-liberty move, the opponent will capture this move at once. When the sacrifice condition occurs, we usually have to be alert and counteract. But sometimes the sacrifice move (i.e., permitting the opponent to capture the stone just played) is a good and smart move. It is very important to differentiate between the existing sacrifice moves. There are two conditions which correctly and rapidly may guide us in order to achieve a better performance in block-capturing search. They will be explored and analyzed carefully in this article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONNECT6

 

I-Chen Wu1, Dei-Yen Huang1, and Hsiu-Chen Chang1

 

Hsinchu, Taiwan

 

ABSTRACT

This note introduces the game Connect6, a member of the family of the k-in-a-row games,

and investigates some related issues. We analyze the fairness of Connect6 and show that

Connect6 is potentially fair. Then we describe other characteristics of Connect6, e.g., the high

game-tree and state-space complexities. Thereafter we present some threat-based winning

strategies for Connect6 players or programs. Finally, the note describes the current

developments of Connect6 and lists five new challenges.

 

 

 



[1] Department of Information Management, the Overseas Chinese Institute of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan. Email: jengchi@ocit.edu.tw.

[2] Department of Information Management, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan, Taiwan. Email: schsu@csie.ntu.edu.tw.

[3] IKAT, Universiteit Maastricht, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Email: herik@cs.unimaas.nl.

[4] For brevity we will use the pronoun he (his) where he or she (his or her) is meant.