TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Table of Contents.................................................................................................................................................................... 1

Principles of Aesthetics (H.J. van den Herik) ..................................................................................................................... 1

A Chess Composer of Two-Move Mate Problems (F. Fainshtein and Y. HaCohen-Kerner)...................................... 3

Pool Physics Simulation by Event Prediction 2: Collisions (W. Leckie and M. Greenspan)...................................... 24

Notes:    .................................................................................................................................................................................. 32

                Is Aesthetics Computable? (A. Iqbal)................................................................................................................ 32

                Chess Endgame News (G.McC. Haworth).......................................................................................................... 40

Information for Contributors................................................................................................................................................ 41

News, Information, Tournaments, and Reports:............................................................................................................... 42

                The 3rd Annual Arimaa Computer Championship (K. Juhnke)........................................................................ 42

                The Match Peng vs. Lanchava (J. van Reek and J.W.H.M. Uiterwijk).......................................................... 45

                The 14th World Computer-Chess Championship (P. Ciancarini)..................................................................... 47

                Rules for the 14th World Computer-Chess Championship (The Board of ICGA)......................................... 47

                The 2005 Herschberg Best-Annotation Award................................................................................................ 49

                The Swedish Rating List (T. Karlsson)............................................................................................................... 50

                The 2004 and 2005 ICGA Journal Awards......................................................................................................... 51

                Calendar of Computer-Games Events in 2006.................................................................................................... 51

Correspondence: ................................................................................................................................................................... 51

                Updates on Hex (K. Noshita)............................................................................................................................... 51

How the ICGA Journal Reaches You.................................................................................................................................. 52

 

 
 
Principles of AESTHETICS

 

 

The mere existence of Computer Olympiads tells us that the world of technology has a successful relation with the world of games. Continuing the string of connections, we may observe that technology is related to science, and games are related to competition. In these two sentences there are many elements of which we may wonder how they are intrinsically connected. The great philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is the founding father of the idea that there is “a philosophically original understanding of properties and functional relations between things, events and societal relationships in reality”. The idea is subsumed under the general idea of a unique sphere of laws.

 

In the world of games, winning a game is the most important thing. It is almost independent of the way in which a win is materialized. Of course, fair play is a prerequisite, but within the written and unwritten rules of play all may happen. International Grandmaster Hein Donner once remarked: “I am most satisfied by winning a game from a lost position.” He explained the satisfaction by analyzing the game as a fight and by establishing that the feelings of his opponent must be fully devastated by what happened to him/her. Donner believed for himself that these good feelings outperformed by far any other feelings that may be with him when delivering a piece of art in the form of a brilliant game with many beautiful or even aesthetic moves.

 

Here, the question may be posed: is it possible to compare a chess fight with aesthetics? Before we attempt to answer this question we should know what aesthetics means in chess, and maybe in a wider sense, and how we can relate aesthetics to other concepts.

 

In his general theory Dooyeweerd distinguished fourteen law-spheres. They were characterized by three issues, viz. (1) universality in its own environment, (2) sovereignty in its own environment, and (3) an ordered sequence. The second characteristic is the most important one and, in a sense, decisive for the existence of the law-spheres. Our readership will understand that is impossible to explain here the law-spheres to its full extent. However, in relation to the main topic of this issue of the Journal, Aesthetics, it may be important to indicate the place of this concept in the hierarchy of elements investigated in our world of Artificial Intelligence.

 

Dooyeweerd’s theory is a first step to determine the place of aesthetics. Without further discussion we reproduce the ordered sequence given by Dooyeweerd and see that Aesthetics is the eleventh law-sphere. The full series (from low to high) reads: (1) Arithmetic, (2) Spatial, (3) Physical, (4) Biotic, (5) Psychic, (6) Analytic, (7) Historic, (8) Linguistic, (9) Social, (10) Economic, (11) Aesthetic, (12) Legal, (13) Ethical, (14) Pistic (from Πίστοσ, belief, faith, trust). Obviously, the order is inspired by ideas as developed in Reformation and Scholasticism in Philosophy. Yet, it may serve as a pointer for our research.

 

In a note (pp. 32-39) Azlan Iqbal (Tenaga, Malaysia) deals with the question: Is Aesthetics Computable? He cites Margulies (1977) who identified eight principles of aesthetics. Although the work is a first step only, it is undeniably a sign that a new research area is in front of us, fit for deeper investigations. Between the lines we read the thoughts and ideas from John McCarthy (Stanford University).

 

Your Editor admits that the ideas as expressed in the note cited above have an explorative character, some may call them even speculative. However, in this respect we are proud of the supportive contribution by Fridel Fainshtein and Yaakov HaCohen-Kerner (Ramat-Gan and Jerusalem, Israel) (pp. 3-23). In a well-thought and well-written article they describe how their program Chess Composer is able to improve chess compositions in an aesthetic way. Their results are convincing and they clearly open a new research area in which the first investigations were performed about twenty years ago by Michael Schlosser (ICCA Journal, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 151-155). The current article forecasts a close cooperation between human chess composers and scientists.

 

What does this breakthrough in programming and computer performance tell us about the future? More precisely formulated: which law-sphere can a computer enter in the near future? Will a program once be classified in law-sphere 13 or even in law-sphere 14? It is hard to predict. For the moment, we should be happy in the law-sphere of Aesthetics. With an eye on the Reformation and the Scholasticism I would like to recall Gilbert’s (1539? – 1583) words: “Though the Philistines may jostle, you will rank as an apostle in the high aesthetic band.” With much optimism and many expectations I look forward to the results of the Computer and Games Conference 2006, in Turin, Italy, on May 29-31, 2006.

 

 

Jaap van den Herik

 

 

Change of residential address

Please note that as of March 15, 2006 our residential address reads Tongersestraat 6, 6211 LN Maastricht, The Netherlands. All our other coordinates remain unchanged.

 


A CHESS COMPOSER OF

TWO-MOVE MATE PROBLEMS

 

Fridel Fainshtein[1]  and  Yaakov HaCohen-Kerner[2]

 

                                                 Ramat-Gan, Israel               Jerusalem, Israel

 

 

ABSTRACT

Computerized chess composers of mate problems are rare. Moreover, so far they do not produce either impressive or creative new mate problems. In this paper, we describe a model called Chess Composer. This model uses a 64-bit representation, an ordered version of Iterative-Deepening Depth-First Search, and a quality function built with the help of two international masters in chess-problem composition. The result is applied on 100 known problems. It shows that the quality of 97 problems has been improved. Some of the improvements are rather impressive considering that all of the tested problems were composed by experienced composers. The new improved problems can be regarded as creative from the viewpoint of experts in chess compositions, because (1) they seem to be better, and (2) they are not too similar to the original problems.

 

 

 

 

POOL PHYSICS SIMULATION BY EVENT PREDICTION 2: COLLISIONS

Will Leckie and Michael

 

Ontario, Canada.

 

Abstract

 

A predictive event-based method to simulate the physics of the

game of pool is described, including event time prediction for

collisions between balls and between balls and the rails and

pockets of the table.  The method uses the vector parametrisation

of the equation of motion of a moving ball to predict analytically

the time of occurrence of collision events.  The method is both

accurate, since it returns exact analytical solutions for ball

trajectories using no linear approximations, and efficient, since

it requires a minimal number of floating point operations for

trajectory solution and collision prediction. 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.


IS AESTHETICS COMPUTABLE?

 

Azlan Iqbal[3]

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

 

In this note, the psychology of aesthetics is briefly discussed and the feasibility of a discrete computational aesthetics model for chess is justified.

 



[1] Department of Computer Science, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel, fainshf@cs.biu.ac.il.

[2]  Department of Computer Science, Jerusalem College of Technology (Machon Lev), 21 Havaad Haleumi St., P.O.B. 16031, 91160 Jerusalem, Israel, kerner@jct.ac.il.

 

[3] Department of Informatics, College of Information Technology, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. E-mail : azlan@uniten.edu.my