Friday, December 28, 2007

Vortex and Pulverizer Each Won With White

In round 11, Vortex scored an impressive win against Variant Pulverizer. Recall that Pulverizer was originally named "Variant Shredder", which was not a name that Stephan Meyer-Kahlen, author of the Shredder chess engine, was happy about. After a few emails back and forth between Stephan, myself, and the author of Pulverizer, an agreement was worked out.

But the strong performance of Pulverizer had many people wondering if it was not really based on the Shredder code? Apparently it is not, it is just a very strong first generation Gothic Chess program.

We welcome the competition, and eagerly await to see how it will do against H.G. Muller's new Joker80 Gothic Chess program.

The Round 12 Pulverizer vs. Vortex game took an ominous turn when I noticed a disturbing trend: Vortex would frequently need to extend the time searched near the end, going over on many moves, letting white get a big lead in time. Pulverizer pressed every advantage, and when Vortex finally thought it could equalize, this proved to be an illusion.

I must say the time management code of Pulverizer is very impressive. Once it had an edge, it moved faster. When Vortex counter-attacked, it start using its surplus time very wisely, taking longer when needed, and moving quickly when obvious recaptures were mandated. In the end, it mercilessly ran the clock out on Vortex in a position that was more than advantageous for it.

Pulverizer is a very strong program, and one to watch out for in the future!


H.G.Muller said...

Will we still get to see the games, or will they remain forever secret? I haven't seen any games since round 5... :-(

Yet, I am happy about fMax' performance: 4.5 points was much more than I had expected or even dared to hope for. For such a simple algorithm that is really extremely good.

It is true that Zillions is too general to be very strong, but it is very satisfying that fMax was able to beat ChessV, a program that has a similar level of generality. fMax really is not a Gothic-Chess engine at all, it is a general variant-playing program with user-definable piece movement.

Next time fMax' bigger brother, Joker80, will join the scene. This is a dedicated Chess engine for 10x8 boards and the Capablanca pieces, and not designed with any size constraint in mind.

GothicChessInventor said...

The games will eventually be linked into the site, I promise. I 'hacked' a program created by someone in Germany that can output PGN to javascript, and now it is no longer working on my machine. I am budgetting time to do this manually, but it is very very cumbersome and I only have a finite amount of time.

I look forward to Vortex being winboard compatible hopefully by early 2008. There will be some constraints on it though: It will refuse to play without its opening book, and without its 4-piece tablebases. And, just for good measure, I am re-generating the 5-piece tablebases to double check that they are all verified. I never counted all of the positions, and this time I am outputting the counts as well.

I think Joker80 will be an excellent edition to the Gothic Chess programs that are out there. It seems to search fast and that is very important in this game. I think Vortex will be a good partner for it since we have such different design philosophies and piece evaluation procedures. I've had to go "back to the drawing board" more than once in my sparring against SMIRF, and I expect Joker80 will send me back there again too :)

Overall, I believe competition is good, it is a great way for engines to evolve as a result of all of the battles!

H.G.Muller said...

What is the format of this 'JavaScript' games? If it is not horribly complicated, perhaps I could add it as an option to WinBoard_F, 'Save Game as JavaScript'.

You could then simplify the conversion by loading the games as PGN, and saving them as JavaScript.

H.G.Muller said...

btw, why don't you simply post a file containing the PGN of all games of the tournament (preferably with the engine commands still included) ont his website for downlaod, so that people can download everything at once in stead of having to scan through zillions of web pages? Almost every serious Chess tournament does this.

GothicChessInventor said...

I need to get better organized. All of my source code is on one PC which never connects to the internet. It's an isolated environment.

The machine on which the tournament is run is another box. Likewise, it is never connected to the internet.

I have another machine which I use to upload the Gothic Chess website content onto, and this is accessible by several people. What I need to do is move the javascript conversion utility onto this machine. That will allow me to convert PGN to Javascript in a way that is much more productive.