@Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

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Viz
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by Viz »

hgm wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 8:46 am The most important difference is that in those days there existed many chess engines, and if you did not test your ideas by playing gauntlets against a variety of opponents, the results were often meaningless. That required 4 times as many games to get the type I and type II errors below the desired thresholds than using self play, and of course computers were several orders of magnitude slower, so that it took a lot of resources to generate the games in the first place.

Now that all engines are basically the same, playing gauntlets still amounts to self play, and makes no sense anymore. It is much easier to design an engine for just beating one particular opponent, than it would be to develop an engine that is generally good.
This is BS.
Stockfish was doing selfplay only since start of fishtest and quickly became top 1-2 engine - and fishtest started in 2013. And until NNs came it was disgustingly dominant, SF9 HCE is still the strongest HCE engine ever produced while latest dev with HCE was like 130 elo stronger than it. And self-gains were confirmed with rating lists gains at every turn more or less.
"Gauntlet testing" is just bad and this is all about it, it has nothing to do with engines in the gauntlet being different or not different.
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by chrisw »

BrendanJNorman wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 4:01 am Here's how I see it.

"Prehistoric" chess programming was when chess nerds (I say this with great affection) used programming to try to make computers play good chess.

Modern chess programming is when programming nerds (also no disrespect :lol: ) use chess to try to show how good they are at programming.

In the first case, chess is the passion and guiding light.

In the second, chess is a tool that is being used.

Just an long-time observer's view. No interest in your tears or flame-throwers. 8-)
Case 2 as you describe it is pure narcissism
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by BrendanJNorman »

chrisw wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 10:34 am
BrendanJNorman wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 4:01 am Here's how I see it.

"Prehistoric" chess programming was when chess nerds (I say this with great affection) used programming to try to make computers play good chess.

Modern chess programming is when programming nerds (also no disrespect :lol: ) use chess to try to show how good they are at programming.

In the first case, chess is the passion and guiding light.

In the second, chess is a tool that is being used.

Just an long-time observer's view. No interest in your tears or flame-throwers. 8-)
Case 2 as you describe it is pure narcissism
Agreed.

But what do you think, as a pioneer? Is my perspective wrong?
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by BrendanJNorman »

Uri Blass wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 9:29 am
It is clear that the top engines stockfish,lc0,Berserk,KomodoDragon are different engines.
I do not understand why you claim that they are basically the same.
First sentence I agree with. Of course they're different engines.

Second sentence, I do have some thoughts.

In the old days, engines like Gandalf, CSTal, Rebel, MChess Pro, Chess Genius, Fritz, Junior, Hiarcs, Thinker, Comet, Shredder, Crafty, Baron etc, had very distinct "fingerprints" and could sometimes disagree drastically in their evaluation of a position - even when they shared similar Elo.

One could watch them play and have no idea who is winning, because they disagree so strongly. Only our own (human) chess judgement might give a hint.

I remember the 2002 (was it?) Fritz vs Junior match was amazing in this regard.

These days top engines are much more uniform in their evaluation, which is normal, given the high level of play.

So different engines, yes, but distinct - not so much imo.
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by mclane »

Todays chess engines are much more boring then the engines in the early days. As you wrote yourself: the engines were specialized.

Gandalf e.g. could identify hidden king attacks statically.

What search could not see that early in those days (today different of course) evaluation could do.

I remember a game from Paderborn where gandalf stopped chess tiger winning the tournament with this game:

The king attack was blocked but gandalf opened it and suddenly it was there.

[pgn] [Event "7th IPCCC 1998"]
[Site "Paderborn"]
[Date "1998.02.15"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Chess Tiger"]
[Black "Gandalf"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 e6 3.d4 Nd7 4.Bg2 f5 5.O-O Bd6 6.b3 Qe7 7.c4 c6 8.a4 a5 9.e3 Ngf6
10.c5 Bc7 11.Re1 b6 12.cxb6 Bxb6 13.Ba3 c5 14.Bf1 O-O 15.Nc3 Bb7 16.Rc1 Rac8 17.Bb5
e5 18.Re2 Qe6 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Qxe5 21.Bb2 Qe6 22.Rec2 Ng4 23.Qe2 Qh6 24.h4 Rcd8
25.Nd1 d4 26.exd4 cxd4 27.Qe7 Be4 28.Re2 Qf6 29.Bc4+ Kh8 30.Qxf6 Rxf6 31.Rd2 Ne5
32.Be2 Rff8 33.Kh2 Bf3 34.Bb5 Bd5 35.Be2 f4 36.gxf4 Rxf4 37.Kg3 Rdf8 38.Ba3 d3 39.Bh5
Rf3+ 40.Kh2 R8f5 41.Rc8+ Bg8 42.Be8 Bxf2 43.Bd6 R3f4 44.Rxd3 Rxh4+ 45.Kg2 Nxd3 46.Nxf2
Nxf2 47.Bd7 Ne4 48.Bxf5 Nxd6 49.Rxg8+ Kxg8 50.Be6+ 0-1 [/pgn]

I was operating white and saw the danger coming. I also knew gandalf IS CAPABLE to do this.

Horrible situation if you have to watch the thing coming while the engine dies.
What seems like a fairy tale today may be reality tomorrow.
Here we have a fairy tale of the day after tomorrow....
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by BrendanJNorman »

mclane wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 1:33 pm Todays chess engines are much more boring then the engines in the early days. As you wrote yourself: the engines were specialized.

Gandalf e.g. could identify hidden king attacks statically.

What search could not see that early in those days (today different of course) evaluation could do.

I remember a game from Paderborn where gandalf stopped chess tiger winning the tournament with this game:

The king attack was blocked but gandalf opened it and suddenly it was there.

[pgn] [Event "7th IPCCC 1998"]
[Site "Paderborn"]
[Date "1998.02.15"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Chess Tiger"]
[Black "Gandalf"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 e6 3.d4 Nd7 4.Bg2 f5 5.O-O Bd6 6.b3 Qe7 7.c4 c6 8.a4 a5 9.e3 Ngf6
10.c5 Bc7 11.Re1 b6 12.cxb6 Bxb6 13.Ba3 c5 14.Bf1 O-O 15.Nc3 Bb7 16.Rc1 Rac8 17.Bb5
e5 18.Re2 Qe6 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Qxe5 21.Bb2 Qe6 22.Rec2 Ng4 23.Qe2 Qh6 24.h4 Rcd8
25.Nd1 d4 26.exd4 cxd4 27.Qe7 Be4 28.Re2 Qf6 29.Bc4+ Kh8 30.Qxf6 Rxf6 31.Rd2 Ne5
32.Be2 Rff8 33.Kh2 Bf3 34.Bb5 Bd5 35.Be2 f4 36.gxf4 Rxf4 37.Kg3 Rdf8 38.Ba3 d3 39.Bh5
Rf3+ 40.Kh2 R8f5 41.Rc8+ Bg8 42.Be8 Bxf2 43.Bd6 R3f4 44.Rxd3 Rxh4+ 45.Kg2 Nxd3 46.Nxf2
Nxf2 47.Bd7 Ne4 48.Bxf5 Nxd6 49.Rxg8+ Kxg8 50.Be6+ 0-1 [/pgn]

I was operating white and saw the danger coming. I also knew gandalf IS CAPABLE to do this.

Horrible situation if you have to watch the thing coming while the engine dies.
Forgot to mention ChessTiger in my post.

Another awesome engine for the time.

I remember when it won a GM tournament (vs humans) in Brazil with a 2790 Elo performance.

Was a sensation at the time.
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mclane
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by mclane »

Yes. Chess tiger had an incredible search for its time.
I remember when i met Christophe Theron at the Paris championship!!
Jan louwman and wife was still alive.
In paris tiger did not have a good tournament. I met Christophe and we began working and very soon after this tournament tiger rised from the dust like phoenix from ashes.

Tiger lead ssdf list for a while and later cooperated with ed schroeder.

Christophe lived on Guadeloupe at that time.
Very far away. Very exotically.
With gambit Tiger it also had a very unique playing style at that time.

Today Christophe lives in france.


Gandalf btw began as 1 ply + extension engine. I think this was version 2.
Met Steen Suurballe first time in Munich championship. He looked like james bond.
With his friend and book writer Dan Wulff, both from denmark.




Also Wolfgang delmares engine CHAT, written in Pascal, had no real normal search but only static stuff or maybe extensions. The successor engine CheckCheck (written in C) had tablebases on 3,5“ floppy discs and was also sold via Gambit Soft.
Berthold Seifritz was a big german chess distributor for Software.

Nice guy.

He sold almost all chess software in very good prices and very fast and good prices.

Germany had a traditional good market for dedicated chess computers.

There was the munich chess publisher with ossi weiners father. Later he continued his work and called it HCC.
Then Musch („bei Musch gehts husch husch“), chess niggemann, chess stamer, chess publisher north etc etc etc.


All over the cpuntry were many impressive chess companies.

It was like a paradise here.
What seems like a fairy tale today may be reality tomorrow.
Here we have a fairy tale of the day after tomorrow....
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by Jouni »

I agree with HGM in "Now that all engines are basically the same". Except GPU engine Lc0.
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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by AndrewGrant »

Jouni wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2024 6:54 pm I agree with HGM in "Now that all engines are basically the same". Except GPU engine Lc0.
I also agree with this, but to a lesser extent. I complained very loudly when NNUE was introduced, because it would gut hand-crafted eval, which was the single most unique part of engines typically, as search has been homogenizing for a long time.

Now authors use the same trainers. Slightly different if not the same architectures. Sometimes even the same near copy-paste implementation. And often times, they don't generate their own data.

I was filling out this chart based on the CCC engines the other day...

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Re: @Talkchess guys: What is pre-historic chess programming about?

Post by towforce »

What Is Prehistoric Chess Programming About?


Image


The "prehistoric chess programmer" is clearly the guy on the left. :)

He worked with primitive tools (8-bit CPU - the modern equivalent of the stone-age man's club), and was, impressively, able to write some code which played some chess. Two things then happened:

1. The competition was weak, and people were willing to pay for these amusing ancient scribblings

2. Being able to get this primitive tool to play chess resulted in a psychological phenomenon known as "The Winner Effect" - link (when you've had some successes, you're more likely to get more successes going forward), and thus had the confidence developed these primitive tools to an impressive degree

In this primeval time, long before civilisation, chess programmers working alone were able to become very confident in their abilities, and developed into a priesthood with exclusive secret knowledge, looked up to by the masses of uneducated unwashed peoples that populated the earth at that time.

However, at a later time, as humanity evolved into something more sophisticated, groups of people started to apply the principles of team-working and specialisation to the development of chess software. When this happened, these previously exalted grand people no longer looked quite so special: still respected as the founding fathers - but their chess programs were no longer the best.
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