Computer gamesmanship

David N. L. Levy

Mentioned 2

An Introduction & Guide to Computer Games & Artificial Intelligence

More on

Mentioned in questions and answers.

I'm wondering how hard it would be to implement a chess engine. Are there already open-source implementations?

It seems that you'd need a scoring function for a given board constellation, and a very fast way of exploring several likely future board constellations. Exploring all possible future moves is of course impossible, so one could greedily follow the most promising moves, or use approximate techniques like simulated annealing to follow likely moves probabilistically.

Do you think that is within the scope of a machine learning graduate student project -- assuming there was an open-source implementation that the students could use, that does the basic things like returning the next possible moves for a given figure? Probably too hard?

It would be a fun project to have different teams work on chess engines and then let them play against each other ...

A reasonable chess engine on modern PCs is certainly doable, especially if you're old enough to remember there were many Chess programs that used just a few K of memory on 1 and 2 MHz 8-bit machines that could play pretty well. You can whip out a chess engine in an interpreted language nowadays and beat the pants off a top 6502 or Z80 programmer coding his tightest fastest stuff.

I got to work with Dan Spracklen, who did the original Sargon in 1978 with his wife Kathleen. Kathleen's brother did the port to Apple II, and I worked with him and with his son. (At the time I worked with these guys, the chess-for-consumer-profit business was done. I remember one guy who brought out Atari ST and Amiga Chess games and there was really not much market for them by that time.)

"Computer Gamesmanship" is a terrific introduction to chess programming as hobbyists performed it in 1983. It's still a delight to read. Covers the good stuff: alpha-beta, minimax, etc.

It's a good enough book that you can start there and then learn about the advances made since.

alt text

At first I have 5 cards by random, of course. Only one time I can change and also l have already taught [the program] the poker rules in my system. My problem is how can I choose "I don't need this card or there are cards?". I can change by myself but computer doesn't know. I think maybe it is difficult but have you guys any help to offer?

Computer Gamesmanship by David Levy

alt text

Covers stud and draw. You'll realize how hard it is by the time you're done reading.

Note that the book is over 25 years old, but it's a good start.