Nunn’s Position Tournament ?
Posted: 21 December 2015 11:11 PM  
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Hello again fellow ICC chess engine enthusiasts!

Almost the Christmas holidays and I hope you all a Merry Christmas in advance and a happy New Year full of good things and mainly health to you all!

I don’t know if this would be possible by ICC organizers of the Computer Pool, but, instead of having the regular games evolving as they do right now, why not use the “Nunn’s Positions” for game’s openings?  I think too many times, games are decided by the who has the ‘best’ opening book, and as soon as we’re out of the opening, you can clearly see an advantage to one side or to another.  Thins could be alleviated by using some preset neutral positions (aka Nunn’s Positions) and see what really is happening after.  Some of you must also know the Silver Openings Suite from chessbase… maybe something could be setup using that too?

What’s your take on this?

Cheers!

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Posted: 22 December 2015 02:59 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi!

Interesting post.

I personally think that the opening part is very important in engine play. Many computer users spend a lot of time building strong opening books, even using their own played games.
Nonetheless, I like your idea. Maybe we could propose a new category, where the engines start from the Nunn’s posiiton?

Sandro

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Posted: 25 December 2015 08:27 PM   [ # 2 ]  
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Well, the goal (I imagine) of having a computer pool is to pit computer engines vs computer engines, and not having the whole chess world background and theory pre-digested and played out by following an opening book.  Removing opening books altogether would make the game more challenging to tweaks of the engine and not of the opening book.  Hence the uses of Nunn’s Positions (or other known to help in attesting engine strength).

I tackled computer chess at its beginning in the 80s, then again in late 90s, and now, and I must say this:
-chess engines (software) are really strong now and have really come from far: thumbs up!
-software for controlling them though (either commercial or free), sucks big time (Arena, Winboard, Chess Assistant, Fritz, name it).  Every time I start one of these, I am thrown back in the early 90s-like era of coding and look and feel. Their (ugly and not ergonomic) interfaces to handle the engines are dated, blotted with tons of menus and functions (often repetitive) that doesn’t really add anything except confusion, and are bug riddled at every corner.  Database handling is mediocre at best (often too complicated for nothing), and easy things and rendered complex for no reason.  Another bad point would be their associated ‘help system’ that is often dated way back from their current version, are badly formatted, or have options that doesn’t not even exist in their current UCI interface iteration.  Tackling these softwares and tuning them so your engines can perform is like to black art.

So, if someone can point me how to tune my opening books for Chess Assistant, I would appreciate smile

 

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Posted: 27 December 2015 10:31 AM   [ # 3 ]  
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Think about playing a game only, it doesnt matter how you play it, with book or without, the motive is to win the game,

as long as its not humany played, i dont see a problem.

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Posted: 31 December 2015 08:39 PM   [ # 4 ]  
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Well, games could be played even without engines just by following previously played games.  We’re far from computer chess when we do that. smile

In the current Computer Pool settings, the winner of the Computer Pool is the one that disconnected the less, lost on time the less, faced weaker engines more often than others and had a good (recent) opening book.  Nothing in that really showed the best engine.  The fact that position #1, #2 and #3 are still around 2350 rating or less (not counting the .5 point per win given which should be removed imo) just shows that there is parity and mostly luck is determining the winner.  Not luck at winning, but luck in who you are facing more often, and (bad)luck that influences your opponents and favors you in the outcome of games.

Yes there are some very good computer setups in the top 5, but some are fluctuating too much (except 2, Enginemaster and RayJr). My computer has beaten every engines out there except Enginemaster, and I run on old hardware (2010, 2011 and 2012) that I OC’d a little to give me some more kn/s.  Enginemaster as lost only 11 games for 165 wins (as of this writing) and is only rated 2358, while you CoolNite (for example) are rated 2344 with 35 losses for 155 wins (as of this writing also), and you both have almost the same number of games played (near 620 games).  This just shows that luck of opponents really determine the rating and not the strength of the engine.  RayJr on its 818 games has lost less (32) and win more (177) but is rated somewhat lower then you both.  I find that is not really representative of the strength.

If I take the Nunn’s Positions to establish the Computer Pool, all engines would have to complete 20 games as white and black against each other opponents in the pool.  To be entitled to win the pool, you have to compete at least vs 10 (or more/or less) other engines AND complete the set (of 20 games white/black).  Once you have completed your 10 engine sets (that 10 opponents x 20 games = 200 games), you can increase (or maybe lower) your score (win would give 3 points, draw = 1, and lost = 0 - no engine rating!) by playing other engines that still have to complete theirs. Some bonus could be given to these engine because they help other engines complete their minimum set.  This is just a suggestion of how it could be done.  Disconnection would not count as lost as the game with that particular Nunn’s Position would have to be played again between the same two engines so it can count.

Anyway, congrats to the winners of this month!

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Posted: 31 December 2015 08:56 PM   [ # 5 ]  
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Just for pointers: When I say losing on time, I have noticed lately that the time that either Arena or Chess Assistant gives is not accurate.  Often, 5 sec separates their time from the ICC server.

I have logged into ICC (with the ICC for Windows client) with another account to ‘observe’ a some match involving my engine, and the time reported from the ICC for Windows client is always less then what Arena of Chess Assistant are both reporting (on 3 different machines and OS). 

Maybe this is the issue that is plaguing me and causing so many lost on time. 

It would be fun if the ICC for Windows client could ‘autoplay’ the engine in the Computer Pool….

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Posted: 01 January 2016 10:55 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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You can try using Winboard.

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