Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

General Discussion about the game of Checkers.

Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Thu May 30, 2013 9:40 am

Chexhero wrote: or even came close to perfecting checkers.
In 3-moves match Chinook vs Kingsrow with 600 games and 3-5 secs per move I would bet on Kingsrow :D

However, with all technology magic :D , if they build 12- or even 14- pieces ending database, in reasonable time they can "perfectly solve" 3-moves and hit 100% from the beginning into ending database.

However, even this accomplishment can't beat the fact that they weakly solved GAYP, because this is first time in history when such complicated game was solved ... at any level.

In chess they can prove probably prove that white can't lose from Initial position.
I am playing checkers, not chess.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby furrykef on Thu May 30, 2013 11:45 am

I maintain that a stronger solution -- one where Chinook cannot turn a won position into a draw -- still would not require analyzing every single legal position that can arise in a game of checkers, because you still don't need to examine branches where both players have played imperfectly. So it'd still be far less computation and storage than a complete 24-piece move database. This means it might be possible to perfect Chinook so it cannot turn a win into a draw. That's a question I'll leave to Mr. Schaeffer and his team, though.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Ingo_Zachos on Thu May 30, 2013 3:08 pm

1. This is not the first time in history a complex board game has been solved. Strong solutions exists for a variety of games, some even more complex then checkers, but hardly of any reknown, some , like 9-men-morris, of more reknown, but less complex. Maybe we can be flattered that draughts/checkers is regarded as more then a child game, because it seems an achievement to produce just a weak solution.

2. It is only the prove that it is a drawish game. So what? This was assumed by almost all masters for centuries. In my mind Mr. Schaeffer wasted money to solve something that was not even in question. I accept a strong solution, but a weak solution is close to nothing. Like knowing that someone that you love loves you, but both do not dare to ask for a first kiss. Not very much of an achievement at all.

3. Chess, like Draughts 100 or Go wil be solved within the near future, that is in less then 100 years. Maybe still in my lifetime, and I am 44 now. In Go it is still a long way to go, and I am not that young, but after chess has been solved it will be the next challenge. And a challenge that only requires more brute force, but no clever or creative thinking. All these games have limited complexity, and that means they can be solved and will be solved. It is only a matter of time.


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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby furrykef on Fri May 31, 2013 12:08 am

Ingo_Zachos wrote:2. It is only the prove that it is a drawish game. So what? This was assumed by almost all masters for centuries. In my mind Mr. Schaeffer wasted money to solve something that was not even in question. I accept a strong solution, but a weak solution is close to nothing. Like knowing that someone that you love loves you, but both do not dare to ask for a first kiss. Not very much of an achievement at all.

I think your attitude is silly. First, that checkers is theoretically drawn is not at all obvious. Even if it was assumed by masters for centuries, so what? Humans assumed for millennia that the sun revolved around the earth.

In some games the first player can force a win due to his initiative from going first. In others, the second player can force a win because, if he plays perfectly, he can force the opponent into zugzwang. When a game is theoretically drawn, it is only because neither of these is possible. You can't really judge this sort of thing just from human play or even strong but imperfect computer play. It can take only one teeny tiny mistake to turn a winning position into a drawn or even losing position.

Second, the weak solution to checkers has done much more than answer whether the initial position is drawn. It has produced a program that is guaranteed to at least draw. Even Marion Tinsley lost seven games, you know (two of them to an earlier version of Chinook, as it happens). Surely this could be considered an accomplishment?

Finally, even setting aside my previous point, it isn't really about answering the question. I mean, what did humanity gain from going to the moon? It's just a big dumb ol' rock, after all.

Let me share a little story from "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" (one of the finest autobiographies ever written, I believe):
Richard Feynman wrote:I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling.

I had nothing to do, so I start to figure out the motion of the rotating plate. I discover that when the angle is very slight, the medallion rotates twice as fast as the wobble rate - two to one [Note: Feynman mis-remembers here---the factor of 2 is the other way]. It came out of a complicated equation! Then I thought, "Is there some way I can see in a more fundamental way, by looking at the forces or the dynamics, why it's two to one?''

I don't remember how I did it, but I ultimately worked out what the motion of the mass particles is, and how all the accelerations balance to make it come out two to one.

I still remember going to Hans Bethe and saying, "Hey, Hans! I noticed something interesting. Here the plate goes around so, and the reason it's two to one is ...'' and I showed him the accelerations.

He says, "Feynman, that's pretty interesting, but what's the importance of it? Why are you doing it?''

"Hah!'' I say. "There's no importance whatsoever. I'm just doing it for the fun of it.'' His reaction didn't discourage me; I had made up my mind I was going to enjoy physics and do whatever I liked.

I went on to work out equations of wobbles. Then I thought about how electron orbits start to move in relativity. Then there's the Dirac Equation in electrodynamics. And then quantum electrodynamics. And before I knew it (it was a very short time) I was "playing'' - working, really - with the same old problem that I loved so much, that I had stopped working on when I went to Los Alamos: my thesis-type problems; all those old-fashioned, wonderful things.

It was effortless. It was easy to play with these things. It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly. I almost tried to resist it! There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate.

And there you have it. One day Feynman was screwing around with a problem with no importance whatsoever and he ended up winning a Nobel Prize. That's science! Sometimes science is trying to do good for humanity, but other times it's screwing around doing what you feel like doing -- within reason, of course -- and letting anything good for humanity happen as a side effect. It is this kind of playful curiosity, this sort of thing you call pointless, that leads to many of our breakthroughs.

This is not to mention that I'm sure some of the work that has gone into Chinook has advanced the state of the art, so that other people can make stronger AIs and produce solutions to other games.

JohnAcker wrote:That's true for purposes of playing a full game, but not for analyzing or adjudicating a given position.

Naturally. I've actually mentioned this several times. ;)
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Fri May 31, 2013 1:38 am

Chinook team did a terrific job.

When correspondent from New York Times called me in 2007 and asked what I think about, I said that this is certainly a great thing which very little affect my life ! :D

Don't know if he published it or not.
I am playing checkers, not chess.
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Re: Why Checkers is NOT easier than Chess

Postby George Hay on Fri May 31, 2013 9:12 am

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