Contest 29 is Underway!

General Discussion about the game of Checkers.

Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:24 am

The Starry Struggles in the current Unofficial World Championship Checker Problem Composing Contest will help you tune up for that next big tournament. There are no strokes in this contest . . . just good, hard, practical checkers . . . the kind that you repeatedly fail to execute properly.

Take up the challenges:

Follow the links to the animations and vote for the winner between now and August 31, 2016. You will be glad you did.

At any time, enter your own original, unpublished composition for a future contest. There is a competition here for every style of checker problem.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Bill Salot on Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:55 pm

Now that the big match in Italy and the big tournament in Branson are over. Do you suppose a few of us will have time to experience and assess the hard work of the five composers in this problem composing contest? Let's not disappoint the one composer who optimistically entered this contest hoping to win after a long layoff. Your Vote will be appreciated.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby George Hay on Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:35 am

Contest #29 shows the strategic planning of a Master!

--George Hay
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:04 am

This is the last weekend before the polls close on Contest 29. The race is close.
Moiseyev and Morrison ought to use it for fine tuning before their forthcoming 11-man ballot match.
The link below will get you there.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby George Hay on Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:57 am

Congratulations to Mr. Alex for winning the Sixth International Draughts (10x10) Composing Contest!...There is still time to vote on Contest 29, but only until the end of August!

--George Hay
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Ed Trice on Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:12 pm

Bill Salot wrote:
At any time, enter your own original, unpublished composition for a future contest. There is a competition here for every style of checker problem.


Are computer compositions allowed? Now that I am in the process of solving the 8-, 9-, and 10-piece perfect play databases, the program can tell me the EXACT solution to any such composition with the minimum number of moves.

The program will also be able to "grade" the solutions of some of the compositions, since they are within the database I am computing.

Example: The longest win found so far with 8 pieces, and the optimal play for both sides...

Image
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Ed Trice on Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:41 pm

I took a look at the "Broken Trail" composition, loading GUI Checkers 1.10 with my 6-piece perfect play database. It found a big improvement at the very end of the line.

Image

The solution is fine through here...

1. 18-14 12-16 2. 13-9 4-8 3. 9-6 16-19 4. 24x15 11x25 5. 6-2 8-11 6. 2-6 10-15
7. 14-10 7x14 8. 17x10 25-30 9. 6-2 15-18 10. 2-7 11-15 11. 7-11 30-26 12. 10-6 26-22
13. 6-2 15-19 14. 11-15 19-23 15. 2-6 23-27 16. 15-10 27-31 17. 20-16 3-8 18. 10-15

... but then the solution lists 8-12?? which loses immediately. Instead, the endgame can head for 5 kings versus 4 kings and last much longer:

18-23! (improvement) 19. 16-12 8-11 20. 15x8 23-27 21. 28-24 31-26 22. 24-20 26-23 23. 20-16 27-31 24. 16-11 23-18
25. 6-10 31-27 26. 11-7 18-23 27. 7-2 5-9 28. 8-11 9-13 29. 10-15 27-32 30. 12-8 23-18
31. 21-17 18-23 32. 17-14 23-18 33. 14-10 13-17 34. 8-3 18-23 35. 3-7 23-27 36. 10-6 17-21
37. 7-10 21-25 38. 6-1 25-30

...and there is still a lot of fight left in the game.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:17 pm

Ed Trice wrote:... but then the solution lists 8-12?? which loses immediately.
Ed, as a reigning FMJD composition problematic world champion, I can confirm, that it is perfectly fine for composer to choose a weaker play if there is a pretty (just pretty!) win after then. As composer I choose what way the weaker site gonna lose. The only thing I have to make sure - win for strong site always exists with any continuation.

Composition is a piece of art, not scientific manuscript! :D

AM
I am playing checkers, not chess.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Ed Trice on Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:20 pm

The composition entitled "Watch Out" was likewise in need of correction.

The solution begins with:

1. 23-19 20-24 2. 29-25

...and then it immediately goes off course with "26-22 B" and in note B, it actually makes the correct next move. So the trunk line is wrong, as it is an immediate capitulation into a lost 6-piece ending that is fairly straightforward to win.

The complete solution, with "perfect play" for both sides, should be:

...26-30 3. 25-21 30-25 4. 18-14 25-22 5. 32-28 5-9 6. 14x5 24-27
7. 28-24 27-31 8. 5-9 31-27 9. 24-20 27-23 10. 19-16 11-15 11. 9-13 23-27 12. 16-12 27-23
13. 12-8 23-19 14. 8-4 22-26 15. 13-9 19-23 16. 9-14 15-19 17. 21-17 26-30 18. 4-8 23-27
19. 14-10 27-31 20. 8-12 31-27 21. 12-16 19-23 22. 10-15 27-31 23. 17-13 31-27 24. 16-19 30-26
25. 19-24 27-31 26. 24-28 26-22 27. 13-9 31-27 28. 28-32 27-31 29. 9-5 22-17 30. 15-18 23-26
31. 5-1 17-21 32. 32-28 21-17 33. 28-24 26-30 34. 1-6 30-25 35. 6-10 17-22 36. 10-15 22-17
37. 20-16 25-30 38. 15-10 17-21 39. 16-11 21-25 40. 24-19 25-29 41. 19-23 29-25 42. 11-7 31-26
43. 18-15 26x19 44. 15x24 30-26 45. 24-19 26-30 46. 19-23 25-22 47. 10-15 30-25 48. 15-19 25-21
49. 7-2 21-25 50. 2-6 22-17 51. 6-9 25-30 52. 9-13 17-22 53. 23-27 22-18 54. 19-23 18-22
55. 27-31 30-25 56. 23-26 25-21 57. 26x17 21x14 58. 31-27 14-18 59. 13-9 18-15 60. 27-23 15-10
61. 23-19 10-7 62. 19-15 7-3 63. 15-11 3-8 64. 11x4
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Ed Trice on Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:27 pm

Alex_Moiseyev wrote:Composition is a piece of art, not scientific manuscript! :D
AM


I can only rely by quoting the great World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz:

Image

"A win by an unsound combination, however showy, fills me with artistic horror."
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby George Hay on Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:30 am

Congratulations to Roy Little for winning Contest #29 with his composition Broken Trail.
This was a very tough competition, and it reminded me of a quote by Dr. Marion F. Tinsley:

Chess is like looking across an ocean. Checkers is like looking down a well.

The computer analysis by Ed Trice confirms this! Yet questions remain.
Is checkers an art or a science? And what makes for a good problem?

--George Hay
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Ed Trice on Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:54 am

George Hay wrote:This was a very tough competition, and it reminded me of a quote by Dr. Marion F. Tinsley:

Chess is like looking across an ocean. Checkers is like looking down a well.


His quote was a little more descriptive than that.

“Playing chess is like looking out over a limitless ocean.
Playing checkers is like looking into a bottomless well.”

The meaning is that chess has more possibilities on the horizon, but checkers requires deeper investigation.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:14 pm

Wow! It’s great that our little problem composing contest attracted the attention of Messrs. Trice and Moiseyev. It would be an honor and a thrill to have you gentlemen actually participate, even if it is for just one time. Doing so would set a good example for others to follow.

Ed’s initial question was, “Are computer compositions allowed?” Yes, of course. Jim Loy’s masterpieces, for example, are all strongly influenced by his computer analysis. The only stipulations are that contest entries be sound; free of dual solutions; original with the person claiming to be the author; and previously unpublished.

So the above diagrammed “longest win found so far with 8 pieces” would be disqualified immediately by its published appearance there. That is consistent with a contest policy to keep problem entries and authors’ names confidential until they are formally announced on the contest site.

The biggest contest obstacle for problems like “longest win found so far with 8 pieces” is probably that, with so many possible moves in its long solution, the author may have difficulty proving that it has no dual solutions.

The final contest obstacle might be finding comparable problems to provide fair competition. By definition, the competition for a “longest win” problem would have shorter solutions. The length of solution might influence some voters, but not others. The voting in these contests is notoriously unpredictable. A single deceptive move may win votes. We all take our chances trying to please the voters. The plurality of votes, not the number of moves, decides which contest problems are best.

Ed’s comments on the two problems in Contest 29 do not upset the terms of the problems. They are just alternate defenses, which the composers, reviewers and judges probably recognized and discarded as unworthy of taking up publication space. The wins are still sound.

We do have some potential contest entries in which there are some long variations with questionable results. Ed Trice or Sune Thrane reviews of these variations would be most welcome.

My address is on the contest page at the following link.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Ed Trice on Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:34 pm

Bill Salot wrote:So the above diagrammed “longest win found so far with 8 pieces” would be disqualified immediately by its published appearance there. That is consistent with a contest policy to keep problem entries and authors’ names confidential until they are formally announced on the contest site.


Understood, and I agree regarding the disqualification. I just wanted to showcase what the database generator was turning out, and that 291-ply win was the first monstrosity I encountered.

Bill Salot wrote:The biggest contest obstacle for problems like “longest win found so far with 8 pieces” is probably that, with so many possible moves in its long solution, the author may have difficulty proving that it has no dual solutions.


It would be no additional effort on my part to furnish every solution, since just one or two lines of code can have the program do just that.

But I can also query the databases in more creative ways, such as "Show me a position where the side to move and win has only 1 winning move for X moves in a row," and I can vary the "X" parameter to anything under the sun. That might be more interesting, since one wrong step along the way could throw away the win.

Bill Salot wrote:The plurality of votes, not the number of moves, decides which contest problems are best.


And that makes perfect sense to me!

Bill Salot wrote:Ed’s comments on the two problems in Contest 29 do not upset the terms of the problems. They are just alternate defenses, which the composers, reviewers and judges probably recognized and discarded as unworthy of taking up publication space. The wins are still sound.


I posted them just in case somebody missed something somewhere along the way. Now I have been made aware, via Alex's remarks, that the solutions' moves are sometimes intuitively based, rather than deductively arrived at, and, therefore, the most arduous defense or quickest attack do not apply.

Bill Salot wrote:We do have some potential contest entries in which there are some long variations with questionable results. Ed Trice or Sune Thrane reviews of these variations would be most welcome.


If you have any specific positions with moves/lines that need examining, you can send me a private message. I am still generating databases, but my querying program can test to see if a pre-computed result is available. If there is any path to a pre-computed result, my program will find it.
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Re: Contest 29 is Underway!

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:02 pm

Ed,

Your program certainly sounds interesting. I would like to take advantage of it.

But I don't know how to send you a private message, i.e. your e-mail address.
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