Thursday, November 24, 2011

Olympiad finishes, 4th and 5th places for Fuego on large board sizes

First, the good news: Timo Ewalds' program Castro defended its title in the game of Havannah. This brings our total to three Gold medals. Congratulations Timo!

The Go competitions did not go so well. Fuego got 4th on 13x13 and 5th on 19x19. I believe that Fuego had chances in several games, but it showed a disturbing tendency to suddenly tenuki (play elsewhere) in the middle of a critical fight. I am not sure if it is a bug, or what else was going on. The last game of the tournament, against undefeated winner Zen, is a good example. Fuego put up a good fight in the center, and seemed to have Zen's groups in some trouble. Then suddenly at move 122 Fuego switched elsewhere, and completely collapsed as a result. Not good.

The game records for 13x13 and 19x19 are on KGS. Overall, the level of competition was very tough. Zen won all its games on 13x13 and 19x19, and is the undisputed number one. Erik van der Werf's Steenvreter made a strong comeback with two silver medals. The open source program Pachi, running on a large cluster, is a serious contender in every tournament now. The German program Gomorra is also greatly improved, and last year's 9x9 winner MyGoFriend can now play on the large board as well. It seems like several of the programs implemented new techniques described in our postdoc Aja Huang's recent PhD thesis. Ironically, these are not included in Fuego yet.

Next up: the UEC cup in early December. Fuego surprisingly won that event last year, but it will be extremely difficult to repeat that success.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Computer Olympiad: UAlberta programs rake in the medals

The Computer Olympiad is well under way. I am following it from far away. Some games are played and archived online. The news about others are slowly trickling in.

So far programs authored or co-authored by people in our games group got:
2 Gold (Hex and NoGo)
2 Silver (Hex and NoGo)
2 Bronze (Amazons and 9x9 Go)

In Hex, the two Alberta programs defended their Gold and Silver medals, which they have now held for three years in a row. Impressive!

MoHex (UofA): 7 wins 0 losses
Wolve (UofA): 4 wins 3 losses
Panoramex (Paris Dauphine) 8 losses

According to Ryan Hayward, leader of the Hex group, Panoramex played strongly and had several winning positions, but the endgame solver bailed out our programs in at least two cases.

In NoGo, two programs with UofA involvement also took Gold and Silver. Both programs are heavily based on the Monte Carlo search engine in our Fuego Go program, with modifications to implement the NoGo game rules and remove parts that are Go-specific. The Gold medal went to BobNoGo, by Bob Hearn and myself. Silver went to FxNoGo by my student Fan Xie. The competition had three strong programs, including the Taiwanese program CMNoGo, derived from the Go program ColdMilk. The top programs seem to be stronger than humans.

BobNoGo: 4 wins
FxNoGo: 2 wins 2 losses
CMNoGo: 4 losses

Game records for BobNoGo and FxNoGo.

In Amazons, our Arrow2 took third place (out of four programs) behind Invader and 8QP. It managed to win one game from 8QP. The program still has some weaknesses in the opening, getting its queens trapped. Arrow2 has been playing quite successfully against humans on the Little Golem site. There is a discussion thread about it on Little Golem.

In Go, the 9x9 and 13x13 tournaments have finished. The 19x19 will follow tonight (North American time). Fuego won a Bronze medal on 9x9. With a little bit of luck (well, what I really mean is without playing one or two bad moves) the Gold would have been in reach.

Top three:
Zen 10 wins 2 losses
pachi 9 wins 3 losses, won playoff 3:1
Fuego 9 wins 3 losses
Full results (all scores are off by two)
Fuego game records for 9x9

The 13x13 did not go too well. Fuego may have missed some chances, but I have not analyzed the games yet. Zen won ahead of stv and pachi.
Full results
Fuego game records for 13x13

You can watch the 19x19 on KGS tonight or look at the tournament records on the web. Also still to come: Havannah, where Timo Ewald's Castro is defending its title from 2010.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

TAAI 2011: Zen keeps winning; two more second places for Fuego

The TAAI tournament concluded last night with the 9x9 and 13x13 tournaments. In the 9x9 tournament, Fuego had technical problems with its opening book, and got into bad lines in several games. In round one against CyGo, the game with Fuego as Black turned into the infamous "Z" opening, which seems to be completely lost for Black according to our previous experience.
See the game on EidoGo. After move 9, Black's stones have a "Z" shape. Both players have two one-space extensions at opposite sides of the board. If all stones are safe, The extra black stone in the center loses its meaning, and Black cannot give the komi. In this game, White makes a mistake at move 18. Simply blocking from the outside at B6 would capture the black stones and easily win the game. Both games against Zen were simple losses straight out of the opening. In the last round, Fuego was matched against MoGo in what amounted to a playoff for second place. After being tied after two regular games, the programs played two more, and Black ended up winning all four games. So Fuego and MoGo shared second place. I will post the overall standings once they are announced.

The 13x13 tournament saw Fuego's best effort in this event. It achieved a winning position against Zen but lost its way in the end. See the game here. After Black lives at the bottom with move 77, Black is ahead. Fuego also counters White's invasion at the top left very strongly with move 81. If it captured one stone with 87 at D12, it would easily win the semeai. Inexplicably, Fuego switches elsewhere. Still, I think Fuego is slightly ahead until move 95. Blocking on the outside wins by about 1.5 points in my analysis. The inside block either loses points, or leads to a ko fight that Fuego cannot win. For 103, M9 seems better but still not enough to win. Overall, a good effort by Fuego, but a missed chance for a rare victory against Zen.

Final standings on 13x13 were the same as on 19x19:

1. Zen 3 wins
2. Fuego 2 wins
3. Mogo 1 win
4. Coldmilk 0 wins

Zen' games (all board sizes)
Fuego 9x9 games
Fuego 13x13 games
Fuego 19x19 games

Friday, November 11, 2011

TAAI tournament has started; Fuego second on 19x19

The TAAI Computer Game Tournaments are sponsored by the Taiwanese Association for Artificial Intelligence (TAAI) and organized by a Taiwanese group of computer games researchers. This year they are organizing three Go tournaments, on 9x9, 13x13 and 19x19. The 19x19 event was last night, with 4 participants.

1. Zen 3 wins
2. Fuego 2 wins
3. MoGo 1 win
4. Coldmilk 0 wins

As expected, Zen won all its games. Still, I am very happy with Fuego's performance. It put up a good fight in all three games. Even though the hardware and software only came together in the last minute, it seemed to run smoothly.

You can find the games on the KGS archives here: Zen, Fuego, MoGo, Coldmilk. Or replay the game of Zen against Fuego using the EidoGo service.

Tonight (Our time), the 9x9 and 13x13 tournaments will follow.