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Archive 7

April 15th, 2005
Ktulu 7.0 SERVICE 4
Ktulu 7.0
lost 21 ELO points (ATL-2)
Ktulu 7.0 review by Steve Maughan
Ktulu comments by Rahman Paidar

107, FQ

Ktulu 7.0 by Rahman Paidar (Iran) played now 236 games in ATL-2.
Ktulu with problems vs. TheKing 3.33 Schumacher and perhaps vs. ProDeo 1.1 too?

ATL-2 League (you can download all games here)

ATL-2 results:
Ktulu 7.0 - Shredder 9.0             26.5 : 33.5 (over)
Ktulu 7.0 - Gandalf 6.01             31.0 : 29.0 (over)
Ktulu 7.0 - TheKing 3.33 Schumacher  28.0 : 32.0 (over)
Ktulu 7.0 - Ruffian 2.1.0            25.0 : 22.0 (13 games to play)
Ktulu 7.0 - ProDeo 1.1                4.5 :  5.5 (50 games to play)

---

ATL-2 rating list after 2.396 games
40 moves in 20 minutes

    Program                          Elo    +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9.0                   : 2750   26  26   540    71.4 %   2591   29.8 %
  2 Ktulu 7.0                      : 2653   36  36   236    48.5 %   2663   34.3 %
  3 Gandalf 6.01                   : 2653   25  24   540    57.3 %   2602   31.3 %
  4 TheKing 3.33 Schumacher        : 2631   24  24   540    53.8 %   2604   30.9 %
  5 ProDeo 1.1                     : 2621   26  26   490    52.9 %   2601   31.4 %
  6 Ruffian 2.1.0                  : 2619   25  25   526    52.1 %   2604   31.6 %
  7 SlowChess Blitz WV             : 2563   26  26   480    43.8 %   2607   29.2 %
  8 SOS 5.1 for Arena              : 2561   26  26   480    43.3 %   2607   30.4 %
  9 Spike 0.9                      : 2527   26  26   480    38.1 %   2611   31.7 %
 10 Pharaon 3.2                    : 2498   27  27   480    33.8 %   2615   28.3 %

---

After 031 ATL-2 games = 2.693 ELO
After 056 ATL-2 games = 2.689 ELO - 4
After 105 ATL-2 games = 2.684 ELO - 5
After 178 ATL-2 games = 2.674 ELO -10
After 236 ATL-2 games = 2.653 ELO -21

Ktulu 7.0 REVIEW:
Steve Maughan (England) has written an review to Ktulu 7.0 ...
Can be found under http://www.computerchessnews.com/

Rahman Paidar (programmer of Ktulu) wrote me:
"I have got other messages with this topic today. I am working on a bug fixed version plus an improvement version. I may release a free update version two months later or so."

Topic are bug messages by users. In some games Ktulu lost on time. I have the same problems in the first match vs. ProDeo and games vs. TheKing. In the first match vs. ProDeo Ktulu lost two games on time with an evaluation over 15.x.

Of course the customers will get the first update of Ktulu automacially.

Some other results by testers:

Michael Jesdinsky (Arena Test):
Hiarcs 9.0 - Ktulu 7.0
7.5 : 12.5 (40 moves in 20 minutes, Pentium III 933)
45% draws.

Harry Schnapp (Arena Mainbook):
Fritz 8.1.2.0 - Ktulu 7.0
4.5 : 5.5 (games in 40 minutes, Pentium IV 2.8)

Hiarcs 9.0 - Ktulu 7.0
5.5 : 4.5 (games in 40 minutes, Pentium IV 2.8)

I believe the ELO calculation can be better if we add the ChessBase TOP programs in ATL-2 (not possible, I am playing with WB / UCI engines only). At the moment I have positive results against the product family of ChessBase. ChessTiger 15.0 only have a positve results vs. Ktulu 7.0. But the program of Rahman Paidar have problems vs. strong postional engines, like TheKing, ProDeo, ChessTiger. I believe Ktulu will lost the match vs. ProDeo and the ELO will fall again 10-15 ELO. The CEGT results will be better because Ktulu have to play vs. the product familiy of Chess-Base.

Harry wrote me after his latest Hiarcs match in German language:
"Ktulu hat Probleme im Spiel mit Schwerfiguren und 5-6 Bauern. Ungenaue Bauernvorstöse, versucht mit der Brechstange die  Stellungen zu öffnen und verliert schnell. Somit hat er zwei sichere halbe Punkte verschenkt!.  Es könnte an der Selektivsuche liegen, Lücken die übersehen werden, weil die Distanz vom Fehler bis zum Drama nicht mehr  als 8-9 Halbzüge beträgt."

Interesting results that Ktulu does well against TOP programs (like the TOP 5) and not so well against probably a little ELO weaker programs.

 


 


April 14th, 2005
Ktulu 7.0 SERVICE 3, SENSATION
Ktulu 7.0
could be World's number 3-4 !!
Ktulu 7.0 strongest available WinBoard engine ?!

106, FQ

Ktulu 7.0 by Rahman Paidar (Iran) played now 178 games in ATL-2. It seems Ktulu have problems with TheKing 3.33 Schumacher.

ATL-2 League (you can download all games here)

ATL-2 results:
Ktulu 7.0 - Shredder 9.0             26.5 : 33.5 (over)
Ktulu 7.0 - Gandalf 6.01             31.0 : 29.0 (over)
Ktulu 7.0 - TheKing 3.33 Schumacher  23.5 : 22.5 (14 games to play)
Ktulu 7.0 - Ruffian 2.1.0             8.5 :  4.5 (47 games to play)

---

ATL-2 rating list after 2.338 games
40 moves in 20 minutes

    Program                          Elo    +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9.0                   : 2750   26  26   540    71.4 %   2591   29.8 %
  2 Ktulu 7.0                      : 2674   42  42   178    49.7 %   2676   34.3 %
  3 Gandalf 6.01                   : 2653   25  24   540    57.3 %   2602   31.3 %
  4 TheKing 3.33 Schumacher        : 2627   25  25   526    53.4 %   2603   30.8 %
  5 ProDeo 1.1                     : 2617   26  26   480    52.8 %   2598   31.5 %
  6 Ruffian 2.1.0                  : 2615   26  25   492    52.2 %   2600   31.3 %
  7 SlowChess Blitz WV             : 2561   26  26   480    43.8 %   2605   29.2 %
  8 SOS 5.1 for Arena              : 2558   26  26   480    43.3 %   2605   30.4 %
  9 Spike 0.9                      : 2525   26  26   480    38.1 %   2609   31.7 %
 10 Pharaon 3.2                    : 2496   27  27   480    33.8 %   2613   28.3 %
---
After 031 ATL-2 games = 2.693 ELO
After 056 ATL-2 games = 2.689 ELO - 4
After 105 ATL-2 games = 2.684 ELO - 5
After 178 ATL-2 games = 2.674 ELO -10

 

The history of the Ktulu 7.0 rating calculation is very interesting. Ktulu loosed 10 ELO after TheKing 3.33 Schumacher games. I believe with the next games the ELO will be better because Ktulu don't have any problems againt Ruffian 2.1.0 by Per-Ola Valfridsson. I am to 80,54367% sure after all my knowledge from 6 years (I have nothing learned in the latest years) with ratings that Ktulu 7.0 have a final result from around 2.670 - 2.680.

Some Ktulu buyers sent the first results:

Christian Koch (CEGT member):
Gandalf 6.01 - Ktulu 7.0,
4.0 : 6.0 (40 moves in 15 minutes, Athlon 1.7)

Harry Schnapp (Arena Mainbook):
Junior 9.0 - Ktulu 7.0
4.0 : 6.0 (games in 40 minutes, Pentium IV 2.8)

Chess Tiger 15.0 - Ktulu 7.0
8.5 : 1.5 (games in 40 minuts, Pentium IV 2.8) ... Ktulu 7.0 found an opponent ?!

Michael Jesdinsky (Arena Test):
Gandalf 6.01 - Ktulu 7.0
6.5 : 13.5 (40 moves in 20 minutes, Pentium III 933)

Comment in German language by Harry Schnapp (70 years):
"Mir zittert die Hand während ich schreibe. Der Ktulu spielt "Polka" mit dem Deep Junior 9. IN 40 Minuten Partien steht es bisher 6 - 1  für  KTULU !!!!!!.
Tatsache ist, dass Junior nicht weis mit wem er spielt, geht auf Angriff und zieht den kürzeren."

After three games more Ktulu 7.0 won with 6.0 : 4.0 vs. Junior 9.0. Harry wrote that Ktulu 7.0 have problems with the playing style from ChessTiger 15.0. Ktulu loosed with 1.5 : 8.5 vs. ChessTiger 15.0 on Harry's machine. In this case we have to wait of the results vs. Fritz 8.0. Against Hiarcs 9.0 Ktulu 7.0 seems to make more as 50%. If Ktulu have problems vs. positional strong programs the ELO in ATL-2 will fall again with around 20 points.

Harry Schnapp wrote me for around one year after the release of Ktulu 5.1:
"Rahman is one, perhaps the biggest talent the computer community have.
I believe the next Ktulu version could be a sensation. We have to help him to make the program stronger".

Yes Harry, our team and only a hand full persons I know have such an opinion about Ktulu 5.1.
Ktulu 7.0 is now available and without tablebases the ELO rating is a big SENSATION.
In my opinion a bigger sensation as in the time Ruffian 1.0.0 is available.

 

Jan Kiwitter (Germany)

With such strong results Ktulu 7.0 could be the new

WinBoard Number 1 ?!

But we have to wait of more results ...

Fact is:
Rahman Paidar (Iran) & Jan Kiwitter (Germany, main tester) are one of the best we have! A good example how strong can be a work between programmer and tester!

Order Ktulu 7.0
Gladiator-Shop

 


 


April 12th, 2005
Gladiator-Shop, Ktulu 7.0 by Rahman Paidar (Iran) released.

105, FQ

Please read the complete message ...

Ktulu 7.0 by Rahman Paidar (Iran) was released.

You can send your order, please go to Gladiator-Shop

Prices:
Ktulu 7.x = 19,95 EUR
Ktulu 7.x = 14.95 EUR for Ktulu 5.x customers!

Changes from Ktulu 5.1 to 7.0:
- new prunning system and better search algotithms which clearly resulted in a better tactical performance.
- added a bunch of new positional knowledge.
- a lot of new endgame knowledge.
- fixed a few bugs in UCI mode.

Rahman Paidar will create an own registry key for each customer!
We can send Ktulu 7.0 as soon as possible, up to 1-2 days after your order.

Note 1:
We are not 24hours online!

Information to the new Ktulu 7.0 version can be found on this News-Ticker.
Message 080 (Interview with Rahman Paidar, comments by his beta tester Jan Kiwitter).
Message 100 (result service)
Message 102 (result service)
Message 103 (result service)

You can pay with PayPal (com), PayPal (de)
We will send the software after your order by invoice (not by prepayment).
You will get two PDF documents after your order!

Note 2:
If you have a problem with our shop-system ...
This text I wrote last year
(Gladiator-Shop News-Ticker):

 

April 07th, 2004
Do you have a problem with our shop-system?

It seems that some customers click the wrong button or forgot to click on "Quantity". They await the commercial version. For Gladiator-Shop team it isn't possible to see what you really want. After each correct order you will get a confirmation of order by automatical mail. This is your checkup that you have ordered right.

Step by Step:
01. Click on "Gladiator-Shop" MENU system
02. Click on "Order WB/UCI Patriot 1.1.0"
03. Click on "Quantity", you can order set 1
04. Click on "Add to cart"
05. Click on "order" and fill out the form (your name, address ...)
06. Click on "submit your order"
07. Click on "confirmation of order"
Ready
In the next 24 hours the Gladiator team is finish worked with your order!

This mail you will receive:

Dear Gladiator,
thanks for your order!
1. You order a commercial version:
We will send more information about your order in a second mail (PDF file, confirmation of order)
and a third mail (PDF file, invoice).
2. You order a free version:
If you order the free WB Patriot 0.1.7-2 Light only, you can find the program under: ...
For a free order point 1 isn't important for you!
Best regards
Gladiator-Shop

You have ordered the following articles:

article number       = E-001
product              = WB/UCI Patriot 1.1.0
price                = 19.95 Euro
options              =
end price            = 19.95 Euro
quantity             = 1
amount               = 19.95 Euro


amount               = 19.95 Euro
---------------------------------
Total                = 19.95 Euro
=================================

VAT included (Europe, EG): 16.00% MwSt = 2.75 Euro


family name          = Quisinsky
first name           = Frank
mail                 = frank@playwitharena.com
street 1             = xxx
street 2             =
town 1               = xxx
town 2               =
country              = Germany
phone number         = xxx
comments             =

method of payment    = invoice


Best regards
Gladiator-Shop team!

Any other problems?
Please send us a short mail to:
sales@gladiatorshop.com

 

Thanks for your interest.
Have much fun with glorious Ktulu engine by Rahman Paidar (Iran).

No, No ...
You have fun with such a TACTIC MONSTER

 


 


April 12th, 2005
First official CEGT/ATL rating list!

104, FQ

The first official CEGT/ATL rating list was born!
This is a cooperation from Heinz van Kempen, Christian Koch and myself.
Tournament director is Heinz van Kempen!

The new selection isn't complete ready but we are working on it.

You will know the ratings from the TOP engines?
WE HAVE IT AND YOU GET IT
IF YOU WANT
, or not or what?

Yes or No?

RATING LIST
Link can be found in the future on Arena menu / frame!

 


 


April 12th, 2005
Ktulu 7.0 SERVICE 2
Ktulu 7.0 hold the strong results!

103, FQ

Ktulu 7.0 by Rahman Paidar (Iran) was playing 105 games now and can hold the strong results.
The results on the three ATL-2 systems, PGN, log files can be found under ATL-2 League

40 moves in 20 minutes on three different systems.
Pentium IV 2.67 GHz Mobile, Athlon64 3.8 GHz, Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz

ATL-2 results:
Ktulu 7.0 - Shredder 9.0             25.5 : 32.5 ( 2 games to play)
Ktulu 7.0 - Gandalf 6.01             19.5 : 16.5 (24 games to play)
Ktulu 7.0 - TheKing 3.33 Schumacher   6.0 :  6.0 (28 games to play)

For seconds Ktulu won game 18 on ATL-2 System 1 (Pentium IV 2.67 Mobile Notebook).
It seems that Ktulu can win the second match vs. Shredder 9.0.
At the moment: Ktulu 7.0 - Shredder 9.0, 9.5 : 8.5

Same day two hours later:
Ktulu 7.0 won the second 20 games match vs. Shredder 9.0 on Pentium IV 2.67 Mobile with 10.5 : 9.5 !!

A forth match in still running on an older Pentium III 900 MHz vs. Gandalf 6.01 with 40 moves in 20 minutes
Ktulu 7.0 - Gandalf 6.01, 11.0 : 3.0

After 031 ATL-2 games = 2.693 ELO
After 056 ATL-2 games = 2.689 ELO -4
After 105 ATL-2 games = 2.684 ELO -5

 

ATL-2 rating list after 2.265 games!

    Program                          Elo    +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9.0                   : 2750   26  26   537    71.6 %   2589   30.0 %
  2 Ktulu 7.0                      : 2684   54  54   105    47.6 %   2700   34.3 %
  3 Gandalf 6.01                   : 2650   25  25   516    57.6 %   2597   31.4 %
  4 TheKing 3.33 Schumacher        : 2622   26  26   492    53.8 %   2596   30.3 %
  5 ProDeo 1.1                     : 2614   26  26   480    52.8 %   2595   31.5 %
  6 Ruffian 2.1.0                  : 2613   26  26   480    52.6 %   2595   31.0 %
  7 SlowChess Blitz WV             : 2558   26  26   480    43.8 %   2602   29.2 %
  8 SOS 5.1 for Arena              : 2556   26  26   480    43.3 %   2602   30.4 %
  9 Spike 0.9                      : 2522   26  26   480    38.1 %   2606   31.7 %
 10 Pharaon 3.2                    : 2493   27  27   480    33.8 %   2610   28.3 %
I will try to give you in the next 2-3 days the same service and will work today on the Gladiatorshop page. Ktulu 7.0 is tomorrow available, later more! After all I saw I believe Ktulu 7.0 have the playing level from Hiarcs 9.0 / Gandalf 6.01 or better! The tactical playing strenght could be the best from all available chess programs!
School grade if I compare with other commercial TOP programs: Tatic style        = 1 Positional style   = 3 Endgame playing    = 2 without tablebase support !!
I don't know an other tactical engine with such a strong endgame. This can be the advantage or secret from the new Ktulu 7.0 version. Interesting are the tablebase question! In my opinion Ktulu can be better around 20 ELO. I asked Rahman Paidar and here is the answer:
Rahman Paidar: "I am not interesting in supporting TB, and I wouldn't do that. I will correct endgame weakness for the next versions."
Why not? Ktulu have a lot of endgame knowledge and this is without tablebase support a fantastic result.
 

 


April 11th, 2005
Ktulu 7.0 SERVICE 1
Ktulu 7.0 the number three in the World?

102, FQ

This was a long night. I am sitting here and follow the Ktulu 7.0 games on the three ATL-2 machines. The computer chess community have a new sensation. Ktulu 7.0 could be the number three in the World.

Note:
All this without tablebase support. The reason that Ktulu 7.0 have problems on the Dual Xeon 2.8 machines in the match vs. Shredder 9.0. Shredder are playing with 5-pieces TBs.

Ktulu 7.0 will be available this week!

The shooting star Rahman Paidar (IRAN)

The peoples in IRAN can be very proud!
Here live and work one of the best programmers
the World have!

 

Look here ...
ATL-2 ratinglist, now are 56 Ktulu 7.0 games in the list:
40 moves in 20 minutes!

    Program                          Elo    +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9.0                   : 2750   26  26   524    72.2 %   2584   30.0 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  2 Ktulu 7.0                      : 2689   74  75    56    44.6 %   2726   35.7 %
  3 Gandalf 6.01                   : 2645   26  26   492    57.9 %   2589   30.9 %
  4 TheKing 3.33 Schumacher        : 2617   26  26   480    53.9 %   2590   30.6 %
  5 ProDeo 1.1                     : 2611   26  26   480    52.8 %   2591   31.5 %
  6 Ruffian 2.1.0                  : 2610   26  26   480    52.6 %   2591   31.0 %
  7 SlowChess Blitz WV             : 2555   26  26   480    43.8 %   2598   29.2 %
  8 SOS 5.1 for Arena              : 2552   26  26   480    43.3 %   2599   30.4 %
  9 Spike 0.9                      : 2519   26  26   480    38.1 %   2603   31.7 %
 10 Pharaon 3.2                    : 2489   27  27   480    33.8 %   2606   28.3 %
Download (games -pgn-, log files): ATL-2 League

Or this one ...
CEGT/ATL ratinglist after 10.636 games, ~ 40 moves in 20 minutes!
This will be the official rating list on Arena in the future, more information to this topic later ...

    Program                          Elo    +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9.0                   : 2750   15  15  1516    69.6 %   2606   29.4 %
  2 Fritz 8                        : 2697   19  19   992    62.0 %   2612   28.1 %
  3 Ktulu 7.0                      : 2692   74  75    56    44.6 %   2729   35.7 %
  4 Junior 9                       : 2682   19  18   992    59.9 %   2613   28.6 %
  5 Gandalf 6.0 - 6.01             : 2655   15  15  1484    56.2 %   2612   31.5 %
  6 Hiarcs 9                       : 2652   18  18   992    55.4 %   2614   33.5 %
  7 Chess Tiger 15.0               : 2639   17  17   992    53.3 %   2615   36.9 %
  8 TheKing 3.33 Steadfast         : 2638   24  24   510    52.5 %   2621   34.7 %
  9 TheKing 3.33 Schumacher        : 2634   26  26   480    53.9 %   2607   30.6 %
 10 Ruffian 2.1.0                  : 2629   15  15  1472    52.2 %   2613   32.5 %
 11 ProDeo 1.1                     : 2619   15  15  1472    50.6 %   2615   30.5 %
 12 List 512                       : 2618   18  18   992    50.3 %   2617   32.6 %
 13 TheKing 3.33 Yoda              : 2597   25  26   482    47.9 %   2612   32.8 %
 14 Fruit 2.0                      : 2589   18  18   992    45.7 %   2619   28.8 %
 15 Deep Sjeng 1.6                 : 2579   26  26   510    43.4 %   2625   28.4 %
 16 SOS 5.0 - 5.1 for Arena        : 2578   15  15  1472    44.3 %   2618   32.9 %
 17 Aristarch 4.50                 : 2574   18  18   992    43.5 %   2619   30.6 %
 18 SlowChess Blitz WV             : 2566   18  18   962    43.0 %   2615   32.7 %
 19 Ktulu 5.1                      : 2562   26  26   510    40.8 %   2626   28.6 %
 20 Thinker 4.7a                   : 2559   25  25   482    42.1 %   2614   35.7 %
 21 Anaconda 2.0.1                 : 2544   26  26   482    39.9 %   2615   32.2 %
 22 Spike 0.9                      : 2535   26  26   480    38.1 %   2619   31.7 %
 23 Delfi 4.5                      : 2531   26  26   482    37.9 %   2617   32.2 %
 24 Pharaon 3.2                    : 2527   19  19   962    37.1 %   2619   31.3 %
 25 Patriot 1.3.0                  : 2502   27  27   510    32.4 %   2630   25.5 %
Ktulu 7.0 is improved with 130 ELO?
Rahman, I need a new statement :-)

Based on the following results (56 games so far):

Ktulu 7.0 (Athlon64 3.8 GHz)      - Shredder 9.0, 10.5 :  9.5
Shredder 9.0 loosed his first ATL-2 match.

German comment:
Erinnern wir uns an das Interview mit Stefan Meyer-Kahlen ... Achilles. Stellen wir uns vor, Achilles klettert gerade als erster der mehreren Tausend Krieger von seinem Schiff beim Angriff auf Troja und knickt mit dem Fuß um. Tausende beobachten die Szene vom Bänderriss im Internet. Er ruft "Sanitäter, Sanitäter ...". So können wir uns derzeit die Situation vorstellen. Der UNBESIEGBARE verliert gegen Ktulu 7.0 ... das ist eine wirkliche Sensation! Shredder wurde von Ktulu in vielen Partien auf dem Athlon64 regelrecht vorgeführt. Derzeit erleidet Gandalf 6.01 sein Schicksaal. Der große Zauberer findet seinen Meister im Mittelspiel? Einfach unglaublich ...

I never saw a so strong tactical engine!
Let us wait of more games ...

Ktulu 7.0 (Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz)     - Shredder 9.0,  5.5 : 14.5
Ktulu 7.0 (Pentium IV M 2.67 GHz) - Shredder 9.0,  1.5 :  2.5
Ktulu 7.0 (Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz)     - Gandalf 6.01,  7.5 :  4.5

After 031 ATL-2 games = 2.693 ELO
After 056 ATL-2 games = 2.689 ELO -4

Later more ...

 


 


April 10th, 2005
Club players, special books ... by Chris Tatham

101, Chris Tatham

Chris Tatham sent me an interesting news for our webpage:

 

Club Players  - Special books

In addition to running computer tourneys, I like to use Arena to practice my openings for general over the board games at the local chess club, weekend tournaments etc..

Webpage from Chris Tatham

To help, I have built a number of specialist books for particular openings. As these have been primarily for my own use I have initially picked some of my own favourite openings, typically a little unusual or in some cases ‘off-beat’ for added impact against human players. These include:

- Nimzowitsch Defence
- Budapest Gambit
- Grob
- Benko
Gambit
- Trompowsky

These books are not designed specifically for maximum strength but to allow club players in-depth practice of individual openings. As a result, these books have been developed from games of players of a much wider range of strengths than normal books (ie not just GM or super GM). The idea being that the book maximises the range of potential responses and includes moves you might be more likely to face over the board in practice (unless you are a GM/super GM!).

 

Duplicate games have been removed from source pgn files and in each case maximum book depth is 24 half moves.

Thanks Chris!

 


 


April 10th, 2005
Ktulu

100, FQ
Note: Message 100 ... today I will start a big party here :-)
Hope the readers have fun with Arena News-Ticker ... thanks to all people helping me

Rahman Paidar develops in the last year really a tactical monster. I never saw an engine which won 5x back to back against Shredder 9.0. Ktulu 7.0 starts after 31 games with 2.693 ELO. If Ktulu hold this results the playing level will be the same as Junior 9.0 and Fritz 8.0. All is possible! Let us wait for more games!

A new sensation?

Not only the commercial program Gandalf 6.0 is improved to the preview version with ~ 100 ELO!
The young talent Rahman Paidar improved Ktulu a lot. It seems that the engine got more than 100 ELO!
Normally the ELO will fall around 50 after the first matches vs. Shredder 9.0 / Gandalf 6.0.

    Program                          Elo    +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9.0                   : 2750   27  27   511    72.4 %   2582   29.7 %
  2 Ktulu 7.0                      : 2693   98 100    31    41.9 %   2749   38.7 %
  3 Gandalf 6.01                   : 2647   26  26   480    58.4 %   2588   31.0 %
  4 TheKing 3.33 Schumacher        : 2618   26  26   480    53.9 %   2592   30.6 %
  5 ProDeo 1.1                     : 2612   26  26   480    52.8 %   2592   31.5 %
  6 Ruffian 2.1.0                  : 2611   26  26   480    52.6 %   2593   31.0 %
  7 SlowChess Blitz WV             : 2556   26  26   480    43.8 %   2599   29.2 %
  8 SOS 5.1 for Arena              : 2553   26  26   480    43.3 %   2600   30.4 %
  9 Spike 0.9                      : 2520   26  26   480    38.1 %   2604   31.7 %
 10 Pharaon 3.2                    : 2490   27  27   480    33.8 %   2608   28.3 %
Yesterday in the evening I started the first games with Ktulu 7.0 on Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz. Ktulu played very good chess but loosed some fights in endgame positions against Shredder 9.0. I am very surprised about the very tactcial playing style of Ktulu. Unfortunately, Ktulu loosed the first games with 0.5 : 3.5. I started in the night the same match on my Athlon64 3.8 GHz and went to bed. In the morning I saw that Ktulu 7.0 won 5 games back to back ...

Look here, ATL-2 standings so far:
Shredder 9.0 - Ktulu 7.0 (Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz), 14.5 : 5.5
Shredder 9.0 - Ktulu 7.0 (Athlon64 3.8 GHz), 5.5 : 8.5 ... =00000==1==1== ... Shredder 9.0 loosed 5 games back to back!
Gandalf 6.01 - Ktulu 7.0 (Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz), 1.0 : 1.0

You can download the games vs. Shredder 9.0 on ATL-2 webpage.

I can't believe the results and contact the programmer Rahman Paidar (Iran) with a short mail.

His answer, text by Rahman Paidar:
"I said that to you already, the results also here on my computers and on Jan's computer are also stupendous. I share Ktulu's improvement with Jan Kiwitter who helped me a lot to find bugs, implementing new idea. He is a strong chess player and reading his comments about the Ktulu's games are always interesting to me."

Read more about Rahman and Jan Kiwitter ...
The interview with Rahman Paidar ca be found under News-Ticker Message 80

BTW (sorry Rahman):
Next interviews will be: 01. Anastasios Milikas (Aice), 02. Lance Perkines (Thinker), 03. Rudolf Huber (SOS), a secret interview with a top programmer from Alex Schmidt and myself.

In the maintime I started Gandalf 6.0 vs. Ktulu 7.0 on a slower Pentium III 900MHz machine. I can't wait of the next ATL-2 results and have to see Ktulu against an other opponent. The results were 4.0 : 0.0 for Ktulu 7.0. If you like, you can download these games g601-k7.zip. Is this all random? Possible, but after all 35 games I saw I am very surprised. I have a lot of fun with the new Ktulu version ... the week will be great :-)

---

Ktulu 7.0 is available end of this week in Gladiator-Shop
If you like you can follow ATL-2 results in the next days!
End of this week you will find about 500 Ktulu games with a longer time control (40 moves in 20 minutes) on ATL-2 selection.

Advance order is possible:
Please write a mail to: sales@gladiatorshop.com

Update: Ktulu 5.x to Ktulu 7.0 = 14,95 EUR
Full version: Ktulu 7.0 = 19,95 EUR

 


 


April 08th, 2005
Crafty = Arena Partner?

99, FQ

Offenbar gibt es Gerüchte um unsere Arena Chess GUI und dem Schachprogramm Crafty. Per E-Mail wurde mir zugetragen, dass Crafty ein Engine Partner der Arena Chess GUI ist. Ich wurde gefragt, warum diese Information denn nicht auf der Arena Seite verfügbar ist. Dieses Gerücht möchten wir ganz deutlich zurückweisen. Crafty ist kein Partner der Arena Chess GUI und die Engine von Prof. Dr. Robert Hyatt wird es auch niemals werden. Vermutlich kommt das Gerücht dadurch zu Stande, weil ich mal alle Crafty Versionen gesammelt habe und auf Frank's Chess Page zum Download angeboten habe. Diese Sammlung steht heute noch auf der Seite von Leo Dijksman. Wir vermuten, dass die "Engine Partnerschaften" für Besucher unserer Webseiten nicht so ganz klar sind. Daher möchte ich zu der Idee ein paar Worte verlieren.

Wir sicherlich bekannt ist, entwickeln wir eine Benutzeroberfläche (GUI) für Schachprogramme (Engines). Eine eigene Engine wird nicht entwickelt. Arena unterstützt die beiden Engine Protokolle Winboard und UCI in Protokoll Version 1 und 2. Seit der ersten verfügbaren Arena Version war Arena kompatibel zu UCI. In der Zeit, als wir die Webseiten aufgebaut haben, hatte ich selbst noch Gambit-Soft bei deren Aktivitäten geholfen und wollte mit der WinBoard Edition CD II und III das seinerzeit neue UCI Protokoll von Stefan Meyer-Kahlen und Rudolf Huber so gut es geht supporten. Martin Blume bevorzugt selbst das UCI Protokoll und steht mit seiner Entwicklung für Kompatibilitäten. Freie Engine Protokolle sorgen für Kompatibilitäten und es sollte mittlerweile jedem klar sein, dass wir versuchen mittels Arena die Protokoll Ideen zu powern. Ein weiteres Beispiel ist Chess960. Auch Aice ist kompatibel zu Chess960 geworden und wird in dem Arena Chess960 Setup einfließen. Der Programmierer von Aice Milikas Anastasios gab uns hierfür seine Zustimmung. Einige der Programme, die für die WinBoard Edition III vorgesehen waren wurden mit dem Start der Arena Webseite Arena Partner Programme. Das lag ganz einfach daran, dass die beabsichtigte CD nicht auf dem Markt kam (AnMon, Dragon, Nejmet, weitere wie Tao, Pharaon, Leila). Die Engine Programmierer verstanden das Anliegen und unterstützen uns. Leider hatte Gambit-Soft seinerzeit Probleme von denen ich nichts wusste und die vorgesehenen Projekte rund um die WinBoard Edition CDs wurde letztendlich von mir eingestellt. Allerdings wollte ich nach wie vor UCI unterstützen und mittels Arena ergaben sich wie beschrieben neue Möglichkeiten. Im Laufe der Zeit sind dann viele UCI Engines hinzugekommen, Engine Programmierer konnten mittels Arena UCI ausprobieren und waren selbst von dem Protokoll überzeugt. Erst einige Zeit später wurde z. B. auch die Fritz GUI kompatibel zu UCI bzw. auch andere kommerzielle Produkte kompatibel zu UCI. Ganz besonders Stolz sind wir darauf, das UCI Programmierer Rudolf Huber sofort seine Zustimmung zu der Partnerschaft gab. Um zu demonstrieren, dass wir für UCI stehen wurde das Programm von dem beliebten deutschen Programmierer Rudolf Huber unser Hauptprogramm. So entstand auch der Name ... SOS for ARENA.

Zurück zu den Partnerschaften:
Ohne Zweifel ist Crafty ein erstklassiges Schachprogramm. Prof. Dr. Robert Hyatt könnte wirklich ein Denkmal gesetzt werden. Er hat durch viele Hilfestellungen jungen Amateurprogrammierern die nötige Animation gegeben und steht wie ein Fels nach wie vor hilfreich zur Seite. Dennoch verschließt sich Robert dem UCI Protokoll. Daher wäre wir niemals auf die Idee gekommen, Robert hinsichtlich Arena Partnerschaft zu fragen. Mir schweben da eher Programme vor, die sich in stetiger Entwicklung befinden bzw. den Amateurschachbereich hinsichtlich Kompatibilitäten nach außen gebührend vertreten, sprich kompatibel zu UCI sind. Ein schönes Beispiel ist Spike. So bin ich immer auf der Suche nach neuen Partnerprogrammen, zumal es von Ruffian und Nejmet offenbar keine Updates mehr gibt. Es macht langfristig daher keinen Sinn Programme wie Ruffian und Nejmet in das Arena Setup zu integrieren. Die Arena Chess GUI ist im laufe der letzten Jahre sehr beliebt geworden und mit Setups inklusive Partnerprogrammen können wir dazu beitragen, dass sich mehr und mehr Personen mit der Vielfalt der zur Verfügung stehenden Engines beschäftigen. Wichtig ist uns, dass diese Programme einfach zu bedienen sind, sprich kompatibel zu dem UCI Protokoll sind. Wir hatten in den letzten 18 Monate 140.000 Downloads von Arena Setups und wir können sehr schön beobachten wie beliebt Arena Downloads mit vielen Engines sind.

Personen die gerade erst beginnen sich mit der Vielfalt der meist frei zur Verfügung stehenden Engines zu beschäftigen, wird sich ganz sicher nicht mit kryptischen WinBoard Einstellungen auseinandersetzen. Auch wenn Martin einen hervorragenden Support für WinBoard programmiert hat (es ist kinderleicht eine Winboard Engine in Arena einzubinden), heißt das noch lange nicht, dass das meines Erachtens nunmehr eindeutig bessere Protokoll "UCI" nachrangig ist. Stefan Meyer-Kahlen hat durch die kürzlich in das UCI Protokoll eingeflossenen sechs Erweiterungen bewiesen, dass er mit Kritik umgehen kann und bemüht ist, dass UCI Protokoll zu verbessern. Nach meinen Informationen hat zum Beispiel Dieter Bürßner dazu beigetragen UCI zu verbessern. Dieter Bürßner (Programmierer von Yace) hat UCI sehr früh unterstützt. Yace war nach Shredder und SOS das dritte Programm, welches kompatibel zum UCI Protokoll geworden ist. Ein wenig Protokoll-Geschichte kann ja nicht schaden ...

Wir stellen uns dem Fortschritt nicht entgegen. Winboard wurde in Zeiten von Frank's Chess Page gepowert (danach von Thomas Mayer und heute von Leo Dijksman), UCI in Zeiten von Arena bzw. der Seite von Alexander Schmidt natürlich auch der Seite von Patrick Buchmann (Patrick hat wie kein anderer Computerschach in Frankreich ... weltweit ... vorangetrieben) und auch Chess960 muss unterstützt werden. Reinhard Scharnagl und Martin Blume stehen auch für Chess960. Stefan Meyer-Kahlen überlegt Chess960 in das UCI Protokoll aufzunehmen. Wir stehen für freie Protokolle, für Kompatibilitäten und möchten Interessen verbinden. Dadurch entstehen Freundschaften und viele Personen werden animiert. Genau das ist das eigentliche Ziel unserer Webseite. Wer diese Worte nun wirklich genau liest wird von selbst darauf kommen, dass Crafty niemals ein Partner unserer Arena GUI werden wird. WinBoard ist nicht out aber wir denken, dass das Konzept von Stefan Meyer-Kahlen für alle Beteiligten einfacher ist.

Prof. Dr. Robert Hyatt sieht keine Veranlassung UCI zu unterstützen. Muss er vielleicht auch nicht, denn Crafty kommuniziert ausgezeichnet mit dem älteren WinBoard Protokoll. Die Auffassung von Robert ist vertretbar und ja auch auf unseren Webseiten seit langer Zeit nachzulesen. Unter Reviews / Interviews befindet sich auch ein "älteres" Interview mit Prof. Dr. Robert Hyatt. Vertretbar heißt nicht das wir die selbe Auffassung haben "müssen".

Lasst Euch also nicht von irgend welchen dummen Äußerungen verrückt machen und genießt einfach die wirklich beeindruckenden Engine Entwicklungen. In Foren wird meist ziemlich dumm provoziert, es sind meist die selben Personen die unangenehm auffallen. Besucht unsere Webseiten oder andere Webseiten zum Thema und habt Spaß an den ganzen Entwicklungen. Ob nun WinBoard oder UCI, dass spielt heute dank Benutzeroberflächen wie Arena nun wirklich eine untergeordnete Rolle. Arena bietet zu beiden GUIs eine 1:1 Anbindung die vorbildlich ist. Wir schaffen keine Inkompatibilitäten, sondern sorgen für Kompatibilitäten und das seit den Geburtsstunden von Winboard (Frank's Chess Page, als die ersten Engines kompatibel wurden), UCI und Chess960.

Vielleicht wird am Wochenende das nächste interessante Interview zur Verfügung gestellt. Das aktuelle Thema ist Thinker von Lance Perkins (Canada). Freuen wir uns auf dieses Interview, denn eine neue Thinker Version steht in Kürze an. Danach folgt ein Interview mit dem Aice Programmierer Milikas Anastasios.

Damit kein falscher Eindruck entsteht?
Wir freuen uns selbst über jede GUI die kompatibel zu dem UCI oder Winboard Protokoll wird. Arena ist nicht alles und soll auch niemals zum Nabel der Welt in der Computerschachgemeinschaft werden. Das wäre uns viel zu viel Arbeit und liegt nicht in unserem Interesse denn wir haben einen Job und arbeiten an dem Programm oder dieser Webseite in unserer Freizeit. Wir wollen einfach nur Spaß haben, einen Beitrag leisten und wünschen uns, dass die Anwender von Arena auch Spaß haben. Schachpolitische Diskussionen überlassen wir nur zu gerne den wahren Experten der Szene, die sich bevorzugt in Schachforen vereinigen :-)

Vielleicht hat jemand Lust den Text in englisch zu übersetzen. Ich habe keine Lust ...
So mal schauen was denn die News 100 wird.
100 News in etwa 90 Tagen ... wir hoffen Euch gefällt dieser Service?

Schreibt uns doch mal eine E-Mail. Was können wir besser machen, was gefällt nicht ... oder möchtest Ihr vielleicht auch mal ein Bericht über Arena zur Verfügung stellen. Wir sind für jede Hilfe dankbar !!

Wir wünschen allen Lesern ein schönes Wochenende. Diese Aussage ist vielleicht die spannendste im ganzen Text :-)

 


 


April 07th, 2005
That's not to be sneezed at?

98, FQ

Sorry, I don't find a better title for this news.
Your game is up Volker Pittlik, Peter Skinner and all others special friends of us :-)

End, over ... up is the game ??!
All joking aside ...

You and the others have to visit the following site, just great!
http://www.schachcomputer.info/forum/portal.php

The chess computer community is back with a great new site. We all know the page of Kurt Kispert and his fantastic efforts he do for us with information about the older chess computers http://www.schachcomputer.at/

Our PHP expert Christopher Conkie will find this news. Thanks Chris for your English corrections of my questions to Fabien (interview with Fabien). I corrected the mistakes for some minutes ago. The Arena admins Michael Diosi and Christopher Conkie help us a lot, each time, each hour, each minute ...

Michael, do you recognized that 5 engines are not longer available yet. Goliath and ESC are two of this :-(
Please look in the Engines, Links selection of Arena!

Life isn't all beer and skittles Christopher. There's no use crying over spilt milk. Do you understand what I mean? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The chess computers return the earth. This is the message I will give you today ... The chess computers return the earth.

WOW

 


 


April 06th, 2005
The most interesting rating list ?!!

97, FQ

Since the Neanderthals we try to produce ELO ratings of available chess programs. Heinz van Kempen, Christian Koch and Charles Smith are played the CEGT-1 and CEGT-2 tournaments. CEGT-3 is still running. With the time control ~ 40 moves in 20 minutes on six fast machines. I am playing my ATL-2 tournament on three fast machines with the same time control (CEGT tournaments with Nunn / Noomen positions under Fritz GUI, ATL-2 tournament with opening books under Arena Chess GUI).

What is to do?
Right, we have to create from both tournaments an own rating list. Perhaps the most interesting rating list with the strongest available chess programs today?

 

CEGT/ATL rating list:

    Program                   Elo            +   -   Games   Score   Av.Op.  Draws
  1 Shredder 9                2750 2801 +51  16  16  1343    69.8%   2604   29.0% ATL-2
  2 Fritz 8                   2697 2705 + 8  20  20   863    61.8%   2613   27.6% incompatible
  3 Junior 9                  2688 2692 + 4  20  20   863    60.5%   2614   29.5% incompatible
  4 Gandalf 6.0 - 6.01        2656 2650 - 6  16  16  1318    56.3%   2612   31.3% ATL-2
  5 Hiarcs 9                  2648 2686 +38  19  19   873    54.7%   2616   33.6% incompatible
  6 TheKing 3.33              2634 2676 +42  18  18  1014    52.8%   2615   32.6% ATL-2
  7 Ruffian 2.1.0             2633 2667 +34  16  15  1319    52.7%   2614   31.9% ATL-2
  8 Chess Tiger 15            2630 2676 +46  18  18   862    51.9%   2617   36.9% incompatible
  9 ProDeo 1.1                2618           16  16  1323    50.2%   2617   30.4% ATL-2
 10 List 5.12                 2613 2648 +35  19  19   863    49.1%   2619   34.1% will start in ATL-2
 11 Fruit 2.0                 2588 2641 +53  20  20   862    45.4%   2620   29.4% will start in ATL-2
 12 Aristarch 4.50            2582 2633 +51         19  19   862    44.4%   2621   30.9% will start in ATL-2
 13 Deep Sjeng 1.6            2579 2589 +10  26  26   510    43.4%   2625   28.4% will start in ATL-2
 14 SOS 5.0 - 5.1 for Arena   2575 2610 +35  16  16  1282    43.1%   2623   32.7% ATL-2
 15 SlowChess Blitz WV        2573           20  20   768    43.3%   2620   31.9% ATL-2
 16 Ktulu 5.1                 2561 2568 + 7         26  26   510    40.8%   2626   28.6% will start in ATL-2
 17 Thinker 4.7a              2555 2572 +17  30  30   352    41.3%   2616   32.1% will start in ATL-2
 18 Anaconda 2.0.1            2545 2570 +25  31  31   328    39.8%   2617   34.5% incompatible
 19 Delfi 4.5                 2540 2564 +24  30  30   353    39.0%   2618   32.6% later
 20 Spike 0.9                 2534           28  28   430    35.9%   2634   31.4% ATL-2
 21 Pharaon 3.2               2524 2566 +42  23  23   628    34.5%   2636   30.1% ATL-2
 22 Patriot 1.3.0             2502 2549 +47  27  27   510    32.4%   2630   25.5% later
Fritz, Junior, Hiarcs, Tiger and Anaconada are incompatible engines. This means, that this group of engines don't support the free standard engines protocols Winboard or / and UCI. The engines can't participant in ATL-2.

If you know a rating list with longer time controls (40 moves in 20 minutes or longer) with so many actual engines and games please give me a short hint! I can't find an other list but I know that people like it to play private tournamnts. The results goes by mail to the programmers. I don't hope that not all users have the same idea because we all like to see all the wonderful webpages with eng-eng results / tournaments.

In red you can find the CSS ratings after 480 games only. This rating list are played on one Athlon system only and with 10 minutes + 10 seconds Fischer time control under Fritz GUI. Perhaps the only one I can "a little bit" compare with the CEGT / ATL list. The main problem of the CSS list is, that Klaus Wlotzka used one system only. The CEGT/ATL tournaments are produced on 9 very fast systems (4x Intel and 5x Athlon). In ATL detail page is very nice to see, that engines produced different results on different processors. A very important point today. A good rating list should be played on more systems and should be a good combination between Athlon and Intel processors. ProDeo 1.1, SlowChess Blitz VW and Spike 0.9 aren't tested yet in CSS rating list. Interesting are the very bad CSS results from Gandalf. Gandalf need more time and like Pentium processors. We all know that Shredder is Athlon optimized and Fritz is Pentium optimized. To see that Shredder is around 100 ELO in front of Fritz (CSS ratinglist) isn't very nice. I say it ... a good combination produced good ratings.

CSS ratings (one Athlon, not enough for a really good rating list?)

CEGT Heinz / Christian / Charles (4x Athlon, 2x Intel)
ATL-2 Frank (2x Intel, 1x Athlon)

The combinated CEGT / ATL rating list will updated frequently, later more!
With the permission by Heinz van Kempen and Christian Koch ... THANKS!

 


 


April 05th, 2005
The alternative to Crafty?
Interview with Fabien LETOUZEY (Fruit)

96, FQ

v. 2.0
UCI compatible, free sources, LINUX
Home of Fruit (WBEC Ridderkerk)

Hint: Fruit 2.0 is number 7 in ATL-1 Rating-List!

 

The title for this interview could be "The time after Crafty" but I used the title Fabien like "The alternative to Crafty" ...

I like both titles because Crafty isn't the only one open source engine. The newcomer Fruit produced in my opinion since a while the most interesting computer chess topics. This gave me a lot of material for our Arena News-Ticker and I am very happy that the programmer of Fruit, Fabien LETOUZEY (France), gave the permission for this interview. My thanks go to ****** ******* (Fruit main tester, Luxembourg) which sent additional information to the playing style of Fruit.

The interview is created before easter, the comments by ****** ******* too (see the end of the interview).

Note:
Further publication of this interview is allowed and wished as long as full a indication of the sourse is made:
Source:
Arena Chess GUI: http://www.playwitharena.com
Furthermore one condition is the complete casting (e.g. inprinted media)
Frank Quisinsky, April 05th, 2005
The same for all other interviews with engine programmers you can find on: Reviews / Interviews

 

The alternative to Crafty
Interview with Fabien LETOUZEY, programmer of Fruit

01. Frank Quisinsky
Fruit and the free sources of Fruit will give me some material for an interesting interview with you. I believe many of the Gladiators, Winboarders, Chessbaslers, others wait of this interview and in my opinion it's the right time to make it. Means that we all must cope with the strong Fruit and we all have to build an own opinion about a new situation the amateur chess area have now. Let us start harmless Fabien?! How old are you, what is your job / profession and how long are you working in chess programming?

Fabien LETOUZEY
I am 33. I am working part-time in a small company that installs networks. This means I have a lot of free time but also that I have little budget if at all for things like travelling or buying a new computer.

I don't remember exactly when I wrote my first chess program, perhaps 5 years ago. I created a "xannprog" account on FICS, so it's possible to find out exactly when that was. More importantly, I had been (and still am) writing programs playing other games (Othello and draughts then, now also Awari and some more) before. See for instance the freeware Othello program "PilOth" for Palm-compatible devices.

Fabien LETOUZEY  -->

02. Frank Quisinsky
In the first times you made your program free available we can read a lot from yourself in WinBoard forum. Fruit was a big topic and I am thinking on the first great times we have with WinBoard. Each new engine was a celebrated hero in WinBoard forum. Times have changed Fabien. Today we have a lot of engines and different groups of users which try to go an own way. The amateur chess area isn't strong as in the years before because we don’t work hand in hand. But your engine is each time special topic users like. I believe the near from yourself to users could be the reason. What is your personal wish to the group of others programmers? Perhaps more interesting messages to programming and other computer chess related topics! I believe this point should be important for you and your own ideas. Your sources are free available, you can't cower the ideas you have with the note you give us with your public sources!

Fabien LETOUZEY
I became an "official" community member only in 2004, but I did not get the impression that time had changed. As I recall, all happened exactly as you described.

Amateur computer chess as I see it is not a global research project, but rather the meeting of different people each with his own goals. In particular, engine authors are only ONE part of the community. What would they be without testers and public tournaments?

The community has become relatively large, probably because of Internet. It is only natural that some "side groups" have emerged. CCC is a rendez-vous point, but in my opinion the topic is too general for our needs. There are too many posts for people who are not on-line regularly to follow.

I don't think the creation of separate fora is a big problems. It allows more people to participate (e.g. for those who can't or don't want to speak English) and if an interesting exchange takes place somewhere, one can post a reference to it in other places. It may look a bit strange but I think it's working well. It still feels like everybody knows everybody, which is reassuring.

I leave it to you whether amateur chess is not as strong as before (whatever "strong" means), as I was not here to see it for myself. It is not at all the impression that I am getting though. I do believe that there are more exchanges nowadays, especially in the form of additional software (anything that is not an engine).

I don't know if Fruit was really a special topic before Toga appeared. There is no reason why it would be more important than other engines. I don't think I am especially close to users, for instance I can't remember a feature that I included to please one of them. Instead I have the feeling that the majority was attracted by engines that specialise in attacking the king, not quite my cup of tea ... In other words I have always considered Fruit's playing style as a handicap regarding popularity.

I think highly of most programmers because each of them contributes in some way: helping others, giving their point of view, bringing "side" software, etc ... That's the vast majority. The only ones I am not interested in are those who never communicate. They release and that's all; no difference with most professionals. One person that deserves a special mention is Tord Romstad. I think he has been very influential in the last two years, and this has little to do with open source. Among the new generation, Alessandro Scotti is promising!

Many people might think that programmers discuss techniques less and less, but it is simply more and more difficult to post about something really new/different. The new generation of programmers can find many answers by digging into fora archive section.

I can't hide my ideas, but I did not claim I had any of interest either. I prefer to think that I have "principles"; I follow them, whether good or bad. I expect that anybody who had a look at the source code failed to find anything "special" he was looking for ... Perhaps the real idea is that the components in an engine might not be as important as the glue that is tying them (don't look for too much deep meaning in this sentence though).

 

03. Frank Quisinsky
I was thinking a long time about your project. All isn't clear for me and sometimes I think much of this what you do is inconsistent. Fruit supported "only" the UCI protocol. You search the way to WinBoard forum and you develops an adapter / converter (Polyglot). Under WinBoard itself the users have now the possibility to used UCI engines with Polyglot. Why you don't support the Winboard protocol directly? Why you prefer the UCI protocol? Why you develop such a tool?

*** Polyglot, one of the best tools the amteur chess area have ***
programmed by Fabien !!

Polyglot can be found on WBEC Ridderkerk by Leo Dijksman

Fabien LETOUZEY
I certainly don't think of myself as being inconsistent, so let's explain. Allow me to answer in a different order, first things first:

The choice of UCI is based on software-design principles that are not easy to explain. It's a programmer's thing really, I don't expect engine users to understand. Let me give you a clue though: think about young WinBoard engines that you have tried; how many handled pondering ... without bugs??? Another clue might be that surely, Stefan Meyer-Kahlen knows a lot about good programming, right? So trust him if not me, UCI is good for programmers because it leads to fewer bugs in the code ...

At the same time there is no usable UCI interface on Linux, the system I am using. Yes I know of Jose but it is slow and does not allow engine matches. The only interface is XBoard, WinBoard's Unix cousin. This means I had to write a separate program to link Fruit to XBoard and translate both ways: PolyGlot.

Note that although PolyGlot was born as separate software due to a programming principle for engine development, other people can benefit from it as well (including on Windows and Mac OS). Soon after its first release UCI engines were allowed in (all, I think) public tournaments using WinBoard-related software, an important event.

Nowadays the decision to support either protocol or both is entirely the programmer's and hardly has an impact on users. I agree that adapters are not easy to use (although it's possible to write additional software to easily configure them, any candidate?), but of course there are only smart people in our community :)

Now regarding my "choice" of the WinBoard forum.

My opinion is that I did not choose that forum, it's the forum that chose me. It sounds megalomaniac but read on ...

I had sent beta-version source code to Dann Corbit, who built an executable and posted messages on CCC and the WinBoard forum. CCC was reaction-less (which is OK with me), but there was a "large" amount of action on the other one to the point I was invited there so that I could react. I answered the questions as only seems natural, and never really left the forum afterwards. It became my new "house" (I had regular access to Internet at that time). It was then I understood that CCC was about computer chess alright, but not AMATEUR computer chess.

After the release of PolyGlot there was another reason for me to use the WinBoard forum: using PolyGlot makes sense mainly in conjunction with WinBoard, since most other GUIs are UCI-compatible. It was therefore the best way to contact PolyGlot users.

Now a precision for the readers of this (Arena) forum: "WinBoard" forum is mostly a misnomer, it really is about amateur computer chess in my opinion. At least that's my use of it. As far as I know, UCI is not considered off-topic in the forum, so there's no need to shy away. I would say the same thing regarding other GUIs (see for example the AEGT sub-forum).

Sorry for the long explanation, I hope that you are now convinced that I am only PARTLY inconsistent :)

 

04. Frank Quisinsky
The first I do Fruit 2.0 was available is to read your text file. This can be a provocation to Arena but with much intelligence from you?! Linux is the topic. Arena isn't compatible to Linux and after all what I read you must be a big supporter of Linux. Honest, I like the Linux idea. Martin Blume will try Linux support later and he doesn’t change this opinion but at the moment he is looking and searching for information about it. I think the time is good for Linux. Today enough strong programs are available for Linux. What is the reason for you to prefer?

Fabien LETOUZEY
First I don't think I am a high supporter of Linux. It is the better choice for my own use, but this does not mean anything for others. In particular I recommend against trying it if one does not know what he is doing. In fact my favourite operating system is Mac OS, but does not work on PCs.

My wish to see "Arena for Linux" was genuine but should be seen in general terms: any program that has the same functionality as Arena is fine with me, it does not have to be exactly the Arena software.

Let me state clearly that it is very difficult to write portable software that has a graphical interface. There are solutions like Java but they bring their own set of "side effects" like slow down and not looking natural in the host OS (e.g. I guess Java programs on Windows don't look exactly the same as native applications). Porting GUI-less software like chess engines is much easier. Therefore I know that porting Arena itself would not be a piece of cake for Martin. On top of that Arena is written in Delphi, a Windows-specific language.

In all fairness I should not ask for an Arena-like program to be written on Linux, but rather do it myself and make it available to others. It is a huge amount of work though (as you know) and my own needs are not large enough to justify such effort.

Frank, you could post on CCC to obtain reactions from potential users on this topic.

The reason I chose Linux used to be technical. Windows 95 is in my opinion the worst piece of software ever written, and I never considered using it (bless you if you survived it). With Linux I could write my own bugs without wondering who crashed first in case of a problem ...

Nowadays the technical matter is less important, thanks to MicroSoft adding standard techniques in his NT series (Windows 2000 and XP are part of the NT family). However there is another reason for me not to use them: the feeling of freedom. When I use Windows to access Internet from cybercafes, I have the feeling that the machine is remote-controlled by big-buck companies. I am sure you all know what I am talking about.

In any case there is no question that by not using Windows, I lose access to 95% of chess GUIs, engines etc ... But I place my own freedom higher than this!

Short comments by Frank:
One of the biggest problems is that Linux don't know the registry Windows have. To make Arena compatible to Linux without to used a registry is a lot of work. Some of the Arena code must be rewritten. But I am sure that the Linux fans will have much fun with an Arena for Linux. To say more isn't the right time. Martin will read my comments here. My "boss" will send me a directly a red card if I say that he is working on Linux support and I think that all the readers can understand that I must hold my ... :-) But each new GUI is just great and I hope and wish me more interfaces. Arena is not all for me, for Martin himself and the readers here. Just great to read your answers, much of my questions are provocate. You find always the right words ... my compliment.

To CCC:
I don't read chess fora since a while. For much fora the own rules are more important as copyrights. I gave thousands hours of my time, others like it to intent to destroy. My feeling is better now and I have more time for other things I like it to do.

Example:
To create interview questions?!
I have interest to collect knowledge about the programmers which gave us all the engines. This is a big gift and I hope other computer chess fans have the same opinion. Back to our interview, much more interesting as my words ...

 

05. Frank Quisinsky
Before we speak about Fruit, the main topic of this interview, I have to ask you about the following! For some months I have different contacts to Sylvain RENARD. Sylvain is member of the French chess federation, programmer of Capture and helped in organizations for the French computer chess events in Massy. In one of the mails he has written he gave me the following comment: Is Fruit a French program Frank? What’s this, nobody know the French programmer better as Sylvain RENARD! The group of French programmers are very strong. All the French programmers know each others in person. One of the strongest groups the computer chess are having today. Perhaps the strongest and your name are unknown? What is the reason for it? Why you don't have interest to support this group of French programmers and why you never played a French-ch. Honest, if I am programmer I would search the way to this fantastic group of persons!

Fabien LETOUZEY
In fact my name is not completely unknown to some of them. Years ago the authors of AnMon and Dragon visited a computer-Othello tournament I was participating in. Bruno Lucas and I also exchanged a few emails after the release of Fruit 1.0.

You need to know that I have spent the last two years in England (I now live in France again), and travelling for those events was never considered. On top of that I have little interest in participating in tournaments. I much prefer coming as a visitor (yes I have tried both, in other games). Lastly my budget seldom leaves me room for travelling at the moment.

*** Fruit, the sensation of the year 2004 / 2005 ***
not only for myself ...

 

06. Frank Quisinsky
Let us talk about Fruit. Before you released Fruit 2.0 I missed your interesting messages in chess fora. The answer must be your now famous work on the latest version of Fruit 2.0. I am sure you are working in the latest half year each day on the sources from Fruit 2.0?

Fabien LETOUZEY
It's true that I spent a lot of time on Fruit in October to December 2004. You would be surprised, however, how little of it really affected the level of play.

In Fruit I try to mix development time between improving the program (which does not make me a better programmer, my goal) and cleaning up the code. The latter takes considerably more time without any visible difference.

Only one addition between versions 1.5 and 2.0 is important: the pawn-shelter bonus in the evaluation function (something most other engines have always had). It probably did not take more than two hours to code. More generally, features that have made a difference since Fruit 1.0 were mostly a matter of one or two week-ends at most. The only other main addition is history pruning, but I think it has a small impact, if at all.

Testing is another story though, there I am greatly in-debt to Joachim Rang and ******* *******. For instance, Robert pointed out that ETC (Enhanced Transposition Cutoff) seemed to hurt Fruit in several versions. I had been using it in versions 1.0 and 1.5, and its removal might be an important decision for Fruit 2.0. The heuristics in itself looks harmless enough and I could not find a bug in my implementation, but complex interactions might be responsible for a drop in strength. In any case, my point is that part of the strength increase between Fruit 1.5 and 2.0 is not even related to me at all!

 

07. Frank Quisinsky
I do not understand enough from chess programming to go in detail about your sources. Perhaps someone else can create such an interview with you about this (I would like to read it). After all I read from others it would appear that your sources are very clean and easy to understand. The complete situation in amateur chess area goes in the next round. I hear the sources of Crafty have good comments but to are too complicated. The sources of Pepito are interesting and the sources of Phalanx are not easy to understand. If I look at the available results of Fruit your engine is around 100 ELO stronger than Crafty. 100 ELO more and the result would be the same playing level as Gandalf, Junior, Hiarcs and Fritz. is this all an own work or do you get help from other programmers for such a fantastic work? To write a strong program is one point of view but to make the sources public as well is ingenious!

Fabien LETOUZEY
You are right to point out the distinction between comments and clarity of the code. Any experienced programmer will confirm that the source code of Fruit was NOT designed for public release, but rather is given "as is". In particular, there is hardly any comment at all!

The clarity of the code is only due to my programming style and not at all with potential readers in mind. Clearer code leads to fewer bugs. It's an interesting characteristic of programming that one needs years of experience to learn how to AVOID complicated things.

More concretely, in chess that leads to slightly-slower programs (say 25% lower NPS) that are easier to modify. For example Fruit spends a lot of time scanning board squares to evaluate mobility. I know several faster ways I could compute the same thing. However none of them would allow me to easily modify the mobility feature later.

I should also explain why Bob's code is "less readable" in my opinion. This has nothing to do with poor programming style. Bob has a considerably superior programming experience than I have, and he obviously knows what he is doing. Simply, Crafty's code is full of speed tricks. There is no doubt that it is very fast. Activate both futility pruning and delta pruning in Fruit (Crafty is using both features), and see Fruit's "real" NPS for yourself. Note that these features reduce node count and are slightly beneficial overall, proving once again that NPS is not everything.

So this style is better for Bob (stronger engine than naive code) but perhaps not as good for readers. It is probably unavoidable for "old" programs. I am convinced that Fruit would look the same if I worked on it for many years. However I have as principle to rewrite projects from scratch every few years, both to try new ideas and to accommodate with ever-changing programming style.

I am sorry to say that whether an engine is someone's "own work" makes little sense to me, although I understand that tournament directors would like a clear yes or no.

The reason is that all engines, whether amateur or commercial, share most of the techniques. Alpha-beta (of which PVS, NegaScout and MTD(f) are only derivatives), iterative deepening, check extensions, null move, etc ... are shared by most and have been published, mostly by researchers, some of them more than 30 years ago! Sure there are many different ways to represent the board and pieces but it only affects speed, which rarely amounts to more than a few dozen Elo Points.

There is one component that so far is distinct in each engine (although some older ones were probably "inspired" by Crafty): the evaluation function. But there again the evaluation features are hardly ever very original: the principles of sound chess play can be found in hundreds of books. It's hardly a secret that rooks should be placed on open files, something that Fruit does not even know (though rook mobility partly emulates this piece of knowledge).

So what is left for improvisation? A lot of course, otherwise all engines would be equal. But say in terms of quantity of code they don't represent so much. Among this "lot" I think there is a large place for things that cannot be extracted: programming style and ways of linking engine components, making them work together. Not something that most would consider as a "chess-engine technique" like null move.

OK let's stop here and do a little sum up with Fruit in mind: I can't think of a search feature in it that was not described before. Ditto for evaluation terms (except perhaps a few drawish-endgame rules that activate in one game in a hundred). There are specific principles that I follow in Fruit that gives it a personality somewhat (like never truncating the PV and making sure that mate-depth claims are always correct), but they probably have no impact on strength at all and could even hurt a little.

Can I claim that I have written it all on my own? "Yes", I typed all the code myself. Without help??? Certainly not, hence my point: "it makes no sense".

Sorry for the dramatic style ... One positive point now: instead of seeing engine authors competing against each others, I see them as cooperating (mostly indirectly) and making progress together, since they have so much in common, whether they want it or not.

My opinion anyway ...

Something (hopefully shorter) about publishing source code in my case. It has nothing to do with a plan to get help or anything. It is a perfectly natural thing to do for anybody who is NOT using Windows. It allows users of less well-known systems (I can cite many) to use the program. It also serves as a description of the techniques I have chosen, since I don't have the time to intervene in most forum discussions. People can find ideas (with no guarantee) or simply discover a "different" programming style. Last but not least, some programmers can gain the confidence that no special "secret technique" is needed to reach that level and that they should follow their own ideas. It's about freedom.

 

08. Frank Quisinsky
Before we go into detail on the effects of such strong free sources, I have a question that I would like to ask. What programming techniques are required to write such a strong engine Stefan Meyer-Kahlen has. Do you have any ideas to make your Fruit another 100 ELO stronger? I think you are the right person for such a question and perhaps you can go in detail in your answer. I am not able to make this question any clearer. My programming knowledge isn't good enough.

Fabien LETOUZEY
Regarding the techniques to reach the level of Shredder: if I knew, I would (/ would not) ... (fill in the blanks). Also, those who know keep it for themselves (and sometimes go commercial). Let's state what I GUESS instead:

I used to think that using heavy forward pruning (not counting null move) was the key. Although all commercial programs seem to use one form (recall I can't use any of the top programs, even amateur ones, since they run only on Windows), I don't believe it's the main difference between amateurs and professionals anymore.

In fact the necessary techniques might not be algorithms at all, but planning/development techniques!

E.g. in Fruit 1.0 I started with an outrageous "I know nothing" evaluation function. Then instead of adding dozens of common evaluation terms, I watched games and chose a few that "seemed" important in those games. It seems to work very well for me, but it might apply only to evaluation.

When the engine's level is already high, the inclusion of a strong player into the development team probably becomes necessary.

The importance of serious testing has been stressed in the last few years, for example the popularity of EPD testing has gone down. There is a place for it, but not as a measure of strength.

Something that I think is very important for development is consistency! A chess engine is not just a bunch of heuristics put together. I say this because it seems a common misconception. I believe a chess engine should have a design (e.g. development "rules"), a hidden personality if you want. In particular search and evaluation should work together.

Now about making Fruit stronger. Let's not talk about a 100-Elo strength increase, that is too much to expect in one go.

I believe I can easily get 50 more Elo points, after that I don't know. Maybe Toga is already a proof of that. Note that "easily" does not mean "quickly", but rather "with little effort".

This is partly due to the design in Fruit that I have not yet achieved (things I planned from the beginning I still have not tried/added). Also, the "method" of fixing things that look wrong in games (as opposed to making popular additions and see what happens) has done well so far. So I have no reason yet to think that it should suddenly fail to work. Of course it will fail, eventually. I am only say 1800 Elo so my ability to recognise errors is necessary limited.

In the case of Fruit 2.0, I would focus on "holes" in the evaluation function. Simply some features I have not put there at all, because they did not look urgent enough. Scoring king attacks is probably a priority, and there are endgame mis-evaluations I am not happy with.

Regarding the search I would go the other way around: try to remove as many features as possible. E.g. if extending single replies to check does not gain much, I would prefer to remove it to simplify the code. Note that since Fruit 1.0, history pruning has been the only big change.

Unfortunately my interest in working on evaluation is very low because I don't learn anything in the process and I cannot apply the same changes to games other than chess. For this reason I cannot promise important future development on Fruit.

To end on a positive note, It's also possible to make progress without any development: by simply tuning existing features. This is why I leave technical UCI options in release version.

 

09. Frank Quisinsky
The various opinions about free sources are quite diverse. In my opinion the amateur chess area is clearly stronger than the commercial area because there are many people are working in it. Given time their results will be better thn the work from professionals. It is very important that we build a team and don't divide ourselves into many different channels. You make the amateur computer chess area very strong with your free sources and a new era will be the result. Commercial programmers have to produce new ideas, in the latest years the amateurs do it and this is the reason that the commercial chess have in my opinion a big problem today. The latest secrets from the commercial programs will be known in the next 1-2 years. Possible those amateurs are on the fast line. This all can be positive and negative Fabien. We need a strong commercial area, an organized selection. What do you await from commercial companies at the moment? Perhaps better 3d boards :-)

Fabien LETOUZEY
There are MANY amateur engines and the number keeps increasing. I agree that some of them are bound to become strong.

However I don't want the readers to think that Fruit is going to be especially important for the future of computer chess. I think that my contribution will mostly affect the design of new engines through confidence and not help improving already strong ones.

Now about amateurs vs. professionals.

There should not be a problem at all because amateurs want to enjoy themselves and commercials use marketing techniques to sell their products.

The buyer will see ChessMaster in the local shop or Shredder on chessbase.com but not amateur engine XXX hidden in the download section of a site he is never going to visit (because not advertised).

On top of that amateur-chess enthusiasts DO buy most top engines, regardless of how strong List is.

Because of this, I don't see a problem in the current situation. We can enjoy ourselves without conflicting with the market of others.

I can imagine a positive impact of strong amateurs for engine buyers though: I am still surprised to see that apart from Shredder, all top engines use private protocols (if I understand correctly). If amateurs give more power to customers like the right to ask for features, is it such a bad thing? Another way of seeing it is that as long as the big guys don't make a move toward users, it doesn't look like they are in such a difficult position don't you think?

In the end, it's freedom of life vs. freedom of commerce. I leave it to philosophers what is right and what is wrong.

Now for those who think that releasing open source is has a special impact on the market (which I disagree with), think about the following events:

- discussing techniques in fora (exchanging ideas)
- writing tools for amateur authors (e.g. testing software)
- writing a free GUI (guess what I'm thinking about?)

 

10. Frank Quisinsky
The time after Crafty! Perhaps the right title for our interview? What do you think about the name of this title?

Fabien LETOUZEY
I much prefer a title like "An alternative to Crafty". There is no need to try to replace Crafty. Crafty is a large program, with many advanced features. It supports the xboard protocol natively and uses its own opening book. These conditions are important for use on non-Windows platforms. I think that Crafty is available as part of most Linux distributions! It is also used in game research: when somebody wants to show the results of a new technique he has to implement it in Crafty, so that others can replicate the experiment.

However I feel it is important that new programmers don't look at Crafty as a Holy Grail (as they used to do a few years ago). I think the main reason why amateurs have been making big progress in the past few years is that they don't try to follow Crafty anymore.

Note that Bob is not responsible for this. Perhaps the lack of communication in the mid nineties was. Now sources of information are plentiful.

Crafty is one way, not THE way. Fruit is not THE way either, you must find your own way (sorry). That's my message.

 

11. Frank Quisinsky
I will not speak about Fruit copyrights but about the result of your free sources. The situation is confused for users. We have Fruit on our hard disk and a new program call Toga. The programmer of Toga used your sources and after the first impressions by testers Toga is around 40-60 ELO stronger as Fruit. After all I understand it’s for you OK that others used the Fruit sources. What can we, the users, await now?

Perhaps the following constellations?

A.
You await from other programmers which used your sources a mail with information about possible improvements from YOUR code. You try to public after your own check a new version of Fruit. From version to version Fruit will be stronger? This can be the end of commercial computer chess! A “new” formatted team can created an ELO giant in a short time.

B.
It's not important for you what others do and you work on your program with your own ideas. With other words you ignore
possible improvements from the programmer of Toga.

C.
All is wrong Frank, I have the following idea!

Fabien LETOUZEY
A. was certainly not my intention, I had B. in mind. Expecting others to improve my own program AND taking all the benefit for me would truly be a horrible way of thinking.

 

12. Frank Quisinsky
Honest, the users await your answer of Toga. Do you release in the new future a new version of Fruit, perhaps with the idea the programmer of Toga have?

Fabien LETOUZEY
At the moment I am working on a non-chess project and I don't know for how long. When I start working on Fruit again it will require a lot of testing, even if I just add Thomas' ideas more or less verbatim. In other words, nothing is going to happen in the next few months!

Now, when the time comes I am not even sure I will want to make exactly those changes, even though they might easily bring me 50 Elo points. I have a clear picture of what I want in Fruit, and what Thomas has done might or might not fit my design (e.g. the order in which I want to add new features).

I hope this will help tournament organisers to make their decision. If they want precisions, they should ask ...

 

13. Frank Quisinsky
A new and interesting tournament will be organising by a user. The user added Toga in this tournament because Toga seems to be stronger as Fruit. You are disappointed about it? In my opinion I have to play with the original and this is Fruit. I am thinking on my own ATL-2 tournament!

Fabien LETOUZEY
Let's be honest, if Toga replaced Fruit in all events I would feel weird :) Why would a project I am NOT associated with lead to that situation?

However:
Fruit 2.0 got enormous attention in January 2005 (no doubt more than it deserved, which lead to disappointment of some it seems). The level of this version is known and not going to change. The soon-to-start next rounds of AEGT and WBEC will say more about the level at relatively slow time control, and CEGT is already well advanced.

I think it's fair enough that other more-recent engines now get attention as well. At the top, there are new promising versions of DanChess, Glaurung, Pro Deo, SlowChess Blitz, SOS, Spike, Zappa and others that need extensive testing. Toga might or might not be added to this list depending on what each tester is trying to achieve. If it's at the expense of Fruit 2.0 then so be it, I will wait for the results with interest anyway.

In any case, let us not forget that tournaments belong to their director(s). I will neither try to intervene nor complain. If they need information to make their decision, they should feel free to ask.

*** Note: Fruit 2.0 will start after two other enignes in ATL-2 ***
Of course, with the opening book by Sedat Canbaz

ATL League

 

14. Frank Quisinsky
Thanks for your answers Fabien. My opinion about free sources is to 65-70% positive. I am thinking on Dr. Gabriele Müller which used sources from Crafty without to public this information. I have bad experience with it and this is the reason for only 65-70% I will give. I think the commercials have to collect persons with new ideas. Today we have to make the commercials strong or the free area doesn’t have an animation! If the commercial not able to make it we have to help. Fruit will be a long time an interesting topic. You gave us a lot of material for interesting discuss and for a nice time on the chessboard. I wish you a lot of success with Fruit and I hope to see your program in one of the next French computer chess events. This is the personal wish I have.

Fabien LETOUZEY
Thanks to you for precise questions, and to readers for (hopefully) tolerating my long answers. I don't think clones are that much of a problem, as they are easy to spot. If needed, amateur authors will be there to give a hand. Let's also see how the reaction to Toga is going to evolve ...

15. Frank Quisinsky
I have much fun with my ATL-2 tournament. Fruit will be added later. I will wait of your answer to one of my questions. Interesting for the group of users is the playing style of Fruit. Do you prefer tactical or positional engines? I don’t give Fruit a look in detail by myself but I will do it with the ATL-2 games. Perhaps you can write a little bit about the playing style you prefer.

Fabien LETOUZEY
My ideal for a style would probably be Capablanca-like: solid, avoid having weaknesses, don't attack without preparation, wait for the opponent to make mistakes, convert to favourable endgame whenever possible. However I need to add a lot of knowledge to make such a style possible. In particular pawn-structure and endgame-plan knowledge (that is not easy to explain to a computer).

Regarding Fruit's actual playing style:
I will leave that for others to comment on.

 

******* *******`s comments to the playing style of Fruit:

Text by Robert W. Allgeuer:
Since May 2004 one of my computers is busy around the clock with testing Fruit; in the first two months with the then current version 1.5, since July 2004 with various beta versions. Altogether this sums up to some 7000+ hours of CPU dedicated to testing Fruit! This effort certainly has helped to make Fruit stronger; and it has also allowed to get some better understanding of Fruit's characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.

So what are the characteristics of the current Fruit version 2.0? In fact the answer to this question may be a bit unsatisfactory: Fruit 2.0 is a balanced engine, it is neither a tactical monster relying solely on search nor overly relying on evaluation knowledge. It is also neither a slow nor a fast searcher. While certainly strong in endgames it nevertheless is also not a downright endgame specialist! Instead I believe that Fruit 2.0 performs overall pretty much equally well in all these areas, and this balanced characteristic is to be regarded as the biggest strength of Fruit! This is btw in sharp contrast to (the already very strong) Fruit 1.5, which nevertheless had deficits in the endgame, king safety and generally relied to a very large degree on its search.

Another obvious strength of Fruit is its quality of code: it simply does not have those bugs that would make it throw away games, as even some of the other top free engines do. Even during the beta tests Fruit has always proven to be remarkably bug-free.

In terms of weaknesses the most pronounced ones in my view are still king safety (also Fruit 2.0 from time to time falls prey to king attacks) and the fact that it loses (in relation to the other top free engines of course) some 30-40 ELO points of its strength at longer time controls. In other words: even though Fruit is very strong at long time controls as well, it currently is to be considered a Blitz expert. If these two areas could be addressed we would have an even stronger Fruit!

Toga's creator Thomas Gaksch writes that Fruit likes to swap three pawns against a minor piece, to its disadvantage. I could not observe this behaviour, but under absence of a detailed analysis on the matter it can also not be excluded. However, during my tests, I have made another observation: even though I cannot (and will not) prove it statistically I have the impression that Fruit 2.0 is winning its games over proportion during the late midgame or in the transition to the endgame. Possibly this is due to its clever interpolation between midgame and endgame evaluation scores, possibly it is due to its rather aggressive history pruning which comes into its own during this phase. Maybe it is also the combination of these two specific features!

A final observation is that Fruit likes Queen´s Indian, English closed and King´s Indian classical, where it performs very, very strongly. On the other hand it has weaknesses in openings such as Gruenfeld Exchange and Sicilian Velimirovic Attack: in these variants it performs close to 10% weaker than its average performance and some 15 to >20% weaker than in its strongest openings mentioned above.

The bottomline is that Fruit 2.0 is certainly one of the five strongest free engines available.

THANKS FABIEN AND ROBERT
this was perfect for me!

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