Archive for category: Checkers

Milhouse still doesn’t know the first thing about FIrst Position…

August 25, 2014 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Until Milhouse can play this position out, it really can’t be considered a real checkers program. Right now, even with an endgame database, it’s still clueless about how to proceed. Addendum: Reinfeld’s How to Win at Checkers gives some details on winning positions like this. I recall reading it (my puzzle database includes puzzles from […]

Are improvements in computer chess due mostly to hardware or software?

August 22, 2014 | Checkers, Computer Chess, Computer Games | By: Mark VandeWettering

My recent revival in interest in computer chess/checkers/gameplaying was in part spawned by the impression (not particularly support by evidence at the time) that the dramatic increase in computer chess strength must have come from more than just basic hardware improvements. It seemed obvious to me that some fraction of the increase in the play […]

Translating HAKMEM 175 into C…

September 8, 2010 | Checkers, Computer Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

A couple of years back, I made note of HAKMEM 175, a nifty hack by Bill Gosper that finds the next higher value that has the same number of ‘1’ bits as the input. brainwagon » Blog Archive » HAKMEM 175. If I bothered to convert it to C, I didn’t scribble it down, so […]

Why I can’t play checkers very well…

May 7, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

White is to move. It isn’t that hard to find the move that draws, but in two minutes, I couldn’t work out the move that wins for White. All other moves are dead losses for White. Solving this puzzle requires basic visualization skills which seem beyond my current capabilities. Milhouse of course immediately answers 27-23. […]

Milhouse muses from the past…

April 23, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

A couple of years ago, I mused about an “easy” checkers problem which my checkers program Milhouse found to be pretty difficult. Here’s the position again, with White to move and win: (I didn’t mention the source of the puzzle before, I got it out of one of Rob Pike’s books, not sure which one. […]

Milhouse, what are you thinking?

April 11, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Okay, here’s the problem which is driving me crazy. Milhouse gets itself into this position: Milhouse should play 6-10, and should respond by winning a checker on the next move by forcing the checker that doesn’t move into a trade. But for reasons which somewhat escape me, milhouse judges that 6-2, 6-9 and 6-10 are […]

Three Kings vs. Two Kings still confounds Milhouse?

April 10, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

A couple of years ago, I realized that Milhouse didn’t play the 3K vs. 2K engame properly. Today, in doing some testing, I realized that it still doesn’t. At one point, it misses the obvious trade in material, and therefore wanders into a draw by repetition. I suspected it is because something is awry in […]

It is good to see another checker program work hard…

April 1, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was sparring a bit with both Martin Fierz’s Cake, his jCheckers and also with John Kruezer’s guiCheckers. These games illustrated a number of things. Milhouse has bugs. And it seriously lacks proper checker knowledge. Because it lacks checker knowledge, it doesn’t search deep enough. And it lacks an opening book. Sigh. It’s hard to […]

A small experiment with a C compiler

March 31, 2010 | Checkers, Computer Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’m still somewhat baffled by the performance of my checkers program. I keep pondering that perhaps it would be a good idea to take all the lessons I’ve learned, burn it down, and try again with Milhouse2. After all, in the words of Tom Duff (who may not have said this, but should have) “any […]

jCheckers Beats Milhouse

March 29, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

After watching a couple of games where Milhouse appeared to get behind, but then pulled out a draw, here’s one where milhouse got behind, stumbled, and lost. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to study it in any detail, but I’ll archive the game here for future analysis: [Black “jcheckers”] [White ” milhouse”] [Event “sparring […]

jCheckers released

March 28, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Martin Fierz, author of the truly excellent checkers program Cake, has released a checkers program in Java. I run Cake on my PC, and also at times under Wine on Linux, but it is nice to have a version which can run on Mac/Linux without any hassle. jCheckers. For fun, I fired up Milhouse and […]

Classic Board Games for Computer Implementation?

March 25, 2010 | Checkers, Computer Science, Games and Diversions | By: Mark VandeWettering

So, my experiments with my checkers program Milhouse have been fun and interesting. There is still work to be done: I don’t think a machine that can’t properly play first position can be reasonably said to be a good checkers player (even though I still make errors while practicing it myself against Cake), but I’ve […]

Can I derive an adequate evaluation function for Milhouse through random play?

March 20, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

As I have mentioned from time to time, I have an implementation of a middling checkers player program that I’ve called Milhouse. Every few months I take time out to play with it and decide what I can do to make it better. Recently I’ve been pondering the possibility of implementing drop-out expansion to make […]

Fifth Position, a test for milhouse

February 24, 2010 | Amateur Radio, Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

My trip to Powell’s also netted me Erroll A. Smith’s The American Checker Player’s Handbook, a nice little tome published in 1944. It mostly is an introduction to the famous two-move openings, systematically organizing the forty-seven two-move openings into 7 so-called “Master” openings, and then the Major Variations. There are two principle areas that I’d […]

Some new additions to my checkers library…

February 20, 2010 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

A visit to Powell’s books today netted me three new (well, new to me, but used, and in two cases, quite old) books on checkers. It’s been a while since I mentioned my checkers program milhouse, but it’s still in the back of my mind, and these old books provide excellent insight into the game, […]