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Thread: MS Chess Titans

  1. #1
    New Romantic Miramon's Avatar
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    MS Chess Titans

    So my computer came with the Microsoft game "Chess Titans".

    I fire it up for the first time, set it to max difficulty, play 1 e4. The damn thing starts thinking. And thinking. After 20 seconds, I kill it.

    What the hell kind of chess program thinks about its first move? It must have been torn between a Ruy Lopez and a Gioco Piano. But seriously, it must have been searching the game tree to take that long. What a piece of shit.

  2. #2
    New Romantic
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    You are just underestimating how good you are. That pawn move was setting up the Miramon Knight Sacrifice Body Slam and the computer knew it.

    Troy

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    I've been playing Chess Titans quite a bit since I've gotten Vista. Moves are usually instaneous, but I've been playing on a pretty low difficulty level. The way to be better at chess (for humans and computers), is to consider possible board positions in the future. Hence, harder difficulty levels might be more resource intensive as the computer has process exponentially more moves into the future.

    Or, maybe your computer is just slow to begin with. I'd check difficulty level first, though.

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    Greatatlantic, it's been SOP for the vast majority of commercial Chess programs written in recent decades to use an opening book for its first N moves, specifically because it leads to known lines of advantage or disadvantage and because the sheer number of combinations early on leads to a "horizon effect" where the best first move is not truly known. (Crucial moves during the mid-game also have the same problem.) If MS Chess Titans has an opening book, it should be moving quickly at first regardless of difficulty level.

    Bruce

  5. #5
    New Romantic
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    I've never tried that program, but I'd bet there's a checkbox somewhere which disables the opening book.

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    New Romantic Miramon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quaro View Post
    I've never tried that program, but I'd bet there's a checkbox somewhere which disables the opening book.
    Not in the options pane or anywhere else in the UI, anyhow.

  7. #7
    New Romantic
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    I'm going to guess it doesn't have an opening book... though it's playing like it does, confusing. Why not go get a program like Shredder?

    Here's a helpful page: http://www.computerchess.org.uk/ccrl/. Well, helpful in seeing difficulty but not how well they scale, unfortunately. I'm told Shredder is very human-like at its lower levels, feeling less like it's making the odd bad move to balance things out, and more that it plays like a lower level player.

    I tried a difficulty 10, while compressing a file in 7-Zip on my 3Ghz Pentium 4 and it took about twenty seconds to make its opening move as black.
    Last edited by Quitch; 03-01-2008 at 03:05 PM.

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    Maybe it has a fixed-time search to try to find a better move, before defaulting to a book move.

    Bruce

  9. #9
    New Romantic Miramon's Avatar
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    I think it's well-nigh impossible for a chess program not to have an opening book. Maybe the first attempts on analog computers had none, but since the days of core memory, I'm going to say not a single chess program has lacked one. There's simply no point to doing without one, and even the dumbest freeware has always had them -- chess openings themselves are not copyrightable, so they can just copy them from earlier programs or transcribe them from MCO or whatever they want.

    So it appears to me that the programmers were simply too disinterested in playing the game and testing their own code not to disable search when on the book early in the game. On difficulty 8 out of 10, it takes 2 seconds of hourglass to respond 1 c5 (Indian defense, certainly from the book), and on setting 9 it takes 10 seconds to make the same move; but on setting 10, it's 20 seconds, which is just absurd.

    Incidentally the computer is a dual-core AMD from last year, though reading from the book should be just as fast on a 68000 machine from 1984.

    As an aside, its book seems really committed to the c pawn, every game I've started with e4 (6 or so now, just to test it) it's either played an Indian (c5) or more unexpectedly the Caro-Kann (c4).

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    World's End Supernova Chris Nahr's Avatar
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    You really want to play a chess program on the highest setting? Are you Kasparov in disguise? Chess Titans certainly isn't the world's strongest chess program but still...

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    I have a really fast quad core and I tested this out, it took 24 seconds.

  12. #12
    How To Go
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    Microsoft's Chess game is so sophisticated is simulates the hesitation of an actual human opponent. The more processing power you have the more subtle the patented second guessing engine is!

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    Or it's playing the classic 'bored out of my skull' gambit to goad the player into conceding, effective in this case

  14. #14
    New Romantic Miramon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Nahr View Post
    You really want to play a chess program on the highest setting? Are you Kasparov in disguise? Chess Titans certainly isn't the world's strongest chess program but still...
    1. I used to be a pretty good player, was in the Marshall club as a little kid, though I haven't played in years.

    2. Yeah, I'm sure even Chess Titans would kick my ass at its best level when I make some dumb mistake, but playing against a gimped opponent seems dumb to me somehow. I only fired it up on a whim, and was surprised to see the strange delay before 1 ... c5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Grenz View Post
    Microsoft's Chess game is so sophisticated is simulates the hesitation of an actual human opponent. The more processing power you have the more subtle the patented second guessing engine is!
    Never play chess with a Sicilian?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miramon View Post
    1. I used to be a pretty good player, was in the Marshall club as a little kid, though I haven't played in years.

    2. Yeah, I'm sure even Chess Titans would kick my ass at its best level when I make some dumb mistake, but playing against a gimped opponent seems dumb to me somehow. I only fired it up on a whim, and was surprised to see the strange delay before 1 ... c5.
    "Pretty Good Player" doesn't cut it any more. While I can't speak to the quality of Chess Titans, just about any other modern Chess program will wipe the floor with anyone but a IM/GM. If you're at the IM/GM level, you can probably expect a tie, unless you are lucky enough to get the computer into one of the weaker opening lines in its book.

    Bruce

  17. #17
    New Romantic Miramon's Avatar
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    Who knows what its strength is, but apparently it doesn't even know the rules:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_Titans

    Castling through check, forsooth! Cheater!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miramon View Post
    So my computer came with the Microsoft game "Chess Titans".

    I fire it up for the first time, set it to max difficulty, play 1 e4. The damn thing starts thinking. And thinking. After 20 seconds, I kill it.

    What the hell kind of chess program thinks about its first move? It must have been torn between a Ruy Lopez and a Gioco Piano. But seriously, it must have been searching the game tree to take that long. What a piece of shit.
    Chess Titans is a concise illustration of Microsoft in general. Unfinished, more interested in prettiness than performance, and fond of making illegal moves.

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    The delay was a psycological attack, and it earned the computer the game through your withdrawl. It is devious indeed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kael View Post
    The delay was a psycological attack, and it earned the computer the game through your withdrawl. It is devious indeed.
    /nods knowingly

    that's what data did on that early season episode of star trek:tng to that super grandmaster strategy guy.

  21. #21
    World's End Supernova Chris Nahr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Beschizza View Post
    Chess Titans is a concise illustration of Microsoft in general. Unfinished, more interested in prettiness than performance, and fond of making illegal moves.
    Except that the game wasn't made by Microsoft but by indie developer Oberon Games...

  22. #22
    Hustle
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    We recently added an AI to our own online chess game. It's pretty brutal - supposedly one of the best one's out there. Of course, our chess art is teh suxxorz but is about to be updated.

    https://www.gametableonline.com/

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Adan View Post
    our chess art is teh suxxorz but is about to be updated.
    Chess games should look more or less like this:


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miramon View Post
    the Caro-Kann (c4).
    c6, ya? (sorry, I couldn't resist. I played the Caro-Kann quite a bit years ago when I was active in chess).

    It is completely absurd for any chess program to not include an opening book. Even programs intended to be nothing but toys should have a small one.

  25. #25
    New Romantic Miramon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Beschizza View Post
    Chess games should look more or less like this:

    Not sure if you're joking or not, but that standard diagram is really much easier to deal with than the Chess Titans 3D chess set with 4 different piece and board texture options, none of which are any good.

  26. #26
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    Any chess game worth it's salt should offer standard diagram symbols as an option, regardless of whatever other fancy 3D real-time lighted faux wood graphics they choose to implement.

    Bruce

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    I kinda liked Interplay's Battlechess.

  28. #28
    Social Worker schurem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aszurom View Post
    I kinda liked Interplay's Battlechess.
    me too. i want that with M-rated gore options and an opening book.

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