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Human Interference In Computer Chess Championship? 34

Posted by simoniker
from the computer-plus-one dept.
migstradamus writes "In a twist with interesting implications for the computer chess world, the intervention of a human programmer and a human arbiter have had a decisive impact on the World Computer Chess Championship that finished today in Graz, Austria. What happens when a programmer acts against his creation's best interest? ChessBase has an eye-witness report on the dilemma. This year's event was already controversial due to the disqualification of one of the programs midway through for being derivative of an open source program."
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Human Interference In Computer Chess Championship?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01, 2003 @12:09PM (#7599196)
    LIST doesn't use bitboards as I am told so how could it be a Crafty clone at all??

    Dann Corbit had seen the source of a former version and he judged all as completely different to CRAFTY. Ulli Tuerke (COMET) say that the two progs are
    totally different in their behaviour.

    These imposters should imediately retire after this tournament. People like Bruce Moreland and other younger characters should lead the union of computerchess. Fritz Reul has his examins in mathematics this week so it is a crime to disturb him at his home.

    What I find interesting is the following quote:

    "The program List is suspected to be a clone of the program Crafty. Autor Fritz Reul failed to prove otherwise and allowed a final deadline to pass."

    So apparently an author's reputation and integrity can be maligned on "suspicion." What is truly tragic is the "assumed guilty" posture of the accused. LIST was suspected to be a clone, and was disqualified because the author failed to prove otherwise. How incredibly unjust.

    Furthermore, it does not appear that the ICGA followed thier own rule:

    "Each program must be the original work of the entering developers. Programming teams whose code is derived from or including game-playing code written by others must name all other authors, or the source of such code, in their application details. programs which are discovered to be close derivatives of others (e.g., by playing nearly all moves the same), may be declared invalid by the Tournament Director after seeking expert advice. For this purpose a listing of all game-related code running on the system must be available on demand to the Tournament Director." [emphasis added]

    LIST was only suspected of being a clone; it was not discovered to be a clone. The rule, as written, places the burden on the ICGA to prove it is a close derivate of another before disqualification; it does not place the burden on the accused to prove that it is not a derivative. Thus, the rule is inapplicable to the present situation.

    The ICGA needs a procedure to follow in resolving these disputes. Apparently it has none, so it made a procedure up at the expense of an author's reputation. Furthermore, the ICGA has now possibly damaged the author's reputation beyond repair. Allegations of copyright infringement are serious concerns in the software community. Finally, the ICGA should have accommodated the accused author's schedule - is it too much to ask to give a person a small reprieve while he tends to examinations rather than publicly call into question the author's integrity in a worldwide publication on the Internet.

    A public retraction is in order, and an apology.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JMZero (449047) on Monday December 01, 2003 @01:25PM (#7600087) Homepage
    However, as some ambiguity does remain it's a good safeguard for the ICGA to specify a list of acceptable phrases that are to be taken to mean "claim a draw" (and thus direct instructions the human may not decline to follow).

    I think that's the important thing here - make it clear that the computer is responsible for the decision and there's no more silliness here. It's an unfortunate situation - and it arose purely due to unclear rules. I don't think anyone needs admonishment, and I think the resolution reached is fair enough to all parties.

    They may also need a rule in place in the odd case that neither computer claims a draw in a repeating situation.
  • Meh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JMZero (449047) on Monday December 01, 2003 @01:34PM (#7600179) Homepage
    If a draw claim is available (to your opponent), then you are by definition not in a favorable position.

    The option to draw is only available to the person who has the move. Thus, it's quite possible that a draw claim is available while you are in a favorable position (and thus choose not to take it). In this situation, you'd also want to make it unavailable to your opponent's next turn by breaking the repetition.

    See the regular FIDE rules for how this works.
  • You misunderstand... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JMZero (449047) on Monday December 01, 2003 @08:06PM (#7604487) Homepage
    Shredder may have made a mistake, but it was a gameplay mistake - not a bug. We're in agreement on this, and I'm not quite sure how you thought otherwise after reading my post.

    The bug was in Jonny's program - it identified a possible draw condition without being clear that it wanted to take the draw. While it may have been clear in this situation that taking the draw was the right move, there are many other situations when taking the draw is the wrong play. In my last post, which I'm not sure you read, I compared this to the choice of which piece to promote a pawn to.

    Imagine if I dialog box popped up that said "Promote Pawn". For the purposes of a competition like this, that would be a bug. It moves the burden of decision to the operator, which isn't a real option.

    Why else would it identify this than to claim the draw?

    When conventions aren't formalized, there's a capacity for misunderstandings. There's all sorts of ambiguous interfaces for this that could be made. What if the program had simply had a label showing "third repetition"? Would that be clear enough? Why not just standardize on a message that has a clear intent - a popup box saying "Draw claimed: third repetition" (or some other standardized wording). Similar standardization should be made for any other decision that the program may need to make during the course of a game.

    PS: I realize that this isn't the most natural way to read the situation. But it's the best way, I think, to resolve the situation to satisfaction. Why? Because it places the blame on the competitor (the program) rather than on an outside force (the operator or the judge).

    Admonishing the operators or judges might help, but fixing the programs (via standardization of this sort of decision) will fix the problem forever.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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