Hello all

Discussion of anything and everything relating to chess playing software and machines.

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bob
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Re: Hello all

Post by bob » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:29 pm

DaveKitt wrote:Hello everyone. I was directed to this site last week by an old friend, Max H. I saw there was some confusion as to whether a poster was 'the Dave Kittinger'. Well, I am the Dave Kittinger who was quite active in computer chess over a decade ago and had various engines which ran on Novag products as well as PC versions from the original MyChess on HeathKit computers to Wchess, various ChessMaster versions, Sierra's Power Chess, USCF Chess program etc. Some were decent for their time.

I had discovered Stockfish over 1 year ago and realized just how far the field had advanced. It would take weeks and maybe months for the old WChess program to find tactics which Stockfish could find in a minute or less. Very impressive.

It was very nice to see some old names such as Robert Hyatt, Don Dailey, Larry Kaufman and others I'm sure.

I have not been active in the chess wars for almost 2 decades, so really don't have much to add to this forum. Just wanted to say hello. I'm impressed that the field still has a number of enthusiastic developers and followers. It was an incredibly fun and exciting time back in the day when we were just onthe cusp of getting computers to play strong enough to beat good human players.

Regards, Dave Kittinger
Hi Dave. Long time. Even after the ACM events went away we used to meet regularly on CCC when you were running there regularly. You ought to try coming back and visiting, although of course you will have to be ready to do battle with 100's of robolito clones there of course. :)

In any case, nice to see you back in contact...

As the saying goes, "those were the days, eh?" :)

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F.Huber
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Re: Hello all

Post by F.Huber » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:31 pm

DaveKitt wrote:Franz, that would be ok by me.
Ok Dave, many thanks! :)

So here's WChess 1.05 for our 'oldies' fans:
http://www.spaadyshare.net/63s6o85ffx5v/WChess_v105.zip
Ah....such strong copy protection! ;-) I remember that way back in the day I was actually excited when I saw pirated copies of Mychess which also had copy protection available in the software mart in Kowloon Hong Kong....
Well, the problem was not removing the copy-protection (as I said a single byte to skip a special routine was enough) but finding the right place - especially because I don't have a debugger for protected-mode DOS programs. So I could only use a disassembler and it took quite some time until I found this routine.
But for an old guy programming computers since about 30 years (also in assembly language) not really a big problem. ;-)
(I remember that for MyChess it was much easier)

Franz

bob
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Re: Hello all

Post by bob » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:32 pm

DaveKitt wrote:I was told this technique at I believe the Travelmunde world championship. It just involved using 0rrr0ccc encoding. The advantage was that (sq + offset) & 0x88 would tell you if off board. Many of the devices I programmed on took longer to read ram than test a register result. Also, immediate test for <0 (byte value) could test for off board, so faster off board test than accessing a 'collar' of off board values. The fellow who told me this attributed it to Michael Botvinnik (Former USSR World Champion) as something used in a version of Kaissa. However, when I was riding an elevator w/Mr. Botvinnik and asked him about this to confirm the derivation, one of his handlers asked that I not ask Mr. Botvinnik any questions.
You mentioned Kaissa. Did you then mean Donskoy rather than Botvinnik, who only worked on Pioneer that I recall. Donskoy was Kaissa...

DaveKitt
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Re: Hello all

Post by DaveKitt » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:39 pm

Indeed. So good to see you are still involved in this 'sport'. BTW - I downloaded Crafty last night ;-) If I WERE to try and get back into this, I would definitely start w/someone else's code base as I recall writing a program is a hell of a lot of work ;-) After seeing the scandal regarding Rybka, I would definitely NOT play for a World Championship... I did notice in your Crafty doc that it sounds like using your code as base is ok and in fact encouraged.

BTW - I now live in MS. Gulf coast is a great place! Especially for playing golf!

DaveKitt
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Re: Hello all

Post by DaveKitt » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:44 pm

You are probably correct, but Botvinnik is definitely who I heard it ascribed to, so maybe predated Kaissa. Kaissa was competing at the time, that is why Botvinnik was in attendance. Another advantage of the 0rrr0ccc was that I put the 'ioboard' at 0rrr1ccc so basically used 1/2 a page of ram efficiently for both boards. I would then have the piece table at 1000wwww and 1000bbbb for the white and black pieces respectively just to pack things in.

DaveKitt
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Re: Hello all

Post by DaveKitt » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:58 pm

Sure, I left computer chess after Novag's business dropped off and CM went w/different engine. I was pretty burned out by then as well. Had been a real passion for over 20 yrs I think. Spent way too many hours coding, testing, looking at games, openings, etc, etc, etc. As other programmers may attest, can be very difficult to balance such a seductive activity w/the the demands of raising a family. As it turned out, there was a local (to Mobile, AL) startup company that sold embedded sw (The Nucleus OS) including an OS, networking stack, graphics, file system etc. I went to work for them to enjoy a more 'normal, 9-5 sort of routine. Also, programming (for me at least), was mostly a very solitary activity. Being in a more normal work environment was a nice change.

bob
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Re: Hello all

Post by bob » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:08 pm

DaveKitt wrote:Indeed. So good to see you are still involved in this 'sport'. BTW - I downloaded Crafty last night ;-) If I WERE to try and get back into this, I would definitely start w/someone else's code base as I recall writing a program is a hell of a lot of work ;-) After seeing the scandal regarding Rybka, I would definitely NOT play for a World Championship... I did notice in your Crafty doc that it sounds like using your code as base is ok and in fact encouraged.

BTW - I now live in MS. Gulf coast is a great place! Especially for playing golf!
It is obviously OK to play with Crafty source. But to prevent ICGA misunderstandings, I very carefully worded the EULA in main.c to be very specific about playing a modified version in tournaments, because we have had way too many such attempts in the past, dating all the way back to one of the early WMCCC events were someone tried to get away with entering a hex-edited version of chess genius...

yes, the MS gulf coast is a nice place to live. Except for the hurricanes. I lived about 60 miles north of Gulfport (Hattiesburg) for 17+ years, and we suffered through several (Camile and Frederick come to mind, not to mention Katrina).

I had not heard from you since I guess your Mobile days... Do I remember correctly that at some point you lived in Alaska as well? Hell of a weather change, obviously. :)

bob
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Re: Hello all

Post by bob » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:53 pm

DaveKitt wrote:You are probably correct, but Botvinnik is definitely who I heard it ascribed to, so maybe predated Kaissa. Kaissa was competing at the time, that is why Botvinnik was in attendance. Another advantage of the 0rrr0ccc was that I put the 'ioboard' at 0rrr1ccc so basically used 1/2 a page of ram efficiently for both boards. I would then have the piece table at 1000wwww and 1000bbbb for the white and black pieces respectively just to pack things in.
Do you remember when this was? At the 1983 WCCC in NYC, Botvinnik was the guest of honor, invited by the ACM computer chess committee. I still have a ceremonial "drinking cup" made from some sort of animal horn that he presented to me at the awards (we won the 1983 event, obviously).

I had always heard that 0x88 was an idea from some commercial chess programmer way back when, maybe Lang...

DaveKitt
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Re: Hello all

Post by DaveKitt » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:48 am

Nope, don't remember when, could have been NYC. The whole 0x88 is pretty obvious. In fact, another big benefit is that you could take the difference of two sqs and use that to look into a table to see the legal piece types that could be attackers. Having bit 3 cleared prevented wrap arounds on this look up. Hence, for most my programs the basic capture routine iterated from largest to smallest captured piece, using smallest to largest capturing piece, taking the difference of the sqs, looking up in att_table and seeing if nz, if nz, then if & with attacker type bit nz then just had to check if slider and had path clear. Of course, w and b pawns had different type bits. Made for a decently fast and ordered capture search.

pichy
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Re: Hello all

Post by pichy » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:21 am

DaveKitt wrote:Sure, I left computer chess after Novag's business dropped off and CM went w/different engine. I was pretty burned out by then as well. Had been a real passion for over 20 yrs I think. Spent way too many hours coding, testing, looking at games, openings, etc, etc, etc. As other programmers may attest, can be very difficult to balance such a seductive activity w/the the demands of raising a family. As it turned out, there was a local (to Mobile, AL) startup company that sold embedded sw (The Nucleus OS) including an OS, networking stack, graphics, file system etc. I went to work for them to enjoy a more 'normal, 9-5 sort of routine. Also, programming (for me at least), was mostly a very solitary activity. Being in a more normal work environment was a nice change.
Welcome to the Computer Chess Forum, Mr. Kittinger can you elaborate about your famous PSH-Algorithm which allowed the program to play „intuitive“ moves and piece sacrifices.

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