KomodoChess and chess.com

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lkaufman
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KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by lkaufman »

Five years ago, chess.com purchased a stake in KomodoChess along with rights to use our software. Now the merger is complete; chess.com has bought out KomodoChess entirely. Chess.com will now run the website, pay for further development of Komodo, and for the most part take over the responsibilities of both myself and Mark Lefler. Mark and I will remain as paid consultants thru 2025, but chess.com will make the decisions. Dietrich Kappe remains onboard as the NN trainer. It is not yet clear who will be the main programmer or programmers, but development will continue, although perhaps in different directions. The goal of becoming the world's number one engine will remain as a prime goal, but it is expected that this will take some major work and hence I wouldn't expect any quick results.

There were several reasons for this:
1. I reached the age of 75, pretty old for such a tech-heavy job. Mark is about a decade younger, but even so that's a normal retirement age here (well past it in France, I read!).
2. Progress with NN training came to a halt, I won't pretend to know why. I have confidence in Dietrich to find a solution, but time is not on my side.
3. Progress with the engine also came to a virtual halt after the release of Dragon 3.2. I believe only a major re-write, or some major discovery by a new person, can solve the problem.
4. KomodoChess sales weren't sufficient to hire a new full-time programmer or to finance massively more net training, but chess.com has more incentive than just KomodoChess sales to make Komodo Dragon the best, so that need not deter them.
5. In my opinion, Komodo Dragon and Stockfish have effectively "solved" standard chess in the sense that with long time limits and large thread counts, they are both probably invincible if allowed to choose their own openings or at least get to choose from near-optimal openings. This seems pretty clear from many results; even the CCRL 40/15 4 cpu list shows just tiny elo differences among the top Stockfish and Dragon entities, and that's with some dubious openings included. Of course these engines are far from perfect in playing positions that are not as clearly drawn as the standard start position, there are still large gaps from version to version when tested with unbalanced openings such as we see in TCEC or CCC. But for me, the challenge of making improvements that only show up in these artificial situations is not so exciting as it used to be. Even chess960 is over 98% drawn on big hardware in Rapid, based on CCC event. I still want to help Komodo make it to the top spot, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life on this when the CCRL Rapid gap is down to five Elo points already.
6. The discovery of NNUE was wonderful for both Stockfish and Komodo, but it greatly diminished my own role. I won't pretend to be an expert on NNs; I have of course learned a bit about them during these last couple of years, but not enough to contribute more than a little to the NN side of the project. I think the same applies more or less for Mark.

I hope that I am still able to make some significant contributions to the further development of Komodo Dragon, I remain interested in and involved with computer chess. I think that Mark feels the same way. Personally, I'm spending more time actually playing chess now, as well as shogi, my favorite "chess" game, and also with family.
Komodo rules!
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towforce
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by towforce »

You have Andrew Grant on the team now - he's employed by chess.com, and I suspect he'll be able to increase the standard of play.

75 isn't old: at time of writing, former England football head coach Roy Hodgson, who is also 75, is favourite to take over as head coach of Crystal Palace - link. If he does, he'll break his own record of being the oldest Premiership head coach! :D

Best definition of "old" I know: one's current age plus 10 years. :mrgreen:
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lkaufman
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by lkaufman »

towforce wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 4:11 pm You have Andrew Grant on the team now - he's employed by chess.com, and I suspect he'll be able to increase the standard of play.

75 isn't old: at time of writing, former England football head coach Roy Hodgson, who is also 75, is favourite to take over as head coach of Crystal Palace - link. If he does, he'll break his own record of being the oldest Premiership head coach! :D

Best definition of "old" I know: one's current age plus 10 years. :mrgreen:
Well, if I were to run for U.S. President on a third party next year, I might well be the youngest of the three candidates! So from that perspective, 75 isn't so old. But being President apparently isn't as challenging as running KomodoChess!
Komodo rules!
Jouni
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by Jouni »

I see now You can download Komodo 14.1 for free. Thanks!
Jouni
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Steve Maughan
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by Steve Maughan »

Congrats on the deal. I'm delighted you've found a way to pass Don's torch on to a new era. Chess.com is an impressive organization and I'm sure Komodo will be safe in their hands.

— Steve
http://www.chessprogramming.net - Maverick Chess Engine
noobpwnftw
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by noobpwnftw »

They'll probably just use it to make more Mittens. That said, it looks like a good deal on your end.
lkaufman
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by lkaufman »

noobpwnftw wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 6:26 pm They'll probably just use it to make more Mittens. That said, it looks like a good deal on your end.
Well, they already had the right to do this (and apparently did with Mittens), so if that was their sole intention, they wasted some significant money. I should mention that we (meaning Mark and I) will get a sizable bonus if Komodo Dragon does manage to pass Stockfish by specified criteria, so we still have financial incentive to help improve Komodo.
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Dariusz
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by Dariusz »

lkaufman wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 6:59 pm
noobpwnftw wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 6:26 pm They'll probably just use it to make more Mittens. That said, it looks like a good deal on your end.
Well, they already had the right to do this (and apparently did with Mittens), so if that was their sole intention, they wasted some significant money. I should mention that we (meaning Mark and I) will get a sizable bonus if Komodo Dragon does manage to pass Stockfish by specified criteria, so we still have financial incentive to help improve Komodo.
That is, there is hope... just for what ?! Hmm... probably for new bots and hundreds more videos on YT with kittens, doggies and frogs as the new increasingly powerful (Komodo Dragon) Chess.com bots.
I'd like to be wrong, but looking at the angle of the Mittens bot and what you wrote Larry, I don't have rather high hopes, unfortunately....
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Modern Times
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by Modern Times »

Congrats on the deal. I agree Larry that at 75 there are much more important things to be doing in life, so have fun and enjoy yourself.
CornfedForever
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Re: KomodoChess and chess.com

Post by CornfedForever »

Dariusz wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:14 pm
lkaufman wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 6:59 pm
noobpwnftw wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 6:26 pm They'll probably just use it to make more Mittens. That said, it looks like a good deal on your end.
Well, they already had the right to do this (and apparently did with Mittens), so if that was their sole intention, they wasted some significant money. I should mention that we (meaning Mark and I) will get a sizable bonus if Komodo Dragon does manage to pass Stockfish by specified criteria, so we still have financial incentive to help improve Komodo.
That is, there is hope... just for what ?! Hmm... probably for new bots and hundreds more videos on YT with kittens, doggies and frogs as the new increasingly powerful (Komodo Dragon) Chess.com bots.
I'd like to be wrong, but looking at the angle of the Mittens bot and what you wrote Larry, I don't have rather high hopes, unfortunately....
Do remember that Mittens is/was more popular than any of us (or any engine...outside perhaps Stockfish) will ever be. Strong is strong...use of a strong engine is where it's at.
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