[Beowulf] Go-playing machines

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Tue Jun 24 13:29:20 PDT 2008

Hi Peter,

At the risk of being off topic. A few points.

First of all we must distinguish computers and humans. For chess and  
go this is completely the same:
the choices that get made at start of the game decide its outcome  
with a high degree of certainty;

In computer chess i launched the slogan a few years ago:
	"the move that matters most for the game is the first move out of book"

Being a titled player myself  (FIDE master),
this was of course easy to judge and it still is the case.

This might get explained especially because of the limited knowledge  
that a program has as compared to a human playing.

At human level, if we look to what happens in go at the highest  
level, is that nearly all time gets spent the first few moves of the  

Chess and Go and 10x0 international checkers are all the same in that  

The real strong titled players are that strong that it is relative  
easy for them to play the last few moves based upon technique to  
assure the win,
as opposed to the start of the game when 'book theory' ends. In go of  
course that last is rather soon.


On Jun 24, 2008, at 10:15 PM, Peter St. John wrote:

> Vincent,
> I found your reply very agreable except this:
> "The first few moves in go decide the outcome of the game already,  
> as the rest is just a 'playout' of the first few moves. So what  
> matters most is the first few moves in the game."
> Many professional games are decided in the endgame. When I lose at  
> chess, it's almost always resignation within 50 moves; when I lose  
> at go, it's frequently necessary to count, less frequently  
> resignation (but handicaps make more games close), and I think I  
> never resign before move 150 or so. In fact, some crazy  
> mathematicians proved that the endgame in go is very tricky, see  
> http://senseis.xmp.net/?TemperatureCGT (using "temperature" from  
> combinatorial game theory).
> As it happens I'm really bad at fuseki, and often have to catch up  
> with fighting in the middle game, which often leads to resentful  
> squeezing of the yose :-) So I rarely have quick games.
> Peter

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