View Full Version : The Art of simulation

10-23-2007, 12:08 AM
Just a thought as to why don't Chess Programs pitch more to the level of the average players ability ? A very, very small percentage of players can ever play in the top tiers of chess, yet so many products (like Fritz) promote that as the main feature. Now plays at a rating 2500+ etc!!! But how many folks who bought these programs like CM X actually beat it on a regular basis at Grandmaster level? Aside from tricks like very short time controls. I have only beaten the program once and that took a long time with repeated moves until I could do so. The majority of opponents used for me are pitched to the <1800 level. Whilst the chessmaster series has done reasonably well at trying to give varying opponents. It doesn't really simulate well humans e.g. the program plays at a 2000 level at the start, then does a outrageous blunder in the endgame to bring its rating down. It doesn't try 2nd best lines or poor tactics like a person might do.

When you buy a flight simulator, often the good ones will allow you to turn off the advanced settings. So that as you progress in ability to fly you can later add more realism like weather, spins etc. If you have to read a manual 800 pages long and then have to factor in things like fuel mix before you can go to the runway. Most people won't buy it. But we do the that in chess.

If these chess programs are a simulation of a human, why aren't they primarliy designed around say the average club players ability ? Why do the post game commentary seem so bland ? A good chess teacher will explain to you the way your games develop. So why not have a top rate commentary printout of the game? Giving examples of a players unsound tactics, poor choices and a better strategies to follow up on. Instead of a program playing like a number crunching machine, why not use its vast database to play a move that humans would tend to use. I'm not saying that it's bad to play a Gary Kasparov level chess simulation, it is perversly fun to lose in 10 moves. Rather shouldn't the developers factor in the Joes and Susies who actually but it ? Verses wanting it to be the next deep Blue model.

10-23-2007, 10:14 AM
I'm no programmer but from what I hear it's pretty hard to program a chess computer to play human-like. There are so many variables involved in humans playing chess that it would be a gargantuan task to create an engine that emulates such behavior. It's almost akin to creating a computer that can emulate the human brain. With modern technology it would seem to the average person that we can achieve this but in reality we're still years behind in achieving this if at all.

10-23-2007, 06:58 PM
I liked the 'humane' interactive experience of Power Chess 98, but that was a result of extensive hardcoded programming revolving around just a single opening. Too bad no one else wanted to take that idea further.