Why am I investing so much time / money in the SuicideChess project?

I invest a lot in the project, first at all because I love this chess variant. I like to share knowledge about it. Even on FICS, I like to help new player. That’s why I’m a SR (service representative ) over there since so many years, 4 years and half to be exact. Helping others, it’s a good way to learn new things and knew a lot more people. I believe that everyone had something to teach me, that should be a goal in life. If we don’t share our knowledge what the point to keep learning new things. When you’re sharing your knowledge/skill, you’ll got all things back. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

The second reason, it’s because practice makes better. I want to became a better programmer. I have learn so much with it. I had worked so much time on it, it was like a real job. In software development,you must always learn new things if you want to stay up-to-date. Everything had started with a single game of suicide chess on FICS, I played against MarcFerrand. In his finger note, there was a note about a small software that he was looking for; a software to help him to analyze suicide chess games. That’s the way everything started. A little software for analyzing some games, with some codes of it, I started to write my own suicide chess engine. Nessegrev is his name. Nessegrev got some big problem, his opening book. While thinking to solved this problem, I was looking at others opening book : Nilatac and Sjeng’s one. The Nilatac’s one is huge, and the Sjeng’s one can be easily modified by hand. I decide to start my own opening book. My goal was to have a bigger book than Nilatac, while still being able to modify it ( not relying only on computer computation). This idea give me the motivation to program. learn new thing like algorithm and distributed computation; and to improve all programming skills.

Third reason, it’s I hate to lose my time in front of a TV. I prefer this time for something useful. Life is too short, to lose it, to somethings unproductive. I don’t say that you must always « work », I believe that having good time with family/friends is way better than wasting time in front of a boring TV show. So instead, passing a lot of hours in front of TV, I preferred to be in front of my computer programming few things. At least I felt being more useful this way. Even if want I start this project, there was very few people to thanks/encourage me, I still believe that worth the price. There’s nothing like knowing that people from around the world using your project.

Forth reason, it force to learn new personal skill like project managing, self-learner, etc. Even some tasks that I hate must be done, so I’m force to doing it. When you start a project, you are usually make what you like first, then the « less funny » part of the project. The good part of this is if you continue your project, you will develop new skills. Example: I had to learn how to install / manage a apache and a cvs server, practice my English writing , improve my web-design,etc. Never under-estimate what you can learn.

Fifth reason, looking at it right now! A huge opening book, so human and engine can use / learn from it. I discover some great people with this project. I’m still using it almost daily, and I know that I’m not alone in this case. This project hadn’t give me any money, but I can say, that now I have a good day job and this project helps me to pass interview for it.

That are the reasons why I invest so much time and money in SuicideChess. I hope I’ll keep these motivation for the future.

What happen in 2009

The end of the year arrive, so it’s time to look what happen in 2009 about the suicide variant and in SuicideChess project.

When 2009 started, Azor was still in version 10, and now it’s the version 16.8 that’s currently running. Many things have improved between these versions : en-passant rule, auto-update, speed increase, better connexion’s stability and EGTB capacities. I’m impress how much azor improve this year.

About the website, end game section have appear, to help players with suicide end game. That’s not the only section being created, the blog and forum too! In the opening book section, it’s now possible to add comments about a position. And since few, it’s now possible to register / login on the website.

About the opening book, it increase a lot this year. At the start of the year, there was about 8.5 millions calculated positions in the database; at the end of the year, it will be about 37.5 millions. So 29 millions positions have been compute this year. Thanks to everyone who ran/run an azor. To give you a idea, to compute 29 millions positions on some cloud computing program like Amazon EC2, that would cost me more about 6000$.

At the begin of the year, I have complete the transfer the hosting of the website from my home computer on a real web server, host by SliceHost.

All my Java source code for my project have been release open-source this year too.

About Suicide variant in general, you have seen new computers accounts on FICS like nakshatra. And StayAlive have now a way better opening book, than before, he almost reach the 2600+ rating in suicide. The Cyanide Sandwiches tourney have been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday.

This is what I remember so far… oh what a year ! 🙂
Hoping to see what will happen in 2010.

Happy New Year all!

How to win against ( part 2 )

(La version francaise est en bas)

Today, suicide chess engine is Catnail.

Catnail is a weaker version of nilatac, but it play almost instantly. Catnail and Nilatac have been programmed by Catalin Francu.
Since I begun to play suicide variant, Catnail was there. It’s probably the suicide chess engine who have played the most games on FICS.

Like his finger’s note said, Catnail will play lost opening. So it’s a good opponent if you want to learn / practice your opening. If you know your opening quite good, you’ll be able to beat him about 7 or 8 times on 10 games. But beware, if you do a mistake in your opening, Catnail will use it. A another mistake that players do against him, it’s playing too fast, since Catnail play very fast, players are used to play fast too. But try to think to your move and take your time. It’s sure that you’ll never beat Catnail on time, so why playing fast in this case ?

–Version Francaise–
Aujourd’hui, étudions le moteur d’échecs suicide Catnail.

Catnail est une version affaibli de Nilatac et il joue de facon quasi-instantanée. Catnail et Nilatac ont été programmé par Catalin Francu. Depuis que j’ai commencé à jouer au suicide, Catnail était là. Il est probablement celui qui a joué le plus de partie de suicide sur FICS.

Comme mentionné dans ses notes, Catnail joue des ouvertures perdantes délibérément. Donc il est un bon adversaire si vous voulez appendre ou pratiquer vos ouvertures. Si vous connaissez bien vos ouvertures, vous pourrez le battre facilement 7 ou 8 fois sur 10 parties. Faites attention cependant de ne pas faire vous-meme une ouverture perdante, car Catnail va en profiter rapidement. Une autre erreur des joueurs contre Catnail est celle de jouer trop rapidement, dû probablement au fait que Catnail joue très rapidement, les joueurs ont tendance à jouer également rapidement. Prenez votre temps, et réfléchissez à votre coup. Puisse qu’il est sur que vous ne battrez jamais Catnail avec l’horloge, à quoi bon de jouer rapidement ?

How to win against (part 1)

Here the first part on how to win against a specific suicide chess engine.

No I won’t give a winning path, that you can re-use to win, but I’ll give some tips.

Today, suicide chess engine is nakshatra

nakshatra is a new suicide chess engine on FICS. This engine have been created by gpbhat. nakshatra is doing good, currently his rating is 2020. According to his finger’s note, he have a small opening book and no EGTB.

I played about 10 games against him, that’s not a lot but I already figure few tips to win. Even if his opening book is small, I didn’t saw any blunders in the opening. So first thing to do is avoid to play a lost opening. During middle game, try to keep your pieces, because since he didn’t have EGTB, he sacrifice his pieces too quickly. In most of my games against him lead to the endgame where nakshatra have only a pawn left, and I still have my king, a rook and some other pieces. In end game, it’s important to have more pieces than your opponent specially when he have only a pawn. During the time that he push his pawn forward, I have time to place my pieces / promote my pawns to be sure that any of his promotion will be lost. To be able to do that, you need to know well your endgame

Keep in mind that nakshatra is still at version 0.0, so I hope, he’ll improve in near future. I don’t know in which language nakshatra is coded or when he’ll have EGTB