Restructuring the database

Since Sunday, I’m restructuring the database. The problem that appear Sunday is a position with a longer FEN than what the database could accept. About a year and half, and I analyzed the database to look at the longer FEN, it was 57 characters long. In a goal to reduce the size of the database, I reduce the length of the column to 60 characters long. Sunday, a position with a FEN of 61 characters long appear, causing a lot problems.

Right now I’m changing the length of the column, and but it takes much longer time than what I thought. Neca had prove me that even in the suicide variant it’s possible to reach the longest length for a FEN (71 characters).

The process will produce a bigger database, and I wonder if the current hard drive will be big enough. If not I will buy a new one. Currently it’s a 500 Gb.

I hope to solve the issue as soon as possible, don’t be afraid to ask for news by email or chat or twitter.

*I’m not counting the color in the FEN length, it’s keep in a separate column in the database.


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.

How long to look to all positions ?

Today , the opening book databases reach a total of 700 millions positions ( only 15%-16% of them have been analyzed). What if you want to look to all of them. If you take 1 second per position, it would take you about 22 years to check all positions ( 24h/day).

Each day more than 1 millions position are created. Good luck if you want to see all of them.

Major milestone reached: 100 millions positions.

This weekend, we have reached the 100 millions milestone! Thanks to all of you who have help in a way or another.

To give you a idea, it’s about 25x the size of nilatac’s one. Currently it took about 3 seconds to compute a position. So this means that a lot of CPU time have been give to this project, but the results can be use by all.

For now, just my own suicide chess engine use it, hoping to put them back online soon.

I know that recently I didn’t add new features or update azor, I wish to be able to pass more time on it,but for now it’s hard. Hopefully it’ll be better this summer.

Some news (bad and good ones)

On August 1st, my main computer/server for suicidechess had crash as you already know. Sadly, it was the 1st of each month that I took backups.

After several attempt, I wasn’t able to restore the database as it was. So I got no choice to restore the backup for the 1st of July.
That’s the saddest part, we must re-do all works of July. And I have lost all forum discussion :S

The good news now:
The opening book is back online!
Most of services (Main server, gore, azor,etc) are back online too.
My main computer (previously known as NetBombe) got replaced by a new computer (AMD Phenom II X6 1090 with 8Gb of ram) so we’ll be able to work quickly!