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[gnugo-devel] strategy

From: Arend Bayer
Subject: [gnugo-devel] strategy
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 23:21:51 +0200 (CEST)

There have been several e-mails pointing out a "lack of strategy" as a
problem in GNU Go. 

Let me explain why I mostly disagree with this view point. I claim it is
absolutely sufficient to understand the territorial value and
strategical effects of moves, and then just select the biggest. (Where
the evaluation of these effects should, in the future, be measured with
the help of a global look-ahead.)

Martin posted a game where his strategy was to capture White's center
stones. He thinks that GNU Go should, as a counter strategy,
preemptively secure this group. My point of view what went wrong in this
game is different: GNU Go underestimated the weakness of this group,
later made a life-and-death misread, and thus failed to defend it. Even
if it would "understand" the opponent's strategy, why should it defend a
group that it deemed safe? So it was a misevaluation, and not a lack of
strategy, IMHO. (Btw, I replayed this game with current GNU Go, and it
already does a better job of defending the center group earlier.)

Take another example: Humans have to be taught to "make territory while
attacking". GNU Go doesn't have to be taught this explicitly. If a move
both makes territory and weakens an opponent's group, then GNU Go will
add territorial and a strategical value for this move, quite likely
outscoring other moves that only achieve one of the two.

What people see as a lack of strategy is, im my opinion, mostly just a
consequence of GNU Go's unprecise (to say the least) assessment of weak


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