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[Bug-gnubg] RE: Importance of pipcount

From: Albert Silver
Subject: [Bug-gnubg] RE: Importance of pipcount
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 14:30:02 -0300

> -----Original Message-----
> From: address@hidden [mailto:address@hidden
> Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2004 1:45 PM
> To: Albert Silver
> Cc: 'Joachim Matussek'; address@hidden
> Subject: Importance of pipcount
> It's easy to  come up with positions where  it's important; the
> is how often  do they arise in practice? My  personal experience is
> it is  so infrequent that  the effect on  playing strength will  be
> small. But this is just based on my own experience.
> If you have  a different experience I will have to  change my opinion
> this.

In my experience they arrive in almost every game, and often several
times in the game. That is, regarding checker play decisions alone mind
you. I gave one example, but there are many. I gave an example of
forward points, but the same decisions often occur when deciding what to
do with one's checkers in the opponent's board. It will also often be
a/the key factor when determining whether or not to run off an anchor in
a holding game or not. In matches, the score will determine the type of
strategy one will seek, thus at gammon-save scores such as 2-away 3-away
or 2-away 4-away, racing games or holding games are to be preferred as a
rule, and again the race will be all-important in many of one's

Add to this the issue of cube decisions as well, and one begins to
realize just how significant it is to have a good idea of the pip-count,
or at the very least, the difference in the counts. The latter is often
enough, hence the counting methods that determine this as opposed to the
absolute counts of both sides.

> I actually toyed with the idea of testing it out by hacking GNUBG to
> a wrong pipcount  input to its neural net and letting  it play against
> non-disabled version  of itself and  measure the effect. The  thought
> subjecting  myself to  another smear  campaign by  Douglas Zare  made
> change my mind if I remember correctly.

Smear campaign? He is entitled to his opinion on the validity of your
results, as you are to yours. I'd point out all the same that your
formula *is* used in GNUBG for one thing, and second, that at least for
myself, it is what I look closest to when evaluating my performance and
my opponent's. 

Furthermore, your formula has tested out quite well so far as regards
the GNUBG evaluation of my results compared to my actual FIBS rating.


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