"Life is too short for Chess" (Lord Byron)
Greedy chess computers
« on: October 15, 2008, 04:23AM »
Although greed is considered a human vice, most of us will have seen instances of this shortcoming in chess computers.
Especially weak computers can often be beaten easily by simple sacrifices that break up their king position. They go for material gain and don't see that they lose the game in the process.
Yesterday I saw an instance of greed displayed by ... Fritz-5-ply. Don't think Fritz-5-ply is a weak player. Only the strongest chess computers (playing at one minute per move) can beat Fritz-5-ply. It for instance beats Mephisto Miami, a computer that not many would consider a weakling.
On the 55th move of a game against Mephisto Rebell, this situation came about:
It is clear that white has a won game. But there is one little problem: as long as black can give checks it can avoid being checkmated; white may not capture the rook because then black has no moves left and is stalemated. Black realizes this and keeps giving checks.
On the 70th, move black gave check again with 70...Rd1-e1+.
Here white had a simple chance to put an end to the stalemate threat with 71.Nf6-e4. But Fritz was greedy, held on to his knight with 71. Ke5-d5, and ten moves later the game was drawn.
If you have Java on your computer, it should be possible to see the complete game at http://overtom.nl/weblog/15OCT08.html