Friday, October 24, 2008

Another anti null move position

Here is another interesting anti null move position, actually derived from a chess problem by Troitski.

With null move pruning, engines are at risk of overlooking the simple mate in four (even Fritz11 under default settings fails to find the mate while search depths go over thirty!). The mate is found quickly, however, without null move pruning or by skipping the heuristic if only a few moves are possible. In this case, simply not trying a null move if few pieces remain on the board also works.

Since I see no simple, yet general way to detect for what positions null move pruning should be disabled to deal with zugzwang, I decided to apply full move generation prior to the heuristic in the second generation BikJump as well. Overall tactical play seems to improve, at the expense of slightly slower searching speeds (luckily, move generation has become a lot faster compared to the first generation).