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By H. Berlin

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5 presents a generic ANSI-C implementation of ALPHA-BETA. 3. Beside the alpha-beta bounds, we also added a new depth parameter to the search function. Its value specifies the remaining search depth as measured in plies or tree levels ("half moves" in chess speak). The adoption of remaining depth instead of distance-to-root simplifies the implementation because the recursion may simply decrement the according counter until it becomes zero. Otherwise, both the counter of distance-to-root and the desired depth limit would have to be passed around.

With extensions added, there is always the risk of non-terminating searches. Furthermore, too many extensions quickly blow the search out of proportions. Longtime practical experience suggests that it is best to restrict extensions to forcing moves and forced positions. Most chess programs extend the search on checks, recaptures, and pushes of passed Pawns. Direct mate threats and positions with only a single legal move or one significantly outstanding move are also proven candidates for extensions.

Based on a single 32 MHz ARM processor, the 1992 champion CHESsMACHINE SCHRODER outclassed the special-purpose chess machine HITECH and the massively parallel supercomputer program ZUGZWANG (then a brute-force searcher on 1024x 16 MHz T800 transputers). 8th World Computer-Chess Championship (May 1995). Running on a 90 MHz Pentium PC, the 1995 champion FRITZ beat DEEP THOUGHT II (the direct predecessor ofIBM's famous special-purpose chess machine DEEP BLUE) and the massively parallel supercomputer program STARSOCRATES (employing an Intel Paragon with 1824x 66 MHz i860 CPUs).

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