Using example-based reasoning for selective move generation in two player adversarial games

  • David Sinclair
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1488)


Given the processing speed of the best chess computer is 200 million times faster in terms of positions evaluated per second than a human chess expert, a grandmaster, the question is not how can a computer beat a chess grandmaster but rather how do chess grandmasters beat computers? In computing terms, the human expert's strength lies in the ability to significantly prune the search tree and to correctly evaluate the resulting positions. This paper addresses the first of these strengths and proposes an example-based reasoning mechanism to select candidate moves from a given chess position. The mechanism automatically generates an example-base from a database of grandmaster chess games using Principal Component Analysis to characterise the positions in the games database. Given a new position, its characterisation is compared to those in the example-base and a ranked list of n “similar” moves is returned. This forms the basis of an effective forward pruning mechanism in a two player adversarial game.

Index terms

Example-based reasoning Forward Pruning Game-Tree Search 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Knuth, D.E., Moore, R.W.: An analysis of alpha-beta pruning. Artificial Intelligence 6 (1975) 293–326MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Marsland, T.A.: Relative efficiency of alpha-beta implementations. In Procs. 8th Int. Joint Conf. on Art. Intell, Karlsruhe, Germany, (1983) 763–766Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Berliner, H.J.: The B* tree search algorithm: A best first proof procedure. Artificial Intelligence 12 (1979) 23–40MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Stockman, G.C.: A minimax algorithm better than alpha-beta? Artificial Intelligence 12 (1979) 179–196MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    McAllester, D.: Conspiracy numbers for min-max search. Artificial Intelligence 35 (1988) 287–310MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Plaat, A., Schaeffer, J., de Bruin, A., Pijls, W.: A Minimax Algorithm Better than SSS*. Artificial Intelligence 87 (1996) 255–293MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    de Groot, A.D.: Thought and choice in chess. The Hague: Mouton (1965)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chase, W.G., Simon, H.A.: Perception in chess. Cognitive Psychology 4 (1973) 55–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Simon, H.A., Gilmartin, K.: A simulation memory for chess positions. Cognitive Psychology 5 (1973) 29–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    George, M., Schaeffer, J.: Chunking for Experience. In Advances in Computer Chess VI, D.F. Beal (ed.), (1991) 133–146Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Flinter, S., Keane, M.T.: On the Automatic Generation of Case Libraries by Chunking Chess Games. In Procs. 1st Int. Conf. on Case Based Reasoning, M. Veloso and A. Aamodt (eds.), Springer Verlag, (1995) 421–430Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bratko, I., Tancig, P., Tancig, S.: Detection of Positional Patterns in Chess. Advances in Computer Chess IV, D.F. Beal (ed.), (1986) 113–126Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Campbell, M.S., Berliner, H.J.: Using Chunking to Play Chess Pawn Endgames. Artificial Intelligence 23 (1984) 97–120MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gruber, H., Ziegler, A.: Components of expertise: Looking for SEEK in sorting. Review of Psychology 2 (1995) 13–21Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pearson, K.: On lines and planes of closest fit to systems of points in space. Phil. Mag. 2 (1901) 559–572MATHGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hottelling, H.: Analysis of a complex of statistical variables into principal components. J. Educational Psychology 24 (1933) 417–441, 498–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mardia, K.V., Kent, J.T., Bibby, J.M.: Multivariate Analysis. Academic Press. (1979)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Sinclair
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ApplicationsDublin City UniversityGlasnevinIreland

Personalised recommendations