Multi-ply picoEngine!

output2

Hopefully, the above gif loaded for you. It’s not much to look at, but it is really neat to see the output and evaluation from picoEngine as it calculates through multiple moves before making a decision. At present, it is set to 3 ply, which means, if I play as white, then after making my move, picoEngine will calculate it’s move as black, my potential white move, and then it’s next move as black, or vise versa if we were to change sides.

The commit is not the largest one I’ve ever done, but certainly among the most thought intensive. Again, my goal with the picoEngine is just as the name implies: a small engine. Right now, the executable engine is only 335 kb, and while being loaded in Arena Chess, takes less than 2 MB to run. However, these stats don’t make or break a good engine, they are just in keeping with my lightweight goal.

So far, the only item considered by the engine to weigh in a decision is material. Now I need to work on two main things: pruning and/or a better evaluation system. As it stands, picoEngine is so material driven that it often falls prey to weak tactics, allowing picoEngine to capture something now, only to loose it later or be check mated, etc….

The largest problem right now is that picoEngine doesn’t actually know how to win. It is driven currently to attempt to whittle down the opponent to have no material left, but it doesn’t understand that it really needs to focus on check mates. I am thinking I can kill two birds with one stone though, if I add more evaluation for “mobility” (the ability to move about the board), with zero mobility of the enemy being desirable. This may lead to a stalemate engine though, so I will have to be careful.

Linux – keep it simple.

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