All the Right Moves: A VLSI Architecture for Chess

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Computer chess programs traditionally have been subject to a tradeoff between search speed and chess knowledge. All the Right Moves presents a parallel architecture that makes this tradeoff irrelevant: using the VLSI architecture described in this book, the Hitech chess program is able to search both quickly and knowledgeably. Hitech recently won the ACM computer chess championship, and now owns a USCF rating of 2532, placing it in the top one percent of all rated U.S. chess ...
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Overview

Computer chess programs traditionally have been subject to a tradeoff between search speed and chess knowledge. All the Right Moves presents a parallel architecture that makes this tradeoff irrelevant: using the VLSI architecture described in this book, the Hitech chess program is able to search both quickly and knowledgeably. Hitech recently won the ACM computer chess championship, and now owns a USCF rating of 2532, placing it in the top one percent of all rated U.S. chess players.

The book describes a VLSI implementation for both move generation and position evaluation. The VLSI move generator searches about 200,000 moves per second and includes all the ancillary circuitry required for it to interface cleanly with the rest of the system. The speed of the move generator is independent of the number of legal moves in a position, and the speed of the evaluation depends only logarithmically on the amount of knowledge encoded in the evaluation. In practice, this means that the amount of analysis performed by the evaluation does not slow the speed of the search.

Beyond the VLSI architecture, Ebeling also describes the other Hitech hardware and software, and presents a performance analysis of Hitech as a whole.

Hitech already has had a revolutionary effect on computer chess, the impact of which is discussed in the book's final chapter.

Contents: Introduction. Background and Related Work. The Move Generator Architecture. Position Evaluation. The Hitech System. Performance Results. Conclusion.

Carl Ebeling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Washington, Seattle. All the Right Moves is a 1986 ACM Distinguished Dissertation.

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