28 December 2018

Talking About AlphaZero

It's been three weeks since we learned that AlphaZero Is Back!. When the news first broke, what was the reaction from the community of chess engine developers? Taking a few pointers from a recent post, Talking About Chess Engines (October 2018), I checked with the groups behind Stockfish and Leela. First, here's the Stockfish reaction (groups.google.com/fishcooking):-

You might expect a deeper look from the Leela (LC0) crowd, but the reaction was also considerably understated (groups.google.com/lczero):-

  • 2018-12-06: New AlphaZero 2018 Papers (Discussion) • 'Based on AlphaZero 2018's 1000 game matchup between Stockfish 8, AZ 2018 is only +52 Elo to Stockfish 8, which means it is weaker than Stockfish 9.'

  • 2018-12-07: A new blog post!, points to AlphaZero paper, and Lc0 v0.19.1 (blog.lczero.org) • 'The paper contains additional details that were missing in the original preprint from one year before. There were some aspects that were implemented in Leela differently from AlphaZero, and I'm sure we'll find some more.'

The most detailed discussion was on neutral ground (talkchess.com) with participants from the Stockfish & Leela communities, from DeepMind, and from other (mostly) knowledgeable experts:-

As for specific talking points, there were many -- too many to cover in a single blog post.

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