Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sancho is GGP Champion 2014!

At approximately 1:30am this morning (BST), Sancho was crowned General Game Playing Champion 2014.  Sadly I wasn’t there to witness it because I was feeling unwell and had gone to bed.  However, I was pleased to wake up to the good news this morning.

The final twelve players competed in the double-elimination phase last night.  Sancho played against 3 of them, winning 2-1, 2-0, 3-1.

[The links below are to visualizations of the matches.  Several of them work best in Chrome.  Use the right/left arrows to see how the match progressed.]
  • Round 1 (best of 3) vs Galvanise written by Richard, a fellow Edinburgher who won the 2nd Coursera GGP course
  • Round 2 (best of 3) vs QFWFQ, a competitor of ours in the 1st Coursera GGP course, last autumn
    • Walkover in Hex
    • Win in Joint Connect 4 (two simultaneous games of connect 4, where you have to get a line of 4 on the top board or force your opponent to make a line of 4 on the bottom board) 
  • Grand Final (best of 5) vs LeJoueur, long-time GGP player written by Jean-Noel Vittaut - a researcher in machine learning in Paris University (I think). 
    • Win in Hex after the opponent blundered a very strong position.  (By my reckoning, he shouldn't have connected to the bottom at move 14 because there were still two options open.  By connecting early, he lost a move at the top and never recovered.)
    • Loss in Breakthrough – our first in many months.  I’m told this was a good game.  (Aim is to get a pawn through the other side.  Pawns can move straight or diagonally and can take diagonally only.)  I haven't analysed this yet.
    • Win in a contrived combination of tic-tac-toe, chess and connect 4, which we usually play badly at and were playing against the bias.  I haven't looked at this yet.
    • Win in Joint Connect 4.  This is a strong game for us because Sancho factors it into the two individual games (thereby massively reducing the branching factor).

We were disappointed not to get to play the reigning champion (TurboTurtle by Sam) who was eliminated in his first round, although we often get to play GreenShell (which we strongly suspect is the same as TurboTurtle - but Sam has declined several opportunities to confirm) on the Tiltyard.

With many thanks to Bertrand, Ben, Eric & Todor for organising this event and thanks to all the other competitors for a good game.

We plan to be back in January 2015 (the AAAI conference is moving forward 6 months) and Steve hopes to be there in person.  Polish up those players and come and show us how it should really be done!

More blog posts to follow in the coming week or so about some of what made Sancho the champion this time round.

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