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Tournament First Engine Always Play White Option?

PostPosted: 04 Sep 2018, 03:28
by Brian Richardson
Is there a way to keep the first engine in a gauntlet tournament always playing white instead of switching sides?

In cutechess-cli it is-noswap (but only found in more recent versions).


Re: Tournament First Engine Always Play White Option?

PostPosted: 26 Sep 2018, 09:40
by H.G.Muller
Sorry that I am so tardy lately for responding to messages in this forum. There had't been any for nearly a year, and this has made me less alert.

To answer the question: yes, there is such an option: /sameColorGames N , where N is the number of games, which overrides the setting of /matchGames when both are specified. (This is a legacy of the days where WinBoard still needed to be controlled by an external tournament manager like PSWBTM, which I was unable to change, and which would always invoke WB with the option -mg 1 to make it auto-terminate after the requested game.)

There is no interactive way to set this; (I considered it something for 'advanced use only'); you would have to specify it on the comment line / in the startup dialog when invoking WinBoard, and then it will be in force for the entire setting (so that the 'games per pairing' interactive control would be ignored).

I often use that option for doing material-imbalance games in self-play without having to go through the chore of creating a file with initial positions, by just defining the imbalanced position as the start position of an engine-defined variant in Fairy-Max. But then I am interested in how white does against black, not in how the (identical) engines A and B do against each other, and it is more convenient if the match result immediately shows that.

Re: Tournament First Engine Always Play White Option?

PostPosted: 27 Sep 2018, 14:16
by Brian Richardson
Thanks for your reply. I very much appreciate all of your work on Winboard over the years and understand how things wax and wane. My work on Tinker is also like that, although for the last year or so I have been more focused on machine learning and neural nets again (with Alpha Zero following the early Giraffe work).

I also wanted the option to do what I think you were describing. I have imbalanced positions with White always first to play and never switching starting positions. I was doing some very basic tablebase training with nets starting with KQvK and KRvK. The net trains with always white to move (mirroring if it actually is black's move). I was moving on to KBNvK and got sidetracked. I am able to work on something for about a week, but it takes me several days to figure out where I left off to start again.

In any case, it sounds like I could just put that option in the .trn file, which I often edit by hand.