Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

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Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 18 Jan 2017, 05:45

I tried playing a simul as indicated in the topic title. Stockfish stopped moving as soon as the 2nd game began. It wasn't pretty. Is use of a UCI engine the problem here?
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby H.G.Muller » 18 Jan 2017, 10:32

It should not make any difference whether you use a UCI or WB engine;XBoard wouldot even be aware of the difference. In case of UCI it thinks the adapter is a WB engine.

I don't know what "simulize" is. But do I understand correctly that you wanted XBoard in zippy mode to play more than one game at once? I don't think that is possible.
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 18 Jan 2017, 15:50

H. G., thanks for the quick reply. Your understanding is correct. I was proceeding as outlined in the Zippy README file.

======
SIMULS
======

It has been discovered that Zippy can play simuls on ICC (but not on
FICS). If you arrange for Zippy to send the ICC command "simulize" in
the -zippyGameStart string, it will accept additional games while
playing. Zippy will use the same engine for every game, so whenever
it switches opponents, the engine's state will be reset with the "new"
command. This will of course weaken its play, so don't enable simuls
if you want your engine to have the highest possible rating.

Zippy was never designed to work with simuls; it just works by
accident, and it hasn't been tested much. So please report any bugs
you notice, but don't expect them to be fixed rapidly.

Be sure to use xboard/WinBoard 4.2.4 or later for simuls, because some
obscure bugs are fixed in that version that affect starting a game in
the middle (as with resuming from adjournments or switching opponents
in a simul).

As noted under -zippyPlay above, you should have -getMoveList on to
ensure that the engine knows the game history after switching boards
and thus handles draw by repetition and by the 50-move rule correctly.
It should, however, also work to turn off this option to speed things
up and reduce network bandwidth, if you don't mind the engine
occasionally failing to see draw possibilities. Unfortunately,
though, with Crafty 18.3 (and probably other versions too) as the
engine, users trying this have experienced Crafty crashes. This looks
to me like a Crafty bug, but I wasn't able to reproduce it, so it
remains a mystery.

I do realize the quoted documentation is very old, and the fact that you're unaware of this capability probably tells me everything I need to know!
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby H.G.Muller » 18 Jan 2017, 22:55

It could be that some of the options I have since then added interfere with this capability. In particular check your setting of 'Background Observe' in the ICS Options dialog. If that is on, it would certainly not work, because when XBoard receives a board of a game other than it is already playing, it doesn't do anything with it other than saving it in a buffer, so it can be displayed when the user right-clicks the board. (But it still would not be communicated to the engine then.)

It is true that with this option off, reception of a board that the ICS says is for playing, would make the game of that board the 'current game', and make XBoard fetch all preceding moves of that game. It is impossible for me to guess what goes wrong without seeing a debug log of what went on between ICS and XBoard.
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 19 Jan 2017, 02:50

H. G., the only boxes I have checked on the ICS Options dialog are Get Move List and Colorize Messages, so Background Observe isn't the issue. Unfortunately, I didn't have any logging enabled at the time of my mishap. On the Engine Settings dialog I've now turned on Write Debug Log (produces a file named io_log.txt) and Polyglot Log. Are there any other debug files I need to enable?
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby H.G.Muller » 19 Jan 2017, 07:48

The Polyglot log will not help: it only shows what goes on between XBoard and engine. You need to put the extra option -debug on the XBoard command line; then it creates a file xboard.debug that also contains everyhing sent to and received from the ICS.
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 20 Jan 2017, 04:10

H. G.,

I was able to perform a test with the desired logging enabled. The simul player is named finrot. Two 1 0 games were played. The 1st opponent is guest4254. The 2nd opponent is guest6708. The 2nd game started about 30 seconds after the 1st. As soon as the 2nd game was initiated, finrot stopped moving entirely. Upon time forfeiting against guest4254, finrot started moving against guest6708 and played that game to completion.

The xboard.debug file for finrot is too large to post directly here. Is there a way to include an attachment, or an email address where I could send it?

Update: I decided to try a simul with Crafty instead of Stockfish. As you predicted, the behavior was the same.

Ken
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby H.G.Muller » 20 Jan 2017, 09:57

I sent you a PM with my e-mail address. (Let meknow if you got it, because I do not see it in my outbox.)
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 20 Jan 2017, 14:57

H. G., I did not receive your PM, but you can email me directly. There's an email icon beside the PM icon on the right side of any of my posts below my username. I just tested the capability successfully.
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 23 Jan 2017, 19:17

H. G., did you receive the debug file I emailed you Friday? There's no hurry at all to do anything with it; I just want to make sure you got it.

Ken
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby H.G.Muller » 24 Jan 2017, 19:24

Yes I did. But it arrived together with a bad attack of the flu, so I haven't had opportunity to look at it yet.
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 24 Jan 2017, 20:32

Well that's no fun. Get better soon!
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Re: Using "simulize" on ICC with XBoard & Stockfish

Postby addle-minded » 01 Feb 2017, 18:59

A bit of an update: I tested the simul capability on some older XBoard versions with no success. I went as far back as 4.2.7 (using GNU Chess rather than Stockfish). I also tried WinBoard with similar results.
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