30 Weird Chess Algorithms: Elo World

An intricate and lengthy account of several different computer chess topics from my SIGBOVIK 2019 papers. We conduct a tournament of fools with a pile of different weird chess algorithms, ostensibly to quantify how well my other weird program to play color- and piece-blind chess performs. On the way we “learn” about mirrors, arithmetic encoding, perversions of game tree search, spicy oils, and hats.

No animals nor automata were harmed in the filming.


  1. i feel like calling the bot cccp with red and yellow hats was a bad idea

  2. that beard growth transition in the beginning was very cinematic, nice

  3. BlockFish: prioritizes moves that limit the number of opponents moves

  4. Why was the alphabet one moving the rook before the pawns? Last time I checked p comes before r in the alphabet.

  5. I'm wondering if there were any one-time-only moves that got filtered out from your hashtable that is counterintuitive while simultaneously being very effective gameplay.

  6. In minute 14 it's not saying that for no reason

  7. That means someone structure development is playing now and should not be in there like that

  8. What about improving the lookup bot by checking if the position exists without caring about the opponents move when nothing at the exact position is found before doing random??
    (And if occurs more than once -> most popular than random)

  9. I wanna see stockfish but with only making the worst moves for you, not considering its own best moves

  10. A little late to the party but… ConstipatedFish where it takes a subset of its pieces and can move them only after 2-3 moves that does not involve a piece from that subset that was moved last time (or it moves them when it is absolutely necessary)

  11. What about randomly chooseing between worstfish and stockfish

  12. How did stockfish not beat the worst bots everytime, when it would beat grandmasters in every game?

  13. Why is it written in Turkish on the chess Robot? Is it reference to Mechanical Turk

  14. in the end the dog is the best player in the tournament since they can move pieces

  15. I think most developing players (and most early chess engines) go for some variation of CCCP, with near-immediate rewards. A "greedy" approach you might say. The subject matter is fascinating, because I always hoped for a simple & elegant way to play chess to exist -without relying on opening books or decision trees

  16. just watched a minute of it and i'm already loving it. exactly my style of autistic self-deprecating nerd humor & craftsmanship. looking forward to the rest of it and there's good chances i may binge this channel. awesome xD thanks!

  17. Alphabetical would be better if you pawn moves would be sorted as "Pe5". As the standard square notation is lowercase, it will never push a pawn if there is any piece to be moved.

  18. I open second video of yours and once again you're just reading my thoughts aloud. People always think I'm good at chess. I'm terrible at chess because it's a computational problem. I have innate dislike of doing things that computers are better at. I just don't see the point. So I always plays chess like when I played with my mum at age of 4: on vibes. I just look at the board and let the unconsciousness do the heavy lifting, and whatever "feels" like a good move. I win with most "bad" players, lose with anyone decent, but it's fun 🙂

  19. Fantastic. Your dog escaping the (pretty much captive) chess lesson reminded me of my childhood as my Dad tried to teach me chess in metaphorically similar fashion. At this time we can reflect on the state of the world that was arrived at by finding worthwhile solutions to seemingly necessary problems. I am so glad there are people like you who have invested time and effort in the exact opposite. This direction could save the world rather than set it on fire. And much more enjoyable too. Thank you so much for what you do.

  20. Mirrors and lakes reflect in the depth direction and are the same; it has nothing to do with polarization.

    Fun video otherwise!

  21. 10:10 The statement you made in the video regarding mirrors, lakes, and lenses is incorrect. I'm not sure if you were trolling, making a sarcastic joke, or genuinely misinformed, but I just wanted to address the inaccuracies in the explanation you mentioned.

    Firstly, it's important to note that mirrors do not have an inherent association with horizontal polarization or any specific polarization. When light reflects off a mirror, its original polarization is preserved. Mirrors actually exhibit mirror symmetry, meaning they reflect light in such a way that the image appears reversed along the z-axis or the axis perpendicular to the mirror's surface. So the flipping occurs along the z-axis, not the x-axis as stated.

    As for lakes, they do not possess vertical polarization or any specific polarization. The appearance of an inverted or upside-down reflection in a lake is due to the complex interaction of light with the rippled or uneven surface of the water. This phenomenon does not align with the concept of symmetry. It is important to differentiate between the optics of reflections and the mathematical concept of symmetry.

    Regarding lenses, circular polarization is not directly related to 180-degree symmetry. Circular polarization refers to a specific type of polarization where the electric field vector of light traces out a circular path. Lenses themselves do not inherently flip or rotate images by 180 degrees. The orientation of the resulting image depends on the specific optical system and design of the lens.

    To summarize, your explanation contains misconceptions about symmetry and the behaviors of mirrors, lakes, and lenses. Mirrors exhibit mirror symmetry along the z-axis, lakes can create inverted reflections due to the water's surface, and lenses do not inherently flip or rotate images by 180 degrees.

  22. Every day, I'm hoping for a sequel to this video or to the PlayFUN series. The videos on this channel are some of the best on YT

  23. I see you are a mirror expert. Great explannation.

  24. I just found out about this sweet channel.

    16:36 You mention that "weirdly, the fatalist strategy beats the other strategies".
    IIUC, this strategy means that the piece would go where it is the most likely to have been killed across many games. But if it is likely to be killed at this position, it is also likely that a piece would end up in this position during a regular game.

    As such, this strategy would attempt to reproduce the average human player, which is probably most sofisticated than the other strategy you had until this point.

  25. "Boltzmann brilliancy"

    This channel is a hidden gem

  26. It'a been 4 years, i still laugh my ass off at the polarization joke

  27. You know a video will be good when the opening line is "Chess is probably the best semi-3D, on-rails platformer game…"

  28. I'd really love to get the piece blind chess app for practicing blindfold chess, but have at least some reference to the positioning of the pieces

  29. make an ai that takes a battleship game as input for the color/piece blind chess ai

  30. This wasn't 40something minutes down the drain. It was 40sonething carefree minutes of fending off the existential dread of reality. I love it. Thanks for the distraction

  31. this is my fifth time watching this. i will increment this counter the next time

  32. So you have two other pieces on the board and just because your king is in danger, none of those other pieces exist for that move. On the other hand, its not allowed either to move your king into danger, even if it could be a part of a winning strategy, which sounds counter-intuitive and even tyrannical to me. Besides, tyranny usually comes from kings themselves.

  33. I guess its worth noting that the stockfish in this video is not only super outdated, but also modified to be mostly stateless, reducing its elo by a thousand points. Modern engines would obliterate it every single time.

  34. 20:51 there was at least one game where Stockfish failed to win against huddle with white, how is that even possible?

  35. This is simply beautiful! Loved the style and the content of this video!

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