picochess v0.9i – chess clock

DGT-XL chess clock beige

With this release I concentrate on two main areas: setClock & chess engines. Actually, this “setClock” cost me a lot of time, even the user can not see too much. The dgt chess clock display a sent time immediately. This is sometimes not what I want – I want to send a time and show the time later. To make this possible, I had to exchange quite a lot of code. The main reason for this was Benny, who reported a small mistake to me. If you start a new game and make your first move very quickly, the clock still runs with the old time, which was corrected again on the second turn. This should be much better now, even if it is not fully solved yet.

Nevertheless, I have changed many engines. Some very old engines – which have been around since the beginning of picochess, unfortunately have some uci problems. Essentially their implementation of the uci protocol is not complete – mainly “go searchmoves” and the “ponder” flag. Arasan, for example, now has a new version, so the problem with “alternative move” is solved. Others have not done this yet.

In order to get a bit closer to my goal of version 1.0, I now decided to replace all engines that do not completely implement the uci protocol by other chess engines. For this reason, I have now removed “Cinnamon” from the Top8 list (Cinnamon does not support “alternative move”). As an alternative we choose “sayuri”. Sayuri we had already a few years ago as engine in picochess. Its advantages are full support of uci and active development. Its disadvantage is mainly a weaker engine, but perhaps thats what alot of players probably enjoy: have a chance to win a game 🙂

WyldChess

Maybe you’ve already seen this engine in CCRL 40/4 list. At the time of this post, the engine ranks 103th with 2629ELO. Our team is always watching various uci engines to find new candidates or even to upgrade the chess engines running in picochess. Since some Top8 engines still have problems (see above), I started an active search for an alternative and found WyldChess. Again, not all uci functions were implemented, but I had a great session with the developer of this engine (mk-chan), which has the missing functions at a breathtaking pace still built in. In this sessions mk-chan implemented uci960 mode (which makes another engine, you can choose to play with if you want to try out this mode) and also “alternative move”. An most important he also did a level system similar to rodent where you can setup each parameter of the evaluation yourself or simply use one of the provided personality files (right now there is only one “drunken” but more to come). Many thanks again to mk-chan! I wished alot more chess engine developers are so active as him.

Despite this i also did the following (again a super big update):

  • if you have choosen an engine by picochess.ini which is (no longer) there, you ended up in a crush situation. Now picochess will load the first engine again. Also if you change your engine to a non-pondering one during you are inside such pondering mode the engine failed before. This is now prevented in both possible situations (first a pondering mode then engine or vice versa) and the old working engine is reloaded. This are only 2 examples of alot more improvements done.
  • updated rodent3 engine with new personalities from v0.210 upwards.

16 Comments

  1. Hi Jürgen,

    is there a longer delay for picochess to recognize a move on the board? It happens if I directly answer with my move after I had done the move from picochess that the message “Setup board” appears. After I placed my Piece back and wait some seconds the clock Switches and I can perform my move as usual.

    I think that was different bevore.

    Greetings
    Volker

    • Hi Volker,
      it depends. That you first need to get a “ok pico”, is there for years. Even y have turned this ok messages off, fist picochess must have recognized you have done the computer move.

      Now: from v0.9h on, the dgtboard waits for a stable pos. Perhaps thats what y found out. What board type (usb, bt) y are using? which picochess version? do y have “confirm” turned on (=ok pico)?

    • Hi Volker,
      i guessed so. You have a slow BT board. In the newest version i reduced the waiting time, but releasing it will take about 2-3 weeks. If you cant wait you can use my master at github. Or you turn on the confirm messages, and wait until y see the message before continue – thats prob. quicker as getting into “setup pieces”

    • Hi Hans,
      sorry – no idea. The program itself needs a python3 system and for using the dgt board you need a serial connection. If thats the case, it prob. work (but not a DGTPi system).

  2. Hi Jürgen,
    Okay, thanks for the answer.
    Please allow me to ask you another question:
    Where in PicoChess do I find my played chess games and how can I save them on my computer?

    • Hi Hans,
      the games are saved at “/opt/picochess/games/” in standard as “games.pgn”. Use “scp” to copy this to your local computer.

      Another option is to activate the eMail credentials in picochess.ini and after each finished game this file is emailed to your postbox automatically.

  3. Hello. Picochess DGT PI 0.9i. when activating the permanent brain (wQb5) does the opening book not work properly or not correctly? greeting

  4. Hi Peter,
    as short test shows no problems. Which engine y use and what exactly happening? Please take into account that the engine is not asked to calculate as long you are inside a book (=no “brain” effect).

    • Engine Stockfish 7, Book Stockfish. After First 2 or 3 Moves come no Answer from opening-book. If I take my last Move back and make the same Move again, then comes the Answer from Opening Book !?

          • no, bug fixing is only available to the current release (if serious) or the upcoming one. Meaning: releases are freezed.
            The found bug is prob. inside since “brain” mode activated (useless to find out when exactly).

            Small update: v0.9j image is available for DGT Pi clocks.

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