The Checker Maven

Marujito: A New Checker Playing Engine

There's a brand-new checker playing engine just released. It's called Marujito, named after a yellow canary that is a character on the Barcelona television comedy show Plats Bruts. It (the engine, not the canary) runs with Martin Fierz's CheckerBoard interface, and was developed by Angel Galan Galan of the University of Barcelona. He bundles it here under the name Matilde with two other engines that play European checker variants.

As those of you know who follow my checker program review page, I test nearly all new programs against Martin Fierz's Simple Checkers, an engine that I rate as "Class C" meaning it plays a good casual game, if short of expert or master level. Simple generally destroys the competition as, alas, the majority of checker programs out there aren't all that great.

Well, this new kid on the block is no comical bird, despite its name. Marujito clearly outplayed Simple Checkers in a test game! The game was a very interesting matchup, with Marujito calculating a pretty way to win a piece and then correctly winning a 3 kings vs. 2 kings endgame--- something that the more basic programs very often fail to do.

You can view the full game in animated form, with comments and evaluations, here. But before you do that, take a look at this position:

WHITE (Simple Checkers)

BLACK (Marujito)
Black to Play and Win
Simple has just blundered by playing 25-22, a losing move. But it looks like a pretty natural move in this position. Can you see the way to a Black victory? Try your hand at it, and check your winning ways against the actual game as linked above. You'll see that Marujito handles this very nicely.

The Checker Maven congratulates program author Angel Galan Galan on turning out a checker engine that plays a very good game and will be a lot of fun to use as a casual sparring partner.

A summary review of Marujito now appears on the review page.



02/12/05 - Category: Programs - Printer friendly version
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