A Strategic Metagame Player for General Chesslike Games

Barney Pell

This paper reviews the concept of Metagame and discusses the implelnentation of METAGAMER, a program which plays Metagame in the class of symmetric chess-like games, which includes chess, Chinese-chess, checkers, draughts, and Shogi. The l)rogram takes as input the rules of a specific game and analyses those rules to construct for that game an efficient representation and an evaluation function, both for use with a generic search engine. The strategic analysis performed by the program relates a set of general knowledge sources to the details of the particular game. Among other properties, this analysis determines the relative value of the differeat pieces in a given game. Although METACAMER does not learn from experience, the values resulting from its analysis are qualitatively similm- to values used by experts on known games, and are suff~cient to produce competitive performance the first time the program actually plays each game it is given. This appears to be tim first program to have de-. rived useful piece values directly from analysis of the rules of different games.

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