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An earlier version of this paper appears in: H.J. van den Herik and L.V. Allis, editors, Heuristic Programming in Artificial Intelligence 3 { The Third Computer Olympiad. Ellis Horwood, 1992.

METAGAME in Symmetric

Chess-Like Games

Barney Pell1

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, UK

E-mail: [email protected]


I have implemented a game generator that generates games from a wide but still restricted class. This class is general enough to include most aspects of many standard games, including Chess, Shogi, Chinese Chess, Checkers, Draughts, and many variants of Fairy Chess. The generator, implemented in Prolog, is transparent and publicly available, and generates games using probability distributions for parameters such as piece complexity, types of movement, board size, and locality.

The generator is illustrated by means of a new game it produced, which is then subjected to a simple strategic analysis. This form of analysis suggests that programs to play Metagame well will either learn or apply very general game-playing principles. But because the class is still restricted, it may be possible to develop a naive but fast program which can outplay more sophisticated opponents. Performance in a tournament between programs is the deciding criterion.

1Parts of this work have been supported by RIACS, NASA Ames Research Center [FIA], and a British Marshall Scholarship.