Fred Kok (Netherlands)  vs  Mona            Feb 17 - Apr 14, 2001

   1. c1-c3 h5-f7   2. e1-b4 h7-e7   3. c8-c6 a4-c2   4. g8-g6 a6-c4
   5. b8-d6 a7-d7   6. b1-b3 h2-f4   7. f8:h6 f4:b4   8. f1-d3 f7:b3
   9. c6-d5 e7-e5  10. d1:d7 h4-e4  11. Resigns

  Fred Kok is one of the most successful Lines of Action players in
  the last few years.  He won the Mind Sports Olympiad gold medal
  in 1997 and again in 1999, thereby becoming the first person to
  be awarded the title of MSO grandmaster.

  This game featured his interesting opening system which starts with
  1. c1-c3 and then prepares blockading operations on the second file
  by hopping over that piece with e1-b4.  Mona answers this with the
  interfering move 3... a4-c2, and a complex position develops.  The
  game turns into a race to connect, and Mona turns out to be a step
  ahead in the race.

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . B B B B B B . |        8 | . B B B B B B . |
    7 | W . . . . . . W |        7 | W . . . . W . W |
    6 | W . . . . . . W |        6 | W . . . . . . W |
    5 | W . . . . . . W |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | W . . . . . . W |        4 | W . . . . . . W |
    3 | W . B . . . . W |        3 | W . B . . . . W |
    2 | W . . . . . . W |        2 | W . . . . . . W |
    1 | . B . B B B B . |        1 | . B . B B B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   1. c1-c3 h5-f7

 Fred:  I challenged Mona because i was intrigued by the 20-0 score
 in the standings.  I predicted a year ago that the computer would win
 against the LOA top after seeing the games of Mona, MIA, and Loa2D+.
 After analysing my wins at MSO 1 t/m 3 and the server i came to the
 conclusion that the level was not that great.  I was simply the
 least worse at the time!

 My own results at the server now are modest.  I tend to play quick
 because i play a lot of games (also Hexdame, Draughts, Gipf, Twixt,
 Zertz, Chex etc etc).  But the level of the humans has been increased
 significantly the last 4 years.  This makes the achieved level of
 play (in only a few years) of the computers even better.

 I even think that Loa can be "cracked" (although Mark Winands of MIA
 disagree) It will take less than 10 years......


 Darse:  Certainly there are no "grandmaster" LoA players -- it just
 hasn't been around long enough or played by enough people to acquire
 that kind of knowledge base.  Several strong players have commented
 that Jorge Arrausi and Kerry Handscomb really are a cut above the
 level that anyone had attained before that.  I'm sure they will
 continue to improve, and others will take the game to new heights.
 I hope that the games of YL and Mona can contribute to everyone's
 development.

 By the way, Mona is less than one year old, and I haven't made any
 significant changes since the first three months of development.
 Granted Yngvi and I both spent a lot of time on our programs during
 that three months.  We also exchanged many ideas, which helped make
 progress much faster than would be normal.

 I think solving the game is very unlikely in the near future.  The
 problem is probably much too big.  5x5 is a mate in 11-ply, and 6x6
 *might* be solvable, but even that is not so clear.  To solve 8x8,
 it would have to be a win for the first player (which is likely),
 and there would have to be many forcing lines, like in Go-Moku.  In
 my opinion, the defensive possibilities are much too rich in LoA to
 make the vast search domain tractable.

 On the other hand, programs aren't going to get any weaker, so they
 might stay ahead of all humans, even if we do produce a few players
 of "grandmaster" strength.  I just hope the game becomes that popular!

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . B B B B B B . |        8 | . B B B B B B . |
    7 | W . . . . W . W |        7 | W . . . W W . . |
    6 | W . . . . . . W |        6 | W . . . . . . W |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | W B . . . . . W |        4 | W B . . . . . W |
    3 | W . B . . . . W |        3 | W . B . . . . W |
    2 | W . . . . . . W |        2 | W . . . . . . W |
    1 | . B . B . B B . |        1 | . B . B . B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   2. e1-b4 h7-e7

 ply value  best  principle variation (last 4-ply deleted)

 11    +56  h2-f4 f8-c5 a7-d7 e8-e7 h6-g7 d8-b6 f4:b4
 11    +63  h7-e7 d1-b3 a7-d7 b3:f7 h3-e6 b8-b5 a3:c3
 13    +73  h7-e7 d1-b3 a7-d7 b3:f7 h2-f4 f8:f4 h3:f1 g1-g3 h6:f4

 A note on Mona's minimax scores:

 There is a significant odd-even effect, so odd-ply values are likely
 optimistic (at least 50 points too high, so +50 should be interpreted
 as an equal position).  A score of about +150 usually indicates a
 small advantage, and +300 a clear advantage.

 Mona indicates a mate threat with a +2000 bonus, so a score of +4150
 indicates a small positional advantage and a double threat to connect.
 Only certain types of mate threats are detected statically, so there
 could be more in a given position.  Mona reserves 0 (zero) for a draw
 and +32000 for a win.

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . B . B B B B . |        8 | . B . B B B B . |
    7 | W . . . W W . . |        7 | W . . . W W . . |
    6 | W . B . . . . W |        6 | W . B . . . . W |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | W B . . . . . W |        4 | . B . . . . . W |
    3 | W . B . . . . W |        3 | W . B . . . . W |
    2 | W . . . . . . W |        2 | W . W . . . . W |
    1 | . B . B . B B . |        1 | . B . B . B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   3. c8-c6 a4-c2

 11   +105  a4-c2 b8-b5 h2-e2 d1-d3 a7-d7 g1-g3 a2-d5
 13   +100  a4-c2 d8-b6 a3-b2 g1-d4 h6-d6 f1-c1 f7-c4 b8-b3 h2-d2

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . B . B B B . . |        8 | . B . B B B . . |
    7 | W . . . W W . . |        7 | W . . . W W . . |
    6 | W . B . . . B W |        6 | . . B . . . B W |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . B . . . . . W |        4 | . B W . . . . W |
    3 | W . B . . . . W |        3 | W . B . . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . W |        2 | W . W . . . . W |
    1 | . B . B . B B . |        1 | . B . B . B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   4. g8-g6 a6-c4

 13    +99  a2-d2 d1-e2 h2-f4 b8-b5 a7-d7 d8-b6 a5-a8 g1-e3 a8:c6
 13   +106  a7-d7 b8-b5 a2-c4 g1-g3 h2-f2 f8:h6 a5-c7 g6-g4 c4:g4
 13   +111  a6-c4 g1-e3 a2-d2 d1-e2 h6:e3 f1:c4 a7-d7 b8-d6 h3-d3

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . . B B B . . |        8 | . . . B B B . . |
    7 | W . . . W W . . |        7 | . . . W W W . . |
    6 | . . B B . . B W |        6 | . . B B . . B W |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . B W . . . . W |        4 | . B W . . . . W |
    3 | W . B . . . . W |        3 | W . B . . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . W |        2 | W . W . . . . W |
    1 | . B . B . B B . |        1 | . B . B . B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   5. b8-d6 a7-d7

 11   +126  a7-d7 b1-b3 h2-f4 b3-b5 h3:f1 d6:f4 h6:f4
 13   +114  a7-d7 b1-b3 h2-f4 d1-d5 f4:b4 g6-g4 d7:g4 g1-g3 a5-c5

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . . B B B . . |        8 | . . . B B B . . |
    7 | . . . W W W . . |        7 | . . . W W W . . |
    6 | . . B B . . B W |        6 | . . B B . . B W |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . B W . . . . W |        4 | . B W . . W . W |
    3 | W B B . . . . W |        3 | W B B . . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . W |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . B . B B . |        1 | . . . B . B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   6. b1-b3 h2-f4

 11   +114  h2-f4 d1-d5 f4:b4 g6-g4 d7:g4 g1-g3 a5-c5
 13   +132  h2-f4 d1-d5 f4:b4 g1-g3 h6-g5 d5:g5 a5-c5 f1-d3 c5-d4

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . . B B . . . |        8 | . . . B B . . . |
    7 | . . . W W W . . |        7 | . . . W W W . . |
    6 | . . B B . . B B |        6 | . . B B . . B B |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . B W . . W . W |        4 | . W W . . . . W |
    3 | W B B . . . . W |        3 | W B B . . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . B . B B . |        1 | . . . B . B B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   7. f8:h6 f4:b4

 11   +156  f4:b4 d1-e2 a5-b5 g6-g4 a2-d2 c3-d4 h3:h6
 13   +153  f4:b4 d1-e2 a3-a6 g6-g4 a6:e2 g4:c4 a2-d2 c6-d5 f7-f5

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . . B B . . . |        8 | . . . B B . . . |
    7 | . . . W W W . . |        7 | . . . W W . . . |
    6 | . . B B . . B B |        6 | . . B B . . B B |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . W W . . . . W |        4 | . W W . . . . W |
    3 | W B B B . . . W |        3 | W W B B . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . B . . B . |        1 | . . . B . . B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   8. f1-d3 f7:b3

 11   +219  f7:b3 d1-f1 h3:f1 g6-g4 h4:h6 d3:d7 f1-d3
 13   +238  f7:b3 g6-g4 d7:g4 h6-g7 h4-d4 e8-g8 g4-e6 g7:d4 e7-e5
 15   +240  f7:b3 e8-g8 a2-e6 g1-g4 h4-g3 d8-b6 e7-c7 h6-h4 g3:d6 d1-f3 c7-e5

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . . B B . . . |        8 | . . . B B . . . |
    7 | . . . W W . . . |        7 | . . . W . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . B . . . . |        5 | W . . B W . . . |
    4 | . W W . . . . W |        4 | . W W . . . . W |
    3 | W W B B . . . W |        3 | W W B B . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . B . . B . |        1 | . . . B . . B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

   9. c6-d5 e7-e5

 13   +321  h4-e4 g1-g3 b3-b5 d1:d7 a2:d5 g6-g4 b4-b6 h6-h4 a3:d6
 13   +354  e7-e5 g6-g4 a5:d5 h6-g5 a2-e6 c3:e5 h3:d3 g5:d5 h4-h5
 15   +384  e7-e5 g6-g4 a5:d5 h6-g5 e5:c3 d8-f8 h4-g3 d1-f3 d7:g4 f3:d5 g4-d4

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . . B B . . . |        8 | . . . B B . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . B W . . . |        5 | W . . B W . . . |
    4 | . W W . . . . W |        4 | . W W . W . . . |
    3 | W W B B . . . W |        3 | W W B B . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . . . . B . |        1 | . . . . . . B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  10. d1:d7 h4-e4

 11  +2481  a5:d5 g6-g4 h4-f6 g1-f1 h3:f1 e8-c8 c2-e2
 11  +2552  h4-e4 e8-c8 e5:c3 d5-f5 c3-d4 g1-g3 h3-g2
 13 +32000  h4-e4 e8-c8 e5:c3 d5-f5 c3-d4 g1-g3 h3-g2 g3-f2 e4-e3

 Darse:  This seems like a natural move for Black, but Mona discovers that
 White can connect a little faster.  Some of the main lines are:

 e8:e5 h3-g2 d5-g5 g2-d2 h6-e6 a5-d5++
 g1-f1 b3-b1 c3:e5 h3-e3 f1:c4 e3-d4 c4-f7 a3-c3++
 g1-f1 b3-b1 c3-g3 h3-f5 f1:c4 e5-d4 g3-e5 c2:c4++
 g1-f1 b3-b1 c3-g3 h3-f5 d3:a3 a2:d5 e8:e5 b1-b3++
 h6-e6 h3-g2 g1-h1 a5:d5 h1-h2 g2-g4 h2:e5 b4-f4++
 h6-g5 e5:c3 d7-d2 a5:d5 g1-g4 h3-h2 d2-f4 h2-e2 e8-e5 e2:e5++
 h6-g5 e5:c3 d6-e5 a3-a6 g6-g3 h3-g2 e8-c6 g2-d2 d7:d2 a6:d3++
 d7-f5 e5:c3 d6-e5 h3:f5 h6-f6 f5-f3 e5-b5 c2-e2 e8-e5 a5-d2++
 d7-b5 h3-g2 g1-h1 e4-e1 d6-b8 g2-d2 b8:b4 e5:c3 d8-b6 c2-a4++

 e8-c8 e5:c3 g1-g3 h3-g2 d7-c6 g2-d2 h6-f4 c3-d4++
 e8-c8 e5:c3 g1-g3 h3-g2 c8:c4 a5-c5 d7-c6 g2-d2 h6-f4 c3-d4++
 e8-c8 e5:c3 c8:c4 c3-d4 g1-g3 h3-f5 g3-c3 a5:d5 h6-e6 d4-c5++
 e8-c8 e5:c3 d5-f5 c3-d4 g1-g3 h3-g2 g3-f2 e4-e3 f5-f3 a2-e2 h6-e6 g2-f1++


 Fred:  Yes i was aiming for a race to connect because it seems the
 only chance.  The analysis is quite convincing.  From a science view
 the game is over.

 You have programmed Mona well.  Are you developing the Loa program
 any further or are you developing other (connection) games as well?

 I intend to go to MSO 5 and play Loa, Zertz and Hexdame and maybe
 others. Perhaps Mona will accept a 5 min. Loa game?


 Darse:  I'm trying to move away from LoA, but it seems to keep
 dragging me back.  My thesis is on imperfect information games, so
 this isn't related -- I'm just doing it for fun.  I have no plans
 for other connection games, but the GAMES group is always adding new
 projects, particularly if there is a student who wants to work on it.

 Mona would be happy to play some speed games with you, if we're in
 London.  But beware: she isn't nearly as kind in fast games!  :-)

  11. Resigns


  Remaining moves of the principle variation:

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . B B . . . . |        8 | . . B B . . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . B W . . . |        5 | W . . B . . . . |
    4 | . W W . W . . . |        4 | . W W . W . . . |
    3 | W W B B . . . W |        3 | W W W B . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . . . . B . |        1 | . . . . . . B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  11. e8-c8 e5:c3

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . B B . . . . |        8 | . . B B . . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . . . B . . |        5 | W . . . . B . . |
    4 | . W W . W . . . |        4 | . W W W W . . . |
    3 | W W W B . . . W |        3 | W W . B . . . W |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . . . |
    1 | . . . . . . B . |        1 | . . . . . . B . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  12. d5-f5 c3-d4

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . B B . . . . |        8 | . . B B . . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . . . B . . |        5 | W . . . . B . . |
    4 | . W W W W . . . |        4 | . W W W W . . . |
    3 | W W . B . . B W |        3 | W W . B . . B . |
    2 | W . W . . . . . |        2 | W . W . . . W . |
    1 | . . . . . . . . |        1 | . . . . . . . . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  13. g1-g3 h3-g2

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . B B . . . . |        8 | . . B B . . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . . . B . . |        5 | W . . . . B . . |
    4 | . W W W W . . . |        4 | . W W W . . . . |
    3 | W W . B . . . . |        3 | W W . B W . . . |
    2 | W . W . . B W . |        2 | W . W . . B W . |
    1 | . . . . . . . . |        1 | . . . . . . . . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  14. g3-f2 e4-e3

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . B B . . . . |        8 | . . B B . . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B . . B B |        6 | . . . B . . B B |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . W W W . . . . |        4 | . W W W . . . . |
    3 | W W . B W B . . |        3 | W W . B W B . . |
    2 | W . W . . B W . |        2 | . . W . W B W . |
    1 | . . . . . . . . |        1 | . . . . . . . . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  15. f5-f3 a2-e2

      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
    8 | . . B B . . . . |        8 | . . B B . . . . |
    7 | . . . B . . . . |        7 | . . . B . . . . |
    6 | . . . B B . B . |        6 | . . . B B . B . |
    5 | W . . . . . . . |        5 | W . . . . . . . |
    4 | . W W W . . . . |        4 | . W W W . . . . |
    3 | W W . B W B . . |        3 | W W . B W B . . |
    2 | . . W . W B W . |        2 | . . W . W B . . |
    1 | . . . . . . . . |        1 | . . . . . W . . |
      +-----------------+          +-----------------+
        a b c d e f g h	             a b c d e f g h  

  16. h6-e6 g2-f1++