Monday, January 24, 2011

Including binary chess endgame tables into ice executable

In order the include basic functionality into the new c++ based ice chess engine I moved to basic endgame play. Basic endgame means that the engine should understand when a 3 man endgame is a draw, when it is a win and how to play it correctly. The most accurate way is to make endgame tables for KPK, KRK and KQK available to the engine.

From my former work with endgame table for the old mace engine I calculated all those tables and it was time to use them for ice also.

Because this knowledge is so essential and the engine relies on having it available I decided to include the tables into the binary executable and not to distribute them as separate files along with the engine.

To do that I added a function to my table base generator that generates c++ header files that include the contents of the table.The generated file looked like this.

#ifndef KPK
#define KPK

| Chess Endgame Table Base Data for Endgame Type : KPK        |
| created by table base creator 1.0                           |
| (c) by Thomas Petzke                                        |
| 23.01.2011 18:18                                            |

const int KPK_TBL_SIZE = 79865;
const short KPK_TBL[KPK_TBL_SIZE] = {

I estimated that the executable growths by a few 100k in size when this tables are included. To my surprise the gnu c compiler added almost 2MB to the size of the executable, so much more than necessary for the raw data. Obviously he aligns the array content for faster access so each element takes 8 bytes (instead of the 2 bytes of a short).

As speed is not really a problem here, the array is read only once when the program initializes, so when this takes a few ms longer no one cares, I tried to shrink the size of the executable.

I packed 4 shorts into an 64bit integer, but the size remained the same. Also using pre processor directives did not help. So I minimized the array size by not including illegal positions and easy to recognize draws in it. This helped a bit but the executable is still larger than it should be.

As it is more a cosmetic problem I decided to live with it for the moment. At least it works correctly :-)

White moves and mates in 23 

iCE 0.1 build 511 [2011.1.24]
position fen 8/8/8/8/8/6k1/4P3/2K5 w - - 0 1
go depth 1
info depth 1 seldepth 0 time 0 nodes 7 pv c1c2  nps 6999 score mate 23 hashfull 0 tbhits 7
bestmove c1c2