by Douglas Zare
1 April 2013
Since the late 1980s or early 1990s, computers have been strong in backgammon and chess, far better than most competitive people. At that time, computer go programs were extremely weak, and could be beaten by typical club players. In the last few years, computer go programs have finally become strong. A critical part of the improvements has been using backgammon ideas! I don't know whether there was any direct connection with backgammon, but go programs have improved by approaching go as though it were a game of skill and chance, including rolling out positions.
The game of go is typically played on a 19x19 grid, although smaller boards are still quite complicated and provide a faster option. Players alternate placing stones of their color onto the board. The goal is to make the most points through controlling territory and capturing your opponents' stones.
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