My interest in Go started when I read about Crazy Stone defeating Yoda Norimoto in a four-stone handicap game. With the advent of AlphaGo, the race for the first artificial intelligence to defeat a top professional player ended. However, the race for the strongest, if not the perfect Go player, which humans and AIs aspire, is still ongoing. Since we humans are still fighting for Go dominance, we might as well use our AI counterparts in training.
What is so Crazy about that Stone?
Crazy Stone is the first computer program that use tree search and Monte Carlo algorithm. Its creator, Rémi Coulom (also the man behind Whole-History Rating and goratings.org), called the algorithm Monte Carlo Tree Search a.k.a. MTCS (not so creative but it will do). MTCS was the first leap computer programs needed to reach dan level. However, Google’s AlphaGo took this small step and made a giant leap by using deep learning and neural networks. It defeated Lee Sedol 4-1 last March. AlphaGo became the first AI to defeat a top professional player.
Crazy Stone, meanwhile, will not stop improving and aim to be the very best AI in Go. Crazy Stone Deep Learning will be available soon in the market.
How can one go Crazy Stone?
You can get Crazy Stone in different commercial versions. For those who have cash and prefer to play on the PC, the Windows version of Crazy Stone 2013 is on a 50% sale as of writing. However, you may want to hold on to your money and wait for the upcoming Crazy Stone Deep Learning. For those on the go and prefers to play on their mobile devices, Crazy Stone is available as Champion Go for iPhone, Champion Go HD for iPad, and Champion Go for Android. I own the Android version. It cost me around US$ 4. Be forewarned though, the mobile versions are weaker than the PC version. However, the mobile versions allow you to play with the Go Engine Server version (the program that was able to defeat the professionals in handicap games and currently 7D in KGS) for a fee of US$ 2.49 per month (stable internet connection is required).
Crazy Stone Gain Me Stones
My favourite feature of Crazy Stone’s Android version is the Medal Challenge mode. A player can choose the strength of Crazy Stone (level 1 to 10), the colour, and the handicap. The idea is to start at level 1 as Black with a nine-stone handicap then move up the Medal Challenge as you win. However, if you are fine losing against a strong player and would rather learn from loses in a fair game, then I suggest you just play the Normal mode against the highest level (you will get a random colour).
A bit of caution for beginners: Crazy Stone plays fast. I have not seen it take longer than five seconds to play its next move. Usually, when I play with Crazy Stone, I do not notice that I am playing as fast as it does until it is too late. For beginners, I think developing a rhythm (spending time to look at the whole board, reading out possible variations and fights, and finding the best move) is very important. One can get out of this rhythm due to Crazy Stone’s very fast play. I suggest using the time as long as possible. Players can set their byoyomi for 10, 20, 30, or 60 seconds. Do not let Crazy Stone dictate the game’s pace. Use all the byoyomi as much as possible when thinking. If anything else, I think Crazy Stone can teach you to play at your own rhythm.