A Novel Approach to Solving Goal-Achieving Problems for Board Games

Chung Chin Shih, Ti Rong Wu, Ting Han Wei, I. Chen Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Goal-achieving problems are puzzles that set up a specific situation with a clear objective. An example that is wellstudied is the category of life-and-death (L&D) problems for Go, which helps players hone their skill of identifying region safety. Many previous methods like lambda search try null moves first, then derive so-called relevance zones (RZs), outside of which the opponent does not need to search. This paper first proposes a novel RZ-based approach, called the RZBased Search (RZS), to solving L&D problems for Go. RZS tries moves before determining whether they are null moves post-hoc. This means we do not need to rely on null move heuristics, resulting in a more elegant algorithm, so that it can also be seamlessly incorporated into AlphaZero's superhuman level play in our solver. To repurpose AlphaZero for solving, we also propose a new training method called Faster to Life (FTL), which modifies AlphaZero to entice it to win more quickly. We use RZS and FTL to solve L&D problems on Go, namely solving 68 among 106 problems from a professional L&D book while a previous state-of-the-art program TSUMEGO-EXPLORER solves 11 only. Finally, we discuss that the approach is generic in the sense that RZS is applicable to solving many other goal-achieving problems for board games.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAAI-22 Technical Tracks 9
PublisherAssociation for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)1577358767, 9781577358763
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2022
Event36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 22 Feb 20221 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2022


Conference36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2022
CityVirtual, Online

Cite this