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Cake++ Computer Checkers Program – A Checkers Computer Program

Cake++ is by most accounts one of the most powerful checkers engines for the PC platform around. It presents quite a formidable challenge for any human player, which makes it a bit frustrating to play against. Nevertheless Cake++ is a great tool for checkers game analysis. The latest version of the checkers engine is Cake 1.8, which while introducing some improvements over the previous version–which is Cake Manchester–leaves the checkers engine virtually unchanged.

Advantages of Cake++

One of the main advantages of Cake++ over other checkers engines is that it uses an endgame database, giving it perfect knowledge of the value of any endgame with a few pieces. In this case, this means any number from 4 to 8, depending on whether the larger endgame databases are built or downloaded. Cake++ also uses a self-generated opening book, which has a default of 93000 moves. This can even be expanded into almost 2 million moves–which are a lot more than all human opening theory–by downloading the opening book.

Cake++makes use of a number of highly sophisticated algorithms to choose its next move between the opening and the endgame, which it does by searching through 2 million positions per second. The current incarnation of Cake++ checkers program is a lot more powerful than the renowned Chinook program at the time of the latter’s world championship matches played against Marion Tinsley. It must be said though that a lot of this advantage is due mostly to the significant increase in computer processing speed over the past several years.

Developers of Cake++

While all of the code used in Cake++ is original, the program owes its development to a lot of other people. The efforts of Jonathan Schaeffer to produce Chinook was particularly instrumental in the development of the program, and its endgame database was used by Cake++’s developer for a long time before a dedicated endgame database was computed for it. Nelson Castillo’s Dama program also provided some much needed incentive to develop Cake++. In fact, when Castillo stopped programming checkers programs, Cake++’s author felt no further need to improve on the program, until the development of Kings Row by Ed Gilbert.

Some of the other people who contributed in some way to the development of Cake++ checkers program were Thomas Lincke, who computed the first opening book for Cake++ and introduced the author to drop-out-expansion, George Miller who supplied the author with a copy of the Encyclopedia of Checkers, and George Miller, Mac Banks and Gerry Lopez, who were all instrumental in the holding of the Las Vegas computer world championship.

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