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                    B A R O N

                   Version FRC 1.3.0

Baron is a spare-time project which was intended to have
superb end-game playing capabilities. This will be the
target for development in the long term. 

My present focus is on Baron's  playing skills, the end-user 
interface  and the engine configuration possibilities.

Current mechanisms used include:
- Support for endgame tablebases (Nalimov)
- Positions learning
- Transposition Hashtables
- Static Evaluation Hashtable
- Double Nullmove pruning
- Fractional extensions, including check, threat, single reply,
  recapture and pawn push extensions
- Internal Iterative Deepening
- Killer and history heuristics
- Negascout with aspiration search
- Bitboards
- Opening book (standard chess only)
- Fischer Random Chess

                     F I L E S

Files included in the distribution:

readme.txt	- This file
frcbaron.exe	- Winboard executable
baron.ini	- Configuration file for the winboard executable
changes.txt	- A log of changes in this and previous versions

Only frcbaron.exe is required to run the Baron. Having baron.ini around 
is recommended and even required, such as when using endgame tablebases 
specifying hash table size etc.

             C O N F I G U R A T I O N
On startup, the Baron will read its configuration file from the current
directory. By default this file is called 'baron.ini' but by specifying a
parameter to the Baron on the command-line another configuration file can be
selected, e.g. 'baron no-egtb' will use the configuration file 'no-egtb.ini'.

This file may contain a number of commands:

hash <level>
        Sets the maximum size of the transposition hash tables in kilobytes.
        The actual size of the hashtable may be smaller as it can only be set
	in steps.

shash <level>
        Sets the maximum size of the static evaluation hash tables in kilobytes.
        The actual size of the hashtable may be smaller as it can only be set
	in steps.

tbpath <path>
        Sets the path for the Nalimov endgame tablebases to <path>.

cache <size>
	Sets the size of the Nalimov endgame tablebases to <size> kilobytes

level <a> <b> <c>
        Sets the default time control.

resign <resignscore>
        Sets the score threshold for resigning. The score should be below the
        resignscore for 4 times in a row. Then the Baron resigns.
        Only negative scores are accepted. 0 or positive scores will turn off
        resigning. Default is -900.

log <on/off>
        Turns logging on or off. Default is on.

logmode <append/overwrite>
        Add information to the existing log file or overwrite it. Default
        is overwrite

patzer <on/off>
        Weakens the Baron's strength. Default 'off'.

variant <frc/standard>
        Specifies the variant to play when the command 'new' is received.
        This is only necessary when the GUI used does not send the command
        'variant fischerandom' when starting an FRC game.
        Default is 'standard' (as defined in the winboard protocol specification)

bookfile <path\filename>
	Specifies the bookfiles to use. Note, the last part (W.obp and B.obp)
        should be left off. The default name is 'baron'. The opening book that
        is used by the Baron is divided over two files: One book contains the 
        moves for white, and one that contains the moves for black.
        The book is only used in standard chess

learning <level>
        Sets the learning behaviour:
        0: no learning
        1: only uses previously learned positions
        2: learns, but does not use learned positions
        3: learns, and uses learned positions

learnfile <path\filename>
	Specifies the learnfiles to use. Note, the last part (.wlp and .blp)
        should be left off. The default name is the same as the name of the
        program (without .exe).

addlrnfile <path\filename>
        Specifies an additional learnfile to import. Note, the last part
        (.wlp and .blp) should be left off.

end     Marks the end of the configuration file.
The following parameters should only be set by experienced users:

iidmindepth <ply>
        The minimal remaining depth where Internal Iterative Deepening is used
etcmindepth <ply>
        The minimal remaining depth where Enhanced Transposition Cutoffs based
        moveordering is tried
etccutratio <number>
        The extent in which ETC based moveordering is used.
        0:    never ETC based moveordering
        1000: always ETC based moveordering
        All integer values are accepted.
scoutthreshold <number>
        The minimumsize of the window for which a scout will be performed before
        a search with the full window is done
acceptoldlrn <on/off>
        Specifies whether the version of learning files should be checked.
        When off (default) old learning files are not imported. This option
        only works for learnfiles that are specified after this option in the .ini
        NOTE: This should be used with care are playing strength may degrade
        ----  when used.
                   C O M M A N D S
The following commands can be given to Baron on the console:

bench <level>
	runs the built-in benchmark. 
        8 positions are searched on a standard searchdepth and
        the total searchtime and nodes per second are reported.
        level=0 is the shortest bench and takes about 30 seconds 
        on an AMD K6-2 500Mhz. A higher level adds a number of
        plies to the standard depth search.

	sets black to move in the current position

	exits the program

	displays the board

	disables pondering

	computer stops playing

	switches to Xboard mode with Fritz/Chessbase extensions

	computer plays for the side to move

	enables pondering

hash <size>
	sets the maximum transposition hashtable size 
        in kilobytes
        Not all sizes are possible as the number of
        hashtable entries has to be a power of 2. The
        actual size will be the largest possible that
        is smaller than the size mentioned
	The minimum hashtable size is 256 kilobytes.

	shows a hint

level <moves> <time> <inc>
	sets time controls

	starts a new game

	disables printing the principal variations

	computer stops playing

	computer plays for the side to move

	human players time control (not supported)

	shows the principal variation

	exits the program

	takes back a complete move

	resets/empties hashtables

sd <depth>
	searches <depth> ply per move

setboard <fen>
	sets the position

shash <level>
	sets the maximum evaluation hashtable size in kilobytes.
        Not all sizes are possible as the number of
        hashtable entries has to be a power of 2. The
        actual size will be the largest possible that
        is smaller than the size mentioned
        The size of the hashtable doubles with each higer level

st <time>
	searches for <time> seconds per move

test <time> <filename>
	executes a testsuite. As an example the Win At Chess suite is included
        in the distribution

time <centiseconds>
	sets the clock

	takes back a move

	sets white to move in the current position

	switches to XBoard mode

Moves can be entered in coordinate notation only, e.g., e2e4, e7e8Q

         W I N B O A R D   P R O T O C O L   S U P P O R T
The Baron supports all commands of the winboard protocol version 1 and 2.

                C H E S S B A S E   S U P P O R T
The Chessbase implementation is based on winboard protocol version 1. 
All Chessbase extensions have been implemented.

The use of the native Baron book is not possible when using a Chessbase GUI. Choose a 
book from the Chessbase interface instead. The Baron book is not available in the Chessbase

             F I S C H E R   R A N D O M   C H E S S

As far as I know the only GUI that supports Fischer Random Chess is Arena (
The Baron is only tested for FRC in combination with Arena. Other GUI's may not work as the Arena specific
winboard extensions for FRC are used (castling notation).

                 A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S
I used  ideas already implemented in other chess programs when writing my own chess 
engine. The starting point was one of the smallest chess programs around: Tom's Simple 
Chess Program version 1.73.
I would like to thank Tom Kerrigan for making the source of the program available.
Although all of Tom's original code has gone now, it gave me the opportunity
to quickly build a working program.

Colin Frayn and Dann Corbit have the ideal strong chess-playing program with 
easily undestood source code in their Beowulf project. I must say I got some very useful 
ideas from their program, especially concerning bitboards. I very much appreciate their 

I've been using Robert Hyatt's program Crafty for a long time for chess analysis 
and I've been impressed with the ...
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