03/01/12: BGBlitz AI is available for iPhone and Android! Bitmap of Backgammon Gold There has been requests to port BGBlitz2go to iPhone/iPad or Android all the time. Due to a lack of time we always had to deny. But finally I extracted the Artificial Intelligence of BGBlitz and made it available as plugin.
The first company integrating the BGBlitz plugin is Mobivention . From now on you can get
Backgammon Gold for iPhone/iPad Bitmap of Appstore and Android Bitmap of Appstore to play against BGBlitz's strong AI. (Attention: the AI is only included in the paid version)

05/24/11: BGBlitz 2.7.3 is available: The fix of the fix :( One critical error slipped through, therefore a new release. Sorry bout that.

  • when the tutor was turned off, BGBlitz did freeze

Many thanks to all helping with that error.

05/21/11: BGBlitz 2.7.2 is available: I am working on some time consuming things, therefore I publish just a bug fix release now.

  • when TachiAI III was used, the level of play was always Expert, independent of the selected playing strength. What a pain for casual players this must have been. Sorry!
  • under heavy load the wrong dice could be displayed. Fortunately this was rare.
  • a memory leak was plugged
  • some erroneous Tutor hints were removed
  • a deadlock could happen pressing ^G if ^F was already pressed
and some small improvements
  • at the first roll, one dice is shown on the left and one on the right side of the board
  • BGBmips support for 3, 6 and 12 CPUs
  • improved visibility of numbers on white checkers
  • better detection of usable screen area on Linux
  • drag & drop support for position database files

For Windows users: please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Achim Hoff, Alain Redlinger, Dahn Tamir, David Ayton, Dennis Wolfe, John Wiltshire, Kenneth Loafman, Luc Pauws, Maurice Kemman, Michael Schade, Philip Cherrington, Philip Thomas, Thomas Hipschman, Rick Matthes, Tom McShane and to all of the people who have provided error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

10/04/10: BGBlitz 2.7.0 is available: A pretty long time since the last release. There have been a lot of things that were more difficult than expected, things that were promising but didn't help and so on. And although there are not all things included that I wanted to implement in this release, the list of changes is the longest of all releases so far. Small stuff, larger stuff and nice things. The list of improvements is too long, even for this page, therefore I omit the minor ones.

  • the checker movement looks more smoothly now
  • support for the new Look and Feel "Nimbus" on Windows and Linux
  • new themes elSpaans 1001 Tawlas (elSpaan) and Feltastic (Sam Rich)
  • The dice rolls are animated
  • visual feedback for used dice (not available for all themes)
  • the doubling dialog shows an image of the current cube value
  • small screen sizes are handled better better, especially on Linux and netbooks
  • When you use manual dice, you can now enter the dice with the keyboard
  • there is a shortcut for doubling (^d)
  • the font size is adjustable in case your visual ability is reduced
  • the status bar shows the EPC (equivalent pip count) instead of the Thorpe Count
  • if you want to train calculating pips, there is a new toolbar button, that can be used to switch on/off the display of the pip count and shows the value of the pip count in the tooltip
  • in the best moves dialog you can select to shown up to 50 moves and this dialog and the evaluation dialog always shows cubeful equities
  • in the edit position dialogs you can also enter the combined position/matchID and the XGID. Further you can copy and paste either the combined position/matchID and the XGID or drag and drop those IDs on the board to get an evaluation (if no game is running). In all exports (ASCII, HTML) the XGID is given too.
  • the only small thing in the AI that has been changed in this version is a better cube liveness heuristic in end game situations
  • for casual players the level of game play for lower strength settings was reduced and made sure they can't accidentally use a higher search depth. Would be great if I have some guinea pigs to check whether those settings are o.k. for beginners.
  • do you know the feeling: "Why I get always the worst roll?" There is a new dialog, that shows you how good each roll of dice would have been ("Game/Distribution of rolls")
  • now you can install BGBlitz on an USB-stick (Just copy it on the stick and add a folder .bgblitz in the bgblitz directory)
  • there is a new command line interface. It allows evaluation of positions and might be extended in the future if you have some ideas how to use it. You can use the programming language Groovy to write your programs
  • Support for Snake is included (a Backgammon variation with a different starting position)
  • you can read/import/convert "sgf"-files
  • a Czech translation
  • I invested a lot of work to make BGBlitz faster. Tuning with modern Java implementations and the newest CPUs with Turboboost is a nightmare because it is very hard to measure what is an improvement and what is noise. Nevertheless I succeeded making BGBlitz faster. The improvement depends heavily on the operating system (32 or 64-Bit), the Java-version and your CPU. The speedup is between 15% to 70% (64-Bit, Core i7 or Atom). This new stuff does some things that might not work on all computers, and even crash BGBlitz in rare cases therefore you could disable this speedup with "Setup/Miscellaneous Setting/No Unsecure Speedup". If problems occur, please drop me an email. If the new code is disabled, BGBlitz runs rock-solid as usual, only a little bit slower.
  • some improvements for the network play, so it works better with multi homed computers and routers
  • Close to 50 further improvements and fixes....

In case of a fresh installation before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb (only for versions older than 2.6.0)
For Windows users: please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Alberto Mari, Carsten Muencheberg, Cyrille Legault, Dead Nancy, Detlef Perkams, ElSpaan, Eric Nijman, Frank Rogers, Gert Ereth, Herbert Jeske, Jan Vodolan, Jeroen Jansen, Julian Wilson, Kenneth Parker, Keroen Jansen, Luc Pauws, Marc van Rey, Michael Depreli, Myshkin Levine, Negheoneghu, Pascal Kalek, Peter Hübel, Rainer Roth, Richard Halvorsen, Rob Adams, Rudolf Aigner, Sam Rich, Tim Boyd-Wilson, Timothy Chow, Tom McShane, Tony Lewis, Wibson, Wolfgang Vinmans, Zorba and to all of the people who have provided error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

06/15/09: A new Theme by Dead Nancy: "Typical Wood" elegant and unobtrusive

10/26/08: BGBlitz 2.6.2 is a bug fix release:

  • Drag&Drop support was broken in 2.6.0
  • An error in the match database introduced in 2.6.0 is fixed. Additionally BGBlitz recognizes the broken databases and repairs them at the start.
  • some bugs in the presentation of the rollout results were fixed, especially ASCII and HTML export.
  • I reduced the playing strength of the weaker levels. There was feedback that they are still far to strong for casual players. One user told me that an analyse he made says that even "Beginner" is still at world class level. Surely not what I intended.
  • some smaller bugfixes

You may wish to install freshly or install this patch bgblitz.jar (1.7 MB). The patch is only suited for version 2.6.0. Just replace the file in the "system" directory/folder of the BGBlitz installation. If BGBlitz shows Version 2.6.2 the update was successful.

In case of a fresh installation before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb (only for versions older than 2.6.0)
For Windows users: please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Jeroen Jansen, Kristian Bak-Jensen Linc Davis, Michael Darooge, Rob Adams, and to all of the people who have provided error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

09/21/08: BGBlitz 2.6.0 is available: What's new? In increasing importance, so the tension raises ;))

  • Some small errors are fixed. Especially an annoying one in the ".gam"-parser. Changing the Look and Feel works without having to restart and a bug in the Position-ID was fixed too. Some other small issues are also fixed.
  • At several points the match parsers are more tolerant now, and a couple of usability improvements has been implemented. There is a new control that Mac OS X users probably recognize immediately. When you press the button
    Bitmap of Action Button
    a popup menu with the possible action pops up.
    Bitmap of Action Button with Popup

  • The match database feature has been reworked completely. Now there is a real database with transaction handling included (www.h2database.com), giving safety for large databases. No more possible damage by a power outage. The user interface is much easier to use and more attractive. I decided that it is more convenient to have only one database, which is always there, than to handle several of them. Especially for future enhancements like user statistics etc. Don't be afraid, your old databases can be imported, either by a menu entry or by drag and drop.
  • I vastly improved the rollouts. Rollouts where the the dice are rolled already, are now easier to perform, you can start rolloust from the "evaluate", the "best moves", the "replay" and "position display" dialog boxes. You can enter default settings for your rollouts and you can enter batch rollouts given only the match and position ids. Just for cubeful rollouts the threshold value remains. It was on the list for this release, but I realized that there are some places where I would like to make changes but this would delay the release for 4-6 weeks. I decided to forego further delay because of the remaining feature:
  • It took months and several approaches until I was successful in creating a stronger AI. With 1-ply it wins against the old net about 1.1 points in 100 cubeless games. That's pretty nice! That value was calculated by an 8 million games benchmark against the old version, so the amount of additional strength is reliable. I'm curios to get feedback on this AI. Please make sure you select it (TachiAI III) as BGBlitz otherwise keeps your old settings..

Many thanks to Christian Schmidt, David Alexander, Dean Gay, Grant Hoffman, James Lowe, Jeroen Jansen, Joerg Picard, Klaus Evers, Linc Davis, Martin Hoffmann, Mochy, Peter Grotrian, Ralph Wagner, Rudolf Aigner, Steven Shapiro and to all of the people who have provided error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

04/19/08: BGBlitz 2.5.2 is a bug fix release:

  • One serious error has been repaired which broke the rollouts. You may wish to install freshly or install this patch bgblitz.jar (1.6 MB). The patch is only suited for version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1. Just replace the file in the "system" directory/folder of the BGBlitz installation. If BGBlitz shows Version 2.5.2 the update was successful.
  • A bug fixed when editing a position in the position database

Many thanks to Thomas Koch and to all of the people who have provided error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

03/16/08: BGBlitz 2.5.1 is a bug fix release with some small improvements:

  • One serious error and a couple of smaller problems are fixed in this release. You might install freshly or install this patch bgblitz.jar (1.6 MB). The patch is only suited for version 2.5.0. Just replace the file in the "system" directory/folder in the BGBlitz installation. If BGBlitz shows Version 2.5.1 the update was successful.
  • The match information contains more information and is now editable
  • The parser for ".mat" files is more tolerant if there are additional comments
  • If you dislike the checker shadows you can disable them on a per theme basis.

Many thanks to Anthony Dobranski, Bob Lang, Charlie Dick, Herbert Jeske, Jeffrey Kruczynski, Juergen Herrmann, Myshkin LeVine, Rick Mathes, Rudi Aigner and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

02/17/08: BGBlitz 2.5.0 has the following improvements:

  • Both time and effort was put in improving the user experience.
    Finally, finally, finally there is a toolbar ;) I was able to use a lot of icons from the "Crystal" project (many thanks for their fantastic work) and added a few Backgammon specific ones. In the same process I redesigned the status messages so the information is easier to grasp. Further the checkers got a shadow. Although the shadow is not calculated with exact 3D-calculations it makes the board look more realistic. The movement of the checkers is now a slow in, slow out which feels more natural. With several other improvements I think BGBlitz looks much more attractive now!
  • making suggestions
  • When you edit a position, you can now place the checkers with the mouse wheel. The scrolling direction corresponds to the visual representation, so on the upper half you have to scroll down to add a checker and in the lower half you have to scroll up.
  • Imagine you have a couple of positions you want to look at. Isn't it boring to go through the file selector dialog box all the time, even if the directory/folder is remembered? You are right.
    Just drag and drop the pos files on BGBlitz!
    BGBlitz supports now drag and drop for
    • positions to look at to evaluate or see the best moves
    • matches to replay
    • rollouts to view
    • interrupted matches to play on
    • installation of the license file.
    Further suggestions are welcome.
  • Several bugs were also fixed with three serious ones. Depending on the action with automatic moves an inconsistent board could occur and the random numbers for network play were flawed, you were often getting the same dice sequences in several sessions!
  • a couple of minor enhancements.

Before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb
Please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Angelita Li, Anka Andrews, Anthony Minkoff, Charlie Dick, David Wilkins, John Wiltshire, Lewis Keller, Myshkin Levine, Radu-Dan Sabau, Ric Gerace, Rich Murell, Tom McShane, Wilson Jorge and to all people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

10/07/07: BGBlitz 2.4.1 is a bug fix release:

  • Two serious errors are fixed in this release. You might install freshly or install the patch found at. bgblitz.jar (1.6 MB). Just replace the file in the "system" directory/folder in the BGBlitz installation. If BGBlitz shows Version 2.4.1 the update was successful.

In case of a fresh installation before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb
Please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Jerome Thoiron, Joerg Picard, Julian Westerhout Markus Hérven, Patrick Holcombe, Sebastian Soyka, Todd Clayton.

09/29/07: BGBlitz 2.4.0 has the following improvements:

  • The transition to a modern user interface library which started with 2.0 is finally finished and all stuff is rewritten. From now on I can start to exploit the new possibilities. An example of the capabilities of the newer libraries is selectable Look-and-Feels (Windows and Linux only. On Mac OS X the other look-and-feels look too different).
  • The usability has improved (the boards shows the number of checkers when more than 5 checkers are on a point, the rendered boards can now be scaled as well, the editing dialog boxes are easier to use and several minor things).
  • Two new easier playing levels are included, so beginners and casual players don't get frustrated anymore.
  • BGBlitz now has better support for systems with restrictive permissions.
  • With the last release I already questioned how long support for just 4 CPUs is enough. Just a few days later Apple published a 2x4 Mac Pro. Now BGBlitz supports up to 16 CPUs. This will be sufficient for quite some time I guess. ;)
  • The matchparser has improved in several ways and doesn't rely on the file extension anymore.
  • No longer are there different versions for Mac OS X "Panther" and Mac OS X "Tiger" anymore.
  • Parts are translated to Russian language by Oleg Timshin.
  • Three severe bugs are fixed and half a dozen minor ones.
  • A couple of smaller improvements.

Before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb
Please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Charlie Dick, Chris Benham, David E. Wilkins, Dean Gay, Eric Finkelstein, Frank Fejes, Holly Stowe, Joerg Picard, Jürgen Wettig, Kenneth Parker, Linc Davis, Milton Zucker, Miroslaw Golda, Neal Lightfeldt, Oleg Timshin, Rainer Schmid, Ray Mitchell, Rich Murrel, Rob Adams, Rudolf Aigner, Sue de Zeeuw, Tony Florian, Uwe Heilmann, Vernon Johnston and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

06/16/07: BGBlitz 2.2.4 has won the Backgammon event at the 12th Computer Olympiad in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), repeating it's successes from Maastricht 2002 and Graz 2003.

Bitmap of Computer Olympiad 2007

04/02/07: BGBlitz 2.2.4 has the following improvements:

  • A critical error in the tutor has been fixed.
  • When I published the last release I asked whether someone with more than two CPU cores could check how fast BGBlitz runs on such a computer. Michael Wong and Kirk McElhearn sent me their data. On a Mac Pro with two 3 GHz Xeon CPUs (giving 4 cores) BGBlitz evaluates up to 180,000 positions per second, see here:
    bgblitz mips
    The BGBlitz-MIPS dialog box was adapted to support Quad-CPUs. I'm curious when the first computer with 8 cores will be available and when I have to adapt this dialog again. Probably I won't have to wait very long....
  • For money games you can adjust in the "Miscellaneous Settings" whether the money score should be saved at program termination.
  • A few smaller improvements and bug-fixes are included too.

Many thanks to Charlie Dick, Chris Wilson, Daniel Lynch, David E. Wilkins, Ferat Gündogan, John Twelker, Joyce Conklin, Grame Forrest-Brown, Kent Stallard, Kirk McElhearn, Krista Reese, Michael Depreli, Michael Wong, Miroslaw Golda, Rob Adams, Susan Kulakowski, Tom McShane, Vladimir Pervushov, Wolfgang Spall and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

03/27/07: Katsutoshi Seki created a Japanese BGBlitz page where he reviews BGBlitz, describes BGBlitz installation, usage and more information. Domo arrigato Katsutoshi san!!

03/08/07: BGBlitz 2.2.1 has the following improvements:

  • Much time and effort has been invested in making BGBlitz *faster*. Just do a few 3-ply evaluations with version 2.0.1 and with version 2.2.1 to see this speed improvement. Optimising the engine, using the Java server-VM where possible and support of more than one CPU give a speedup up to 6-fold speed on the best conditions and you can expect nearly a doubled speed in the worst case!! On a Core 2 Duo with 2.0 GHz BGBlitz evaluates more than 80,000 Positions per second!! You can check under "Help/BGBlitz Mips" in the old version and "Miscellaneous/BGBlitz Mips" in the new version how fast your computer/Java combination is.
    Thanks to Werner Tremmel for his help. BTW if someone has a computer with more than 2 CPU-cores please contact me. I'm curious to know how fast BGBlitz works on a 4 (or more) CPU-box.
  • The move pruning algorithm in 3-ply is more efficient and at the same time more exhaustive. Additionally you can select the size of the search filter.
  • The tutor uses in match play EMG (Equivalent money game) values, so now there is only one setting needed. Furthermore, the tutor tries to use the same evaluation depth as the "Best moves" box, so no more inconsistencies between the two.
  • Japanese and Polish translations.
  • Better installation/starter for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and FreeBSD.
  • Tony Lezard's Dueller 2.4 supported.
  • Some improvements in the user interface, a couple of smaller improvements and about a dozen bug-fixes, most minor, one serious and two medium.
PartyGammon now uses BGBlitz as AI too.
Logo of partygammon

Before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb
Please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Aaron Katchen, Andy Blank, Alex Cumbers, Chrs Wilson, David E Wilkins, Dean Gay, Harald Schoener, Hardy Huebener, James Lowe, Joerg Picard, Jonathan Taylor, Jürgen Koormann, Katsutoshi Seki, Kent Stallard, Markus Herven, Michael Demmer, Michael Depreli, Miroslaw Golda, Oskar Teichman, Paul Stewart, Rodrigo Zapata Alvarez, Richard Murrell, Richard Pisani, Stefan Wolf, Stephen Taylor, Tom Mc Shane, Travis Salling, Werner Tremmel and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

11/01/06: BGBlitz goes mobile! BGBlitz2go 1.0.1, the version for the mobile/cell phone and Palm is finally ready. More info at: www.bgblitz2go.com.

04/18/06: BGBlitz 2.0.1 has the following improvements:

  • BGBlitz has got a new AI. The new neural net wins about 2 points in 100 cube less money games against the old AI. Other tests (Depreli Benchmark (lower values are better): old AI 19.5, new AI 14.65) showed a decent improvement too. BGBlitz is now an even harder opponent.
    The old AI is still available and you can select between the old AI as "TachiAI Graz" and the new AI called "TachiAI II" as an opponent and as the AI for evaluations/best moves.
  • The possible moves are indicated on the board
  • you can select which checker colour to play with
  • the speed of the checker movement is not dependent on the hardware speed anymore
  • I made a universal binary for Mac OS X Icon universal binary
  • New themes (Chalkboard by Jan Lukart and Titanium by Michael Darooge) and new sounds (by alexel) are included in the standard download.
  • Tony Lezards Dueller 2.3 supported.
  • I started to modernize the user interface. I intended to transform the whole user interface for version 2.0, but this is terribly time consuming, so I will modernize BGBlitz part after part.
  • A dozen smaller improvements and bug-fixes some minor, three serious.

Before updating, please save the following files, to be restored after installation:

  • in case of a licensed version, your license file
  • in case of saved games, matchDB/Standard.bgdb
Please uninstall the old version before updating BGBlitz.

Many thanks to Alexel, Charlie Dick, Christian Simhandl, Dave Johnson, Dennis Meylan, Eric Hsu, Jan Lukut, Jerry Lutgring, Kent Stallard, Kristian Bak-Jensen, Martha Seikaly, Sam Rich, Werner Tremmel and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

09/18/05: BGBlitz 1.9.5 has the following improvements:

  • Several bugs were fixed in the cube play and handling of illegal drag moves.
  • Improved checker play.
  • Improved cube play.
  • A dozen smaller improvements (rollouts with 3-ply, sound effect in replay ...).
  • A Catalan translation is included. Thanks to Xavier Blanquer. And thanks to John Lowe for correcting "my sort of English".

Many thanks to Alejandro Olivera-Nappa, Brett Yunker, Charlie Dick, Emanuele Martini, Garry MacDonald, James Lowe, John Wiltshire, Marc Grey, Marc van Rey, Markus Herven, Michael Depreli, Peter Grotrian, Radu-Dan Sabau, Ron Olsen, Tim Hill, Xavier Blanquer and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

06/26/05: BGBlitz 1.9.4 has following new features:

  • Finally! BGBlitz uses cubeful equities in match play too. This improves the cube play in matches considerably.
  • The evaluation in match play, especially at double match point was improved.
  • Improved cubeful equities in money games.
  • BGBlitz got configurable random number generators (RNG). With a network connection you could even have real random numbers from www.random.org. Additionally the state of the RNG is displayed during the game in the upper right half of the status bar, so you can control the numbers always and you can even look at the future rolls. I wrote some additionally explanations on the Does it Cheat?-page. Will this stop the "BGBlitz is cheating" mails? ;)
  • A Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" compatible version is included. This version is about 30% faster than the "Panther" version.
  • A Turkish translation is included. Thanks to Özgür Albayrak
  • There is a new graphics artist supporting BGBlitz! Russ Taber brought us a "fishy" board, with different sounds.
    Michael Darooge contributed an excellent board with transparent checkers. (Both need Java 1.2 or higher, so they don't work with Mac OS 9).
    Further I wrote a little documentation: "How to create your own theme". So if you ever wanted to create your own theme, this should give you the necessary information.
  • The "Select Theme" dialog box now shows previews of the themes.
  • BGBlitz now resigns in hopeless situations.
  • Shortcuts for "Quit Game" (^G) and "Concede Game" (Shift-^G) are now included.
  • The "Best Moves" dialog box shows the actual equity difference to the best move
  • I fixed two difficult to find bugs, that happened only under rare circumstances.
    Many thanks to all of the people sending error reports to me, especially to Rainer Schmid who gave the decisive hint. Some minor errors have been fixed too.
  • A bunch of small improvements in functionality and usability are included in this release too.
  • I planned to raise the requirements to (at least) Java 1.3 with the release 2.0 and support Mac OS 9 with release 1.9.4. Unfortunately I ran in some bugs of the MRJ. I spent nearly a week to find some workarounds but it was in vain. So the release 1.9.0 is the last release with works with Java 1.1.8.
  • BGBlitz was selected as the artificial intelligence behind play65.com and gammonempire.com
    Logo of www.play65.com

Many thanks to Özgür Albayrak, Alex Cumbers, Michael Darooge, Linc Davis, Peter Grotrian, Tom Hipschman, Jan van't Hull, Radu-Dan Sabau, Christian Schmid, Rainer Schmid, Michael Stein, Russ Taber and to all of the people providing error reports, making suggestions or helping in any other way to improve BGBlitz.

09/04/04: BGBlitz 1.9.0 has following new features:

  • BGBlitz now uses cubeful evaluation in money games. What does that mean? E.g. what is your equity, when you win a running game with a probability of 81%? 0.81 - 0.19 = 0.62 times the cube? That is your cubeless evaluation. If you have access to the cube your equity is 1 times the cube because you double and your opponent will drop. BGBlitz now calculates these values according to the Janowski formulas. All dialogs, HTML generation etc. now support this for money game (for match play it will follow as soon as possible).
  • I tuned the evaluation and move generation code, so playing is about 20% faster (o.k. you will only realise that when using 3-ply because 1-ply and 2-ply are fast enough anyway). Further I included a cache for evaluation, which leads to a further speedup between 0 and 60% depending on the position. If you are short of memory you can disable the cache in the setup (it takes about 10 MB RAM).
  • For German speaking users, Christian Schmid donated a great manual in German language. It contains Quick start guides for the most important features and covers on 96 pages probably every aspect of BGBlitz. My biggest thank you to Christian. BTW any volunteer to translate it? Naturally that's my job, but then new features have to be delayed and more important I feel my English isn't sufficient for that task.
  • I included a dialog box to visualize a neural net. Isn't too useful unless you train a neural net, but it provides a view of the brain of BGBlitz which might be interesting. BTW what do you think about training your own neural net? Shall I include this as a feature in a future release?
  • The Match-ID is supported now, so setting up a position is more convenient.
  • In match play the EMG (Equivalent Money Game) is shown.
  • When using at least 2-ply the standard deviation is displayed in the evaluation dialog boxes.
  • There is a new graphics artist supporting BGBlitz! Jan Lukat (http://www.lukart.de) donated his great Antique theme. (It needs Java 1.2 or higher, so it doesn't work with Mac OS 9).
  • There were some bugs that were very difficult to find, because they happened rarely and not on my computer. By including code to catch them since release 1.8.0 I was able to fix about 8 errors, most minor but two were serious and very hard to find. Further I fixed the network play which was broken in 1.8.2. Thanks to all people sending error reports to me. Without your help I wouldn't be able to solve the problems.
  • Nearly 20 further small improvements in functionality and usability are included in this release too..

Many thanks to Andreas Schildhauer, Brett Yunker, Christian Schmid, Christopher Havilland, Jan Lukat, Martin Christoph, Mike "Coker", Peter Baeckgren, Radu-Dan Sabau, Russ Taber, Tony Ziroff, Willis Nash and to all of the people providing error reports for their help and suggestions.

04/04/04: BGBlitz 1.8.2 is a bugfix release:

  • Finally I got 'em! This lousy bug has bitten me since version 1.4.0. Sometimes BGBlitz moved twice in a row and I tried to find out what was happening, but it happened very infrequently and I could not reproduce it. Due to a code change in 1.8.0 the bug happened more frequently, so I was finally able to reproduce it. After that, it was the matter of an hour to fix it! Without the error reports it wouldn't have been possible to fix it. Thanks a lot for all the reports.
    A patch for version 1.8.0 is here. Just unzip and copy bgblitz.jar to the installation directory/folder.
  • Two minor errors are fixed too.

Many thanks to Christopher Havilland, James Lowe, Jason Ross, John Twelker, Karne Frost, Michael Stein and Radu-Dan Sabau for their help and suggestions.

03/07/04: BGBlitz 1.8.0 has following new features:

  • Duel's between BGBlitz and the other leading bots are possible with Tony Lezards Dueller 2.2 which should be available now. Currently BGBlitz has to run on Windows for a duel, but this will probably change in later versions of Dueller.
  • The usability is improved. Clicking on an empty triangle makes the point or moves checker to that point. (e.g. click on the 3-point after an opening 55) and you can change the cube position, value and the player who's on with the mouse when editing a position.
  • BGBlitz is more firewall friendly. The used ports are now constant and shown in the connection dialog box. Unfortunately for technical reasons this version is not compatible with older versions.
  • The Egyptian rule is supported
  • One more great theme by Radu-Dan Sabau
  • Some minor enhancements, better error handling, and a few errors fixed, one serious, leading to a freeze under some circumstances.

Many thanks to Albert Liem, Albert Reingewirtz, Christian Schmid, Gary McGill, George Hanson, Michael Schmidt, Radu-Dan Sabau, Robert Saltzman, Thomas Ficass, Tony Lezard and van jilk for their help and suggestions.

11/01/04: BGBlitz 1.7.1 has following new features:

  • In the Mac OS 9 version a severe error is fixed, causing a freeze when using the tutor.

12/22/03: BGBlitz 1.7.0 has following new features:

  • The playing strength was considerably increased. A stronger neural net is built in and BGBlitz is now able to evaluate 3 half moves (3 ply).
  • The usability is improved. (Drag-n-Drop movement is easier; no more matches accidentally forgotten to save; some further enhancements )
  • Swedish version by Peter Nevalainen
  • Better Panther (Mac OS X 10.3) integration
  • Some more beautiful themes by Radu-Dan Sabau
  • Some minor to medium bugs were fixed.

Many thanks to Eric Grundstrom, Guy Petzall, Ingmar Stephan, Jimmy Weierich, Peter Gee, Peter Nevalainen, Radu-Dan Sabau for their help and suggestions.

11/24/03: The forthcoming BGBlitz 1.7.0 has played in the 8th Computer Olympiad in Graz, won the Backgammon event and got the title of a World Champion! Thus BGBlitz repeated its success from the last years 7th Computer Olympiad in Maastricht were BGBlitz 1.0.5 has played. See the new Olympiad page. Expect the new and much stronger playing BGBlitz 1.7 in a fortnight. Curious people may ask for a beta already :)

11/20/03: German "Linux User Magazin" reviewed BGBlitz and further backgammon programs for Linux:
".... the graphically exceedingly appealing program... ambitious Backgammon fans should look at BGBlitz in any case...."

09/14/03: Backgammon Blitz 1.6.0 has following new features:

  • Now you can also move the checkers by Drag-n-Drop. This is more intuitive for the casual user and easier to use especially with a single button mouse. Drag-and-Drop can also be used in position editing mode.
  • Naturally you can also undo moves with the mouse.
  • The "Backspace" key allows partial undo of a move.
  • You now have the possibility to use variance reduction in rollouts. This greatly reduces the number of games needed for a result of a given precision. Additionally, you can choose whether rollouts should end or not when reaching the bear off database.
  • The most requested feature is finally implemented: now you can resign a game when playing against BGBlitz.
  • Some more beautiful themes by Radu-Dan Sabau and Guy Petzall
  • In the bear off dialog box the effective pip count is shown.
  • Pressing "Return" is equivalent to taking up the dice.
  • A severe bug has been fixed: under very rare circumstances it appeared as if TachAI made two moves at once (in fact this error was very hard to find).
  • A further severe error was fixed in truncated rollouts, where the results were incorrect if during the final turn an opponent's checker was dancing.
  • Some further minor improvements and bug fixes have been included too.

Many thanks to Bill Picker, Christian Schmidt, Christian Tagsold, Christopher Haviland, Guy Petzall, Joe Klinkhammer, Martin Finskes, Nardy Pillard, Radu-Dan Sabau, Ralph Wagner, Reinhard John, Thomas Güessow for their help and suggestions.

06/11/03: Backgammon Blitz 1.5.0 has following new features:

  • The ability to convert matches to HTML has been added to the "Convert File" dialog box. So you can easily publish your matches on the web or send them to a friend without the need for further software. In the "Setup/Setup HTML Generation" dialog box you can adjust where the html file expects the board graphics. If you look at the match locally "BGBlitz installation directory" probably is the most appropriate option. If you want to publish your match on the web "BGBlitz website" fits well, but you can select any path you like. As an example: here are the four Maastricht matches "BGBlitz vs. GNU-BG" in HTML match1, match2, match3, match4.
    This is a feature of the player version and above and renders only the first game of a match completely in the free edition.
  • You can copy any position, the evaluation or the best moves as HTML-file in in the clipboard.
  • You can now install new themes comfortably with "Install themes from Zip".
  • In the "Miscellaneous Settings" dialog box you can select that the "Best Moves" and "Eval Position" dialog boxes always use "2-ply".
  • Another whole bunch of beautiful themes by Radu-Dan Sabau. I changed the selection of default themes to include my personal favourites "Three Leathers" and "Madreperla".
  • Ctrl/Command-N starts a new Game.
  • In the "Customize Checker" dialog box you can select a delay time of 0 milliseconds. This fixes the unusual slow checker movements on Linux.
  • Hebrew translation by Shahar Tal
  • Fixed the help on Windows NT/2K/XP. Browser calls on NT were different to W98 and naturally I tested it on W98 :-(
  • When using themes the width of the cube was calculated wrong. This sometimes caused a position where a checker could only be moved when you click next to him. This is now fixed.
  • As usual some further minor improvements and bug fixes have been included too.

Many thanks to Ben Haller, Garry MacDonald, John Wiltshire, Radu-Dan Sabau, Steven Eakle, Walter Habel and all of my translators for their help and suggestions.

04/21/03: BGBlitz 1.4.0 brings following features:

  • Under "Game/Config Automation" you can select to have forced moves played automatically, automatic roll of the dice if no cube action is possible and
  • Support of the GNU-BG Position-ID in the editing dialogs and the clipboard.
  • The tutor can give you a another try before it reveals his opinion.
  • Some more beautiful themes by Radu-Dan Sabau (Hint: look at "Three Leathers"!)
  • Under "Miscellaneous Settings" you can select the default match database and the default position database.
  • Support for multiprocessor systems. If configured under "Miscellaneous Settings", rollouts start one job per CPU.
  • Most shortcuts work without modifier (i.e. you can press "B" for best moves instead of CTRL/Command-"B"). Hitting the spacebar is the same as undo.
  • French translation by Radu-Dan Sabau
  • Spanish translation by José Manuel Solis Preisser
  • And further minor improvements and bug fixes have been included too

Thanks to Achim Müller, David Kinston, Guy Petzall, José Manuel Solis Preisser, Leif Eriksen, Radu-Dan Sabau, Sascha Muzzarini and William Maslen for their help and suggestions.

03/09/03: Thanks to Radu, new themes arrived:

  • a really beautiful theme in big size - "Made in Japan"
  • a medium theme "Turquoise". Its colours remind me of the water in the south sea
  • and Bigger_dot as medium theme - "Big Dot"
All available on the themes page.

I experimented recently with the neural nets. One of the results is a net, which wins about 1.5 points per hundred games (cubeless) against the expert net. On this level of play this is quite nice. It is the normal TachiAI net but with some more hidden neurons. It is about 50% slower, so I would recommend a CPU of 400 MHz or more.
Just unzip it in the installation directory (Mac: unzip anywhere and copy the files in the system/bot/tachiAI folder in the corresponding folder of the installation directory). If the installation succeeds, the files "ta_05.*" in the folder system/bot/tachiAI/ must be greater than 300 KB instead of just about 200 KB.
I would like to get a little feedback on your impressions of the playing strength and style of the new net compared with the old.

02/27/03: You demanded a big theme? Radu did a nightshift and here it is:

  • Bigger_dot, my favorite theme
  • and Aladdin another medium theme with oriental flair
We just analyzed the themes download and some popular themes will come in big size.
Radu, thanks for your support!

02/16/03: BGBlitz 1.3.0 brings following features:

  • BGBlitz has got selectable themes, contributed by Guy Petzall, Michael Darooge and Radu-Dan Sabau. 4 Themes are included in the download, the others can be downloaded on the themes page.
  • Sound effects
  • Italian translation by Radu-Dan Sabau
  • As usual some minor improvements and bug fixes have been included too

Thanks to Andrew Lipscomb, David Kinston, Guy Petzall, Michael Darooge, Ric Gerace and Radu-Dan Sabau for their help and suggestions.

12/11/02: a new match database with 1500 matches between Snowie 3 and JF put on the download page.

11/23/02: BGBlitz 1.2.0 is another feature release:

  • 1.2.0 provides a rollout capability. You can rollout any positions any number of times, either cubeless or cubeful to get a better approximation of the *real* winning probabilities. Cubeless rollouts can be truncated (i.e. BGBlitz only makes the entered number of moves and then evaluates the resulting position). This has two advantages: the rollouts are faster and the standard deviation is smaller.
    Variance reduction hasn't made it into this release and follows as soon as possible.
    Worth to mention: the rollout isn't blocking, so you can still use BGBlitz during a rollout.
    Using a multiple of 36 as number of rollouts, leads to an even distribution of the first dice roll. Similar using a multiple of 1296 distributes the first two dice rolls evenly.
  • Adapted to Mac OS X 10.2
  • Danish translation by Søren Pingel Dalsgaard
  • The "Best Moves" dialog box and the "Eval Position" remember their position on the screen between invocations.
  • command/ctrl-W closes (most) dialog boxes.
  • command/ctrl-F is a shortcut for "Finish Game".
  • command/ctrl-R rolls the dice / takes up the dice during a game.
  • the nasty bug freezing the game after a double when the tutor is disabled is fixed.
  • Some minor improvements and bug fixes have been included too.
Thanks to Alain Redlinger, Bill T, Hans-Juergen Schaefer, Peter Green, Radu Sabau, Robert Saltzman, Søren Pingel Dalsgaard and Zeph Bender for their help and suggestions.

08/27/02: BGBlitz 1.1.0 is the first release with a feature from the professional version:

  • A configurable Tutor warns for possible errors in checker and cube play.
  • Some minor improvements / bugs fixed

07/20/02: BGBlitz 1.0.6 is a bug fix release:

  • under certain circumstances, a wrong Match-Equity-table was loaded, which leads to freezing the game.
  • The replayer stumbled at the border of two games.
  • Under unclear conditions a stack-overflow happened.
  • In the replayer you can call the Best-Moves-dialog box with CTRL-B when possible and the evaluation dialog box with CTRL-E. If the move and the comment-Box don't have the focus you might navigate with cursor-left/right
I'm sorry about the error. BGBlitz has more than 70,000 lines of code and it is very difficult having enough test on all platforms and get the new features published fast enough. I hope I haven't caused any inconvenience.
Thanks to Ric Gerrace and Frank Haselein for pointing out the errors.

07/08/02: BGBlitz 1.0.5 has following improvements and bug fixes:

  • TachiAI now uses a calculated Match-Equity-Table, so for long matches the values are exact and not approximated. Additionally you can select the gammon probability TachiAI should use.
  • In post Crawford games, a special Match-Equity-table for cube decision is used.
  • Now there is a dialog box, showing the different Match-Equity-tables.
  • JavaFibs log files are now supported.
  • The move notation on the board and in the clipboard is more consistent.
  • I streamlined the menus according to a proposal of Frank Haselein (tnx).
  • Mac OS X fixed: the board couldn't made smaller.
  • Mac OS 9/X fixed: log files couldn't be opened.
  • Some minor Bugs fixed.

06/04/02: BGBlitz 1.0.4 has following improvements and bug fixes:

  • TachiAI use Match Winning Probability for move selection in match play (JPWhite)
  • "Best Moves" dialog box and "Evaluate Position" show match winning probability in match play
  • the Match Equity table for TachiAI / Evaluation / Best Move is selectable
  • Cube handling at post Crawford games correctly implemented
  • BGBlitz supports the Dutch language. Many thanks to Roger Troost for his translation.
  • BGBlitz supports the Jacoby/Trice Match Equity table.
  • Mac OS X: supports the right mouse button and ctrl-click or meta-click as simulation for the right mouse button
  • Mac OS X: fixed: drawing artefacts on the board when bitmaps for points are used
  • Mac OS X: some bugs in dialog layout (introduced by the latest Java patch? :-( ) are fixed
  • Some perfectly legal code which caused under rare circumstances crashing of Java 1.1 was rewritten.
  • Some minor Bugs fixed
  • Although the installer was configured, to *not use Microsoft Java* (MS-Java doesn't support RMI) this code seems not to have worked all the time. So now a warning is shown, if a Microsoft Java is detected.

05/04/02: BGBlitz 1.0.3 is a bug fix release, which fixes some nasty bugs:

  • the most severe bug was the mis-drawing of the board. It's unbelievable ( but explainable) that this had never shown on any of my computers
  • the score of the first game in a money session was ignored
  • windows only: spaces in the path breaks the help
  • in endgames TachiAI sometimes missed the opportunity for a gammon
  • TachiAI missed the opportunity for an automatic redouble in match play.
Additionally I moved the replay menus from the Miscellaneous to the File menu. Thanks to Frank Haselein for his thoughts on that and thanks to all others who told me about the errors.

In 1.0.2 I fixed a problem which allowed under some circumstances both player could roll the dice.