In 2002 Christian Freeling put out a challenge that Havannah programs would not be able to beat him even once in a ten game match on a base-10 board, in the next ten years. Havannah is a pencil and paper game with rules that can be explained to an average 8 year old in less than a minute. The challenge remained unanswered for several years, until a new programming approach emerged, the Monte Carlo Tree Search method, that had shown some promising results in the game of Go. The programs that now won the match all use this method. They won 3 out of 10 so the winning programmers received a price of €1000 that came with the challenge.

The contestants

For Humanity:
christian freeling
Christian Freeling
mindsports - wiki - lg statistics - mail

For Artificial Intelligence:
richard lorentz
Richard Lorentz

home - mail - Program: Wanderer

Richard about the hardware:
"Most likely it will be a 4-core i7-2630QM CPU @ 2.00GHz, though I may get my hands on something with 2 more cores and around 2.7 GHz. But does it really matter? :)"
timo ewalds
Timo Ewalds

Google+ - mail - Program: Castro

Timo about the hardware:
"I'm rather uncertain. Worst case it'll be an intel i2500k (4-core, 3.3ghz) box, but Marcin and I are working on some interesting ideas that may give one or both of us a nice boost."
marcin ciura
Marcin Ciura
LinkedIn - Google+ - mail - Program: Lajkonik
Co-developer: Piotr Wieczorek - mail

Marcin about the hardware:
"As of today, I cannot tell you the hardware either. It may be a 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 (2.66 GHz) or something stronger (but twice more computing power definitely does not play two times better)."

Among the programs that declined the challenge in favor of stronger competitors were Ring von Fehler and Deep Fork.


A couple of theses:

Organizing commitee:
Ton van der Valk - mail
Albert Vasse - mail
Frans Faase - mail

Links:
Havannah - Wiki
Havannah - Google+

Sponsors:
DGT - Digital Game Technology
Hexboard.com