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 Post subject: Best problem solving software for Go
Post #1 Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2021 8:55 am 

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I love solving go problems, such as tsumego, tesuji, capture race, connect, etc. Some of the problems could be quite challenging and an assistant software would be quite helpful. So I looked for such specific software on the Internet and here is what I have found:

1. MadLab
MadLab would have been the perfect go problem solving software if it worked thousands times faster. It is the most versatile problem solving software as you can set goals such as "kill", "live", "capture" or "connect". It was developed almost 20 years ago. When it works it is absolutely impressive as it answers your moves until it obtains its goal. Its GUI is not very sophisticated and setting goals is very complex. If a modern version of this program was developed I would certainly buy it!

2. Go Tools
Go Tools is actually specific for solving life-and-death (tsumego) problems. It can solve very difficult problems. It works only in Windows 98 DOS environment which I set up using an emulator. Being very difficult to install, very difficult to use and very slow to get results this tool is certainly outdated.

3. XuanXuanGo
XuanXuanGo has almost all features what a modern tsumego solver should have. You set up a position, decide White's or Black's turn and just hit the solve button. It can solve problems in milliseconds where Go Tools or MadLab requires hours to solve. For enclosed problems it works perfect. It plays the correct move and answers all of your next moves. Furthermore, if you take back its correct move and try a wrong variation it answers you again and shows you why it is a wrong variation. I cannot describe how useful this software for studying corner problems, basic life and death positions. It can also solve most open end problems although spends more time on them. It can not solve complex open end problems and sometimes stop at a ko solution while there is a better one. The developer says it can solve %75 of the problems you would find in go books. I can sincerely say that it can solve %90 of the problems published on tsumego hero website. The downside of XuanXuanGo is you need to activate the full version to unlock the problem solving feature and the price is very steep: 69 euros. However, If you have money to spend, I strongly advise it.

4. Panda Sensei
Panda Sensei, a few years ago, won tsumego challenges against top pro players. It is supposed to be the strongest problem solving software but there is no PC version of it. Its mobile versions are free to download from android and apple stores. If you want to unlock problem solving feature you have to buy tokens from its own store. However on android it was a very disappointing experience for me. It cannot solve most of the problems I set up but claims it solved. The ones it can solve are very basic problems. The problem area is very small and you can only set up small problems. I think there was something good in there but lost in time.

5. Katago
Katago, without doubt, is the most powerful AI in this list. In theory it has the ability to solve every possible go problem but most of the time it won't because it doesn't focus on local challenges. It tries to find the best possible move affecting the whole board. I try to shrink the board, set region of interest (KaTrain has this feature) to get help from Katago but sometimes it can't solve a specific problem whatever I do. Even when it can solve it is a very tiring process because after each move I need to ask Katago again and again. XuanXuanGo being a much weaker AI is much better for the problem solving experience it provides. I wish Katago had a mode for setting local challenges such as "kill this group", "live with this group", capture those stones", "connect those two groups". It would be awesome.

There are some basic online go solving applications I found on the Internet but they were mostly pet projects and not very serious candidates to be in the above list. If you want to add any program I missed or correct some of my comments you are more than welcome...

This post by sinantos was liked by 3 people: betterlife, egd, mhlepore
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