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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Gold medal for 'dots and boxes'
David Bochenski and Der Tsai Lee
Mr Bochenski travelled to Taiwan in search of gold
A British computer programmer has been awarded a gold medal for a game which plays the children's game, dots and boxes.

David Bochenski won the accolade at the 10th Computer Olympiad, held in Taiwan.

The winning program - dubbed Deep Beige - was an improved version of the program which won silver at the same competion in Austria in 2003.

Mr Bochenski said: "Winning gold felt great, especially having just missed out two years ago.

"It was a long way to travel this year but well worth it given the outcome."

All the competitors were very strong, if not perfect, at the end game
David Bochenski

The Computer Olympiad pitted programs against each other at various games, including chess and backgammon.

Mr Bochenski's chosen game - dots and boxes - is a more advanced version of noughts and crosses, involving players alternating turns connecting dots on a grid with the objective of completing squares.

Mr Bochenski, 23, from Nottingham, designed Deep Beige as part of university project several years ago.

His success was noticed by a local technology company, 360, which has since employed him.

But Mr Bochenski has continued improving Deep Beige in his spare time.

Deep Beige in action in Taiwan
Deep Beige will not be improved further

He said: "My bosses actively encourage this 'after hours' kind of hobby as they help generate new ideas and performance improvements which can also help in my day job.

"And of course I wanted to go back and win gold."

Mr Bochenski secured gold by beating two other programs from the UK and a US competitor.

He said: "What set my program apart from the rest was probably the opening strategy which is quite advanced.

A new game

"All the competitors were very strong, if not perfect, at the end game."

Mr Bochenski plans to "retire" from the world of dots and boxes, and try a new game.

"I hope now, with the help of some of my colleagues to turn my attentions to Go, which is a game with more possibilities than chess.

"Despite computers being able to at least be on a level with the world's greatest chess players, there does not currently exist a Go program that can beat even novice professional humans.

"This presents quite an interesting prospect."


SEE ALSO:
Game designer wins Olympic silver
04 Dec 03 |  Nottinghamshire
It's hip to be square
15 Oct 03 |  Nottinghamshire


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