Butterfly Heuristic

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Butterfly and Chinese wisteriaflowers [1]

Butterfly Heuristic,
a dynamic move ordering method based on the number of trials of a given move inside the search, irrespectively from the position in which the move has been made, and in opposition to the History Heuristic, irrespectively whether a move fails high or not.

Thought Experiment

The Butterfly Heuristic was proposed by Dap Hartmann in conjunction with so called Butterfly Boards as a pure thought experiment [2] :

No experiments with real game trees in an actual chess-playing programs have been carried out. The main reason for not doing so lies in the author's notion that this method will be far less effective than the History Heuristic [3]. Still, the main idea of this thought experiment is worth presenting. 


Another utilization of Butterfly Boards, as proposed by Hartmann, was to make them persistent, initialized by moves from many Grandmaster and/or Correspondent chess games [4] [5] . Mark Winands at al. assimilated both, Schaeffer's History Heuristic combined with Hartmann's Butterfly Heuristic, and introduced the Relative History Heuristic [6]

See also


External Links

Joe Henderson, George Duke, David Amaro, Ernie Hood, Stanley Clarke, Airto Moreira


  1. by Xü Xi (c.886–c.975), painted around 970 during the early Song Dynasty, Butterfly from Wikipedia
  2. Dap Hartmann (1988). Butterfly Boards. ICCA Journal, Vol. 11, Nos. 2/3
  3. Jonathan Schaeffer (1983). The History Heuristic. ICCA Journal, Vol. 6, No. 3
  4. Dap Hartmann (1987). How to Extract Relevant Knowledge from Grandmaster Games. Part 1: Grandmasters have Insights - the Problem is what to Incorporate into Practical Problems. ICCA Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1
  5. Dap Hartmann (1987). How to Extract Relevant Knowledge from Grandmaster Games. Part 2: the Notion of Mobility, and the Work of De Groot and Slater. ICCA Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2
  6. Mark Winands, Erik van der Werf, Jaap van den Herik, and Jos Uiterwijk (2006). The Relative History Heuristic. CG 2006, pdf

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