Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik GmbH Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik GmbH scholarly article en Brunner, Josh; Demaine, Erik D.; Hendrickson, Dylan; Wellman, Julian https://www.dagstuhl.de/lipics License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY 3.0)
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URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-133618
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Complexity of Retrograde and Helpmate Chess Problems: Even Cooperative Chess Is Hard

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Abstract

We prove PSPACE-completeness of two classic types of Chess problems when generalized to n × n boards. A "retrograde" problem asks whether it is possible for a position to be reached from a natural starting position, i.e., whether the position is "valid" or "legal" or "reachable". Most real-world retrograde Chess problems ask for the last few moves of such a sequence; we analyze the decision question which gets at the existence of an exponentially long move sequence. A "helpmate" problem asks whether it is possible for a player to become checkmated by any sequence of moves from a given position. A helpmate problem is essentially a cooperative form of Chess, where both players work together to cause a particular player to win; it also arises in regular Chess games, where a player who runs out of time (flags) loses only if they could ever possibly be checkmated from the current position (i.e., the helpmate problem has a solution). Our PSPACE-hardness reductions are from a variant of a puzzle game called Subway Shuffle.

BibTeX - Entry

@InProceedings{brunner_et_al:LIPIcs:2020:13361,
  author =	{Josh Brunner and Erik D. Demaine and Dylan Hendrickson and Julian Wellman},
  title =	{{Complexity of Retrograde and Helpmate Chess Problems: Even Cooperative Chess Is Hard}},
  booktitle =	{31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)},
  pages =	{17:1--17:14},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-173-3},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2020},
  volume =	{181},
  editor =	{Yixin Cao and Siu-Wing Cheng and Minming Li},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{https://drops.dagstuhl.de/opus/volltexte/2020/13361},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-133618},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ISAAC.2020.17},
  annote =	{Keywords: hardness, board games, PSPACE}
}

Keywords: hardness, board games, PSPACE
Seminar: 31st International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2020)
Issue date: 2020
Date of publication: 04.12.2020


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