Games Solved: Now and in the Future

HJ van den Herik, JWHM Uiterwijk*, J van Rjiswijck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article we present an overview on the state of the art in games solved in the domain of two-person zero-sum games with perfect information. The results are summarized and some predictions for the near future are given. The aim of the article is to determine which game characteristics are predominant when the solution of a game is the main target. First, it is concluded that decision complexity is more important than state-space complexity as a determining factor. Second, we conclude that there is a trade-off between knowledge-based methods and brute-force methods. It is shown that knowledge-based methods are more appropriate for solving games with a low decision complexity, while brute-force methods are more appropriate for solving games with a low state-space complexity. Third, we found that there is a clear correlation between the first-player's initiative and the necessary effort to solve a game. In particular, threat-space-based search methods are sometimes able to exploit the initiative to prove a win. Finally, the most important results of the research involved, the development of new intelligent search methods, are described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-311
JournalArtificial Intelligence
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002


  • solving games
  • search methods
  • game characteristics
  • brute-force methods
  • knowledge-based methods
  • initiative


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