I guess life happened while I was busy working on my chess engine. I few months ago, I dumped the entire engine and started fresh. Then after a month or so, I dumped that idea and went back to the original codebase. I started integrating the sections of code that I rewrote and improved. To be frank, large sections of code in current release of Vicki is a terrible mess and these needed to be rewritten. I'm almost done with that.
I have already rewritten the move generation, which resulted in a speed increase of around 10%. I’ve also changed the representation of the move (I use a 32 bit integer for this) so that a full 8 bits are available for move ordering (this use to be 6). This change will greatly enhance the move ordering capabilities of Vicki.
I am now working on the actual search function and the transposition table. Apart from fixing a nasty bug with the transposition table (it returns a mate score, but just chases the king around with trivial end game positions), I also need to rethink all the pruning and speed-up techniques individually. I threw all these together without giving any much thought. I paid the price.
I'm also planning pondering, opening book learning and better interface support.
The next release is scheduled for the 4th of January 2010.
Vicki is back... and smelling blood!