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Is it possible to play against a "virgin" Leela Chess engine to see how many games it takes it to beat me? That is, can I train Leela Chess by playing against it myself?

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Not an expert but you can play against a "virgin" Leela by using one of the younger nets. For example in the first Leela test (the so-called training run) the strongest net was 11248. If you play against, e.g., net 00010, it'll be much weaker.

However, you can't train Leela by playing against it. You can play against the trained product, but you can't train Leela yourself. That's because Leela is supposed to learn entirely by self-play (that's why its full name is Leela Chess Zero - "Zero" for zero human knowledge).

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    I would like to add that several people have created early Leela clones as BOTs on lichess that you can play against. So to your first paragraph: without even downloading and configuring anything, others have done the heavy lifting for you. – NoseKnowsAll Apr 7 at 21:24
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    Not to mention it takes an inordinate (for a human) amount of games played for it to learn sufficiently to even be making recognizably non-random moves. – Shufflepants Apr 8 at 5:26
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    @Shufflepants I was guessing that point though – Olorin Apr 8 at 5:52
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    No one trained lc0 against an sf9-10 or 11 for instance ? – Olorin Apr 8 at 10:57
  • @NoseKnowsAll if you have a link for those feel free to share and/or edit it into the answer directly. – Allure Apr 8 at 11:28
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Yes, you could in principle set up Leela such that it learns by playing against you. It would require some programming skills and a lot of time to play games.

Currently Leela has been trained on 300.000.000 games. You should expect to have to play at least a couple of thousand games against it to see an improvement.

Also, Leela doesn't learn anything if it always loses. So you either can't start from zero, or you'd have to massively handicap yourself such that you regularly lose even against the initial random play.

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  • typical leela training uses ~15-30k games per net. Leela is usually GM level by net 3 or 4, so if you scimp a little on the number of games per net, you could probably get by with only 10k games or so – Oscar Smith Apr 10 at 5:32

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