9x9 AI analysis

What’s our current options for 9x9 game analysis in terms of AI software? And what’s the easiest to set up?


What’s the history and timeline for AI applied to the 9x9 game?

About a couple of years before the AlphaGo breakthrough, I read an article talking about AI and board games. Since this was ~1-2 years B.A. (Before AlphaGo), the article said that 19x19 Go appeared to still be far out of the reach of machine domination. However, the article did also mention that AI had reached superhuman strength in the 9x9 game, but it did not go into any historical details about that, since it was just a passing comment alongside other comments that robots have reached superhuman in several other board games (like chess, checkers, backgammon, etc.).

I was just wondering when we actually reached the point of superhuman AI for 9x9. Was this also fairly recent or did it occur much longer ago? It seems that milestone was much less publicized than the 19x19 accomplishment.

EDIT: I found the article that I was remembering (or rather slightly misremembering):


Turns out it actually says (in June 2014):

On the 9-by-9 board, top programs are on a par with the best human players.

However, it leaves ambiguous when this milestone was reached, and doesn’t mention any other historical details.

EDIT: for anyone that stumbles across this, my question was thoroughly answered by @Deep_Scholar and @mark5000 in another thread:


Right now I use Leela (easy to setup) and a custom Leela Zero (harder to setup and more tedious to interact with). Leela Zero is programmed for 19x19 and the official weights are all trained on 19x19. However, the program has settings for 9x9, but you’ll need a custom weights file trained on 9x9.

I found someone to compile the program with 9x9 settings for me and then I found a solid weights file trained on 9x9 games. I have one that is trained on human pro games and one that is trained the usual Alpha Go way of it playing itself millions of times.

Leela is easy to setup, but not as strong as LZ. LZ is much stronger, but interpreting the data is a bit harder and requires the use of a third party program (Lizzie) which acts as the GUI. Lizzie leaves much to be desired and required some research to get configured properly.

It crashes half the time upon startup and after it is loaded there are a few key presses and clicks required to get my game loaded up and being analyzed. It is far from perfect, but when I want serious analyzation, there is nowhere else that I choose to turn :wink:.

I know there are some other accessible options, regarding powerful AI software you can use to analyze your games at home, but I am not familiar with it. You can easily get some recommendations if you ask on reddit (/r/baduk). Though LZ is pretty much all anybody cares about these days.

There are some paid options out there, including one or two serious entries on the mobile platform. Though I’m not sure how well their AI is on the 9x9. Pretty sure that Crazystone Deep Learning Pro is going to be your best bet for analysis on mobile.

KataGo plays every board size (trained on 19x19 and 9x9). Same interface as LZ, with additional score and territory estimation. Can play different rulesets, but isn’t trained for Japanese (yet). Precompiled versions for Linux and Windows are available, other systems need to compile from source.


I believe that today’s state of the art is KataGo or SAI. SAI is easy to set up if you’ve ever set up LeelaZero; it’s the same process.

Find SAI here: https://github.com/sai-dev/sai/releases


Where can I find SAI?


Now that Lizzie does not require you to even point it at a network file, and supports katago which is strong and does different board sizes…
Pretty much just do that :stuck_out_tongue: