I will share my opinion between 2 public commercial AI Software (Zenith Go 4 and CrazyStone 2013) both are very strong high dan programs (5 or 6 dan). CrazyStone thinking method is using Monte Carlo Tree Search system combine with database patterns while for Zen, I have no idea but perhaps it should be the same effective method.
I will review these 3 aspects: Graphic, Speed and AI-Style. Last, I will give a verdict which you should purchase and a bonus best of 5 match between Zenith Go 4 and CrazyStone 2013, I know that on KGS there has been a match for AI but each has different hardware specs which may not favor AI with lower specs, with this match, I gave 10 seconds thinking each, running on same PC hardware. So you can find out who is actually the strongest. Before the review started I would inform you that both are not the best as SGF editor, so if you want to review after the match and save it better do it elsewhere like SmartGo.
Zenith Go 4
Zen has a simple User Interface, I feel that it’s more Office-ish like, I don’t mind though, it has 4 themes: Standard, Basic, Marble (screenshot) and Crystal. Standard and basic has the more appealing and subtle colors to my eyes and I don’t think I would play on Marble and Crystal.
CrazyStone has a very beautiful UI and more gaming-like it has relaxing background music with option to turn of if you don’t like and selections of stone placement sound effect however unlike Zen it does not have the option of changing the board theme. One thing that I found very cute is CrazyStone can simulate mimic (Happy, Sad, etc) with its real-time analysis where Zen can only analyze once the game finished. Oh and if you don’t like to can change to bowl with the prisoners stone which is used by default.
Result: CrazyStone wins
Zenith Go 4
Well the simplest UI has the benefit of speed, it does not have splash screen so once you launched it’s ready for action. The AI has options of level and time if you choose level you can’t set the time and vice verse, the strongest level are 5d, if you play by level, AI plays quick it does not take very long time for a move, so you may find it convenient. Spoiler alert, by setting AI to time rather than level you can get much stronger AI.
It’s damn slow. When you launch the app, it will show you 2 splash screens before it’s started, however, let’s say you played game then in the middle you need to go somewhere else and leave the game and shutdown your PC once you boot your PC and open the app again, you have the option to continue or start a new game, very neat huh? Like Zen AI has options of level and time if you choose level you can’t set the time and vice verse, the highest level is 10 (I think it’s 5d) however if you play by level it will play very very slow even in the opening game it can think for 40 seconds for a move not really convenient if you just want to have quick play and go.
Result: Zen wins
Zenith Go 4
Like its name, Zen style is very calm, it does not rush and play more human like, so the replay-ability is enjoyable, it doesn’t feel like repetitive match where eventually you play by outplaying “bugs” to beat it.
It loves to fight with the bot-intuition but with the many fights it does not know which to save/kill first, even I feel that it ignore sente to play it’s intuition eventually letting huge group dead, after playing a while you may get bored because it kinda slow and feels like in some sequence you feel some repetitive-moves. Don’t get me wrong it is still a very strong bot and a pleasure one if you want to play a long serious game.
Result: Zen wins
Both price are roughly 80 USD
Buy Zenith Go 4, for pleasure and strongest commercial AI it’s more enjoyable one however if you want to wait both are coming with the new deep learning version following AlphaGo successful, where we can expect the new DCNN version will be 2 stones stronger than the previous version. Zenith Go 6 a deep learning commercial version of Zen, will be released soon, however it seems coming with Japanese language only and maybe English on later release.
EDIT: Zenith Go 6 (Tencho 6) has been released.
Buy CrazyStone 2013, if you enjoy long game (AI is really testing your reading skill), enjoy eye-pleasing graphic AND if want a cheaper one because it gives 50% discount for the forthcoming CrazyStone Deep Learning the first edition.
EDIT: CrazyStone Deep Learning the first edition has been released and you can’t no longer purchase the old Crazy Stone 2013 🙂
NOTE:I will purchase CrazyStone Deep Learning the first edition soon and play against Zenith Go 4, I will not purchase tencho 6 until the english version (Zenith Go 6 or 7) released.
In the best of 5 games, Zen won over CrezyStone by resignation in first 3 games, you can see how clever Zen was beating CrazyStone. Below are the games: