Arimaa Challenge 2004

The first Arimaa Challenge match was won by the human player Omar Syed with 8-0 against the program Bomb of David Fotland. (see press release).


Arimaa is a new chess-like strategic board game invented by Omar and Aamir Syed. The game differs from chess in (among others) the following two ways.
  1. A variable opening position: players are free to choose the place of the pieces within the first two rows of the board.
  2. Complex moves: each move consists of 4 piece-movements that not only include shifts or captures, but also pulling, pushing and immobilization of opponent pieces.

In order to stimulate AI-research, the inventors of Arimaa called out the Arimaa Challenge: to the first person, company or organization that builds a program that defeats a chosen human Arimaa player in an official Arimaa challenge match before 2020, a prize of $ 10.000 USD will be awarded.

Each year a match will be organized. The match consists of two parts: first a selection match will be played between computer programs to select the best computer program, then the best program plays a match against a chosen human Arimaa player. The first challenge took place in January and February 2004 in co-operation with ICGA. ICGA oversaw the selection of the best program and the challenge match.

For more information on Arimaa see, for details on the 2004 challenge see


The first challenge match was between the following three programs that have been selected by the Arimaa organization on base of their ratings as obtained in the Arimaa game room:

BombDavid FotlandUnited States1763
OccamDon DaileyUnited States1517
GnoBotToby HudsonUnited Kingdom1491

Arimaa Selection Match 2004 Outcome

GnoBot - Occam:0 - 1 (31 moves)
Bomb - GnoBot:1 - 0 (24 moves)
Occam - GnoBot:1 - 0 (24 moves)
GnoBot - Bomb:0 - 1 (34 moves)
Occam - Bomb:0 - 1 (30 moves)
Bomb - Occam:1 - 0 (33 moves)

This means that the outcome of the match is:
1)Bomb(David Fotland,rated at 1763):4 points
2)Occam(Don Dailey,rated at 1517):2 points
3)GnoBot(Toby Hudson,rated at 1491):0 points

Outcome of the challenge match

The program Bomb by David Fotland entered the human-computer Challenge Match. The human opponent was Omar Syed. The challenge match took place from 2 till 13 February 2004.

Bomb - Omar:0 - 1 (56 moves)
Omar - Bomb:1 - 0 (38 moves)
Bomb - Omar:0 - 1 (55 moves)
Omar - Bomb:1 - 0 (67 moves)
Bomb - Omar:0 - 1 (96 moves)
Omar - Bomb:1 - 0 (49 moves)
Bomb - Omar:0 - 1 (41 moves)
Omar - Bomb:1 - 0 (42 moves)

The outcome of the match was 8-0 for Omar Syed.