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minimax

games An algorithm for choosing the next move in a two

player game. A player moves so as to maximise the minimum

value of his opponent's possible following moves. If it is my

turn to move, I give a value to each legal move I might make.

If the result of a move is an immediate win for me I give it

positive infinity and, if it is an immediate win for you,

negative infinity. The value to me of any other move is the

minimum of the values resulting from each of your possible

replies.

The above algorithm will give every move a value of positive

or negative infinity since the value of every move will be the

value of some final winning or losing move. This can be

extended if we can supply a heuristic evaluation function

which gives values to non-final game states without

considering all possible following complete sequences. We can

then limit the minimax algorithm to look only a certain number

of moves ahead. This number is called the "look-ahead" or

"ply".