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Subject: Re: Who is the better chess program author?

Author: Robert Hyatt

Date: 12:16:37 12/13/01

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On December 13, 2001 at 13:25:23, David Dory wrote:

>>Chess is a disappointingly simple game, even a human beginner
>>>can create a master-level chess program.
>>Actually it happened already. I guess it was around 1980, a guy who barely knew
>>how to move the pieces created a program that took a good place (or even won) in
>>the World Computer Chess Championship.
>>Maybe Bob remembers. I seem to remember the guy was canadian. The name of his
>>program was maybe Chaos or something like that.
>>    Christophe
>That would be Claude Jarry who could only tell how his program "L'Excentrique"
>was doing by looking at the printout from the program.
>Nevertheless, his program defeated the then world champ CHESS 4.9 in the first
>round in the World Championships in Austria, 1980, so it was certainly strong!

Good memory, and you are correct on all counts.  It was very fast, but very
dumb.  I remember Ken once saying "If you can just hold on and not get caught
by its tactics, it will eventually 'fold' and make a horrible positional mistake
and crumble away."  That was generally true.  But _only_ if you could live past
the searches it was doing.  :)

Chaos was a selective search program, mainly written by Fred Schwartz at the
University of Michigan.  Fred and I chatted often back then as we had similar

BTW L'Excentrique ran on IBM/Amdahl machines (mainframes), usually the
biggest/fastest available.

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