TITLE: A Pawn and a Move
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: May 02, 2016 4:30 PM
a commodity chess program
of a pawn and a move
to a world top-ten player
-- and winning?
The state of computer chess certainly has changed since the
fall of 1979, when I borrowed Mike Jeffers's
Chess Challenger 7
and played it over and over and over. I was a rank novice,
really just getting my start as a player, yet after a week
or so I was able to celebrate my first win over the machine,
at level 3. You know what they say about practice...
My mom stopped by our study room several times during that
week, trying to get me to stop playing. It turns out that
she and my dad had bought me a Chess Challenger 7 for
Christmas, and she didn't want me to tire of my present
before I had even unwrapped it. She didn't know just how
not tired I would get of that computer. I wore it
When I graduated with my Ph.D., my parents bought me
Chess Champion 2150L,
branded by in the name of world champion Garry Kasparov.
The 2150 in the computer's name was a rough indication that
it played expert-level chess, much better than my CC7 and
much better than me. I could beat it occasionally in a
slow game, but in speed chess it pounded me mercilessly.
I no longer had the time or inclination to play all night,
every night, in an effort to get better, so it forever
remained my master.
Now US champ Hikaru Nakamura and world champ Magnus Carlsen
know how I feel. The days of any human defeating even the
programs you can buy at Radio Shack have long passed.
Two pawns and move odds against grandmasters, and a pawn and
a move odds against the best players in the world? Times