Computer chess books

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brucemo

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Feb 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/5/97
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Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.

If you can get ahold of the ICCA Journals, these are very useful. The
information density is not very high, but if you have a stack of them
about a foot thick, you're sure to find something interesting. I paid a
couple of hundred bucks for mine, I have them going back over ten years,
and I don't regret buying them. You'll find a lot of what is in the
following books, in there.

"How Computers Play Chess", David Levy, Computer Science Press, 1991.
This book is a good intro and is not terribly out of data. The book
could benefit from more pseudo code, it is difficult to write a program
from this book. There is a discussion of endgame databases, which is
unique to this book. You can find this book new sometimes.

"Computer Chess I", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1984. This book is out
of date but it will give you ideas. For instance, I just looked briefly
through this book and found on page 52 the move-ordering mechanism for
MYCHESS, an early Kittinger program. It's got a lot of games and some
discussion of algorithms. If you find a copy, buy it, because if you
don't want it, you can sell it in about fifteen minutes in this
newsgroup.

"Computer Chess II", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1985. Same deal as
previous book, only it's a lot thicker, and you'll be able to sell it in
ten minutes if you decide you don't want it. It has a lot more games,
mainly, but it has cool descriptions of lots of programs of that time.
Near the beginning of the book is a picture of Bob Hyatt wearing a
polyester shirt. To those of you who wanted me to find you a copy of
this book, sorry, I haven't found any.

"Chess Skill in Man and Machine", Peter Frey, Springer Verlag, 1977,
1983. Another classic, although it is VERY dated. There's a chapter
describing Slate's Chess 4.5, and a little bit on Belle. Don't take
Frey's chapter on how to write a program very seriously, nor should you
take seriously the comment in Elliot Hearst's chapter, to the effect
that a computer program of master or expert strength is not likely to
happen any time soon. I don't like this book very much but I won't sell
you my copy. For that matter I won't sell you any of these books.

"Computers, Chess, and Long-range Planning", M. Botvinnik,
Springer-Verlag 1970. Own it, haven't read it, don't plan to read it.
Sometimes I find a copy of this at a used bookstore for $3-$7. Usually
I leave it there. He's got another book as well, which costs more.

"All the Right Moves", Carl Ebeling, MIT Press, 1987. This isn't a
common book, but it's interesting. It's mainly about Hitech. It
includes a discussion of move-ordering, and a little about Hitech's
evaluation function, but it's not that valuable if you want to write a
program.

"Advances in Computer Chess 1". This must exist but I haven't seen it.
If anyone has a copy they don't want, name your price. I don't even
care what's in it. This series is kind of low-density, but we're all
breathing vacuum here, so you take your air where you can get it.

"Advances in Computer Chess 2", M.R.B. Clarke, ed., Edinburgh University
Press, 1980. Truly ancient and not useful, for the most part. There's
an article by Don Beal on an algorithm for doing KP vs K, which isn't
terribly useful anymore because the tablebase is like 50K or something
like that. There's a whole chapter on the ending KR vs KN. This book
won't help you write a chess program. I wouldn't sell this for anything
though, since I've never heard of another copy.

"Advances in Computer Chess 3", M.R.B. Clark, ed., Pergammon, 1982.
There's some search pseudo-code from Belle, on page 52, which is worth
the price of the book, no matter what the price of the book is. This
book also has the original Bratko-Kopec article.

"Advances in Computer Chess 4", Don Beal, ed., Pergammon, 1986. This
has a useful article on Cray Blitz, and a little bit from Hans Berliner
about Patsoc (Plays A Terrible Sort Of Chess).

"Advances in Computer Chess 5". I have this somewhere, but it is brown,
so it's blended in with the crud and dirt in my basement. I seem to
remember it had a cool article about Hitech. It also has a defective
null-move article by Don Beal.

"Advances in Computer Chess 6", Don Beal, ed., Ellis Horwood, 1986.
This is the least useful since ACC2. It has a Rainer Feldmann article
on Zugzwang, a conspiracy number article by some Dutch guys, and an
interesting article on various topics by Dap Hartmann, but other than
that it's pretty light. And it costs a fortune. It's orange though.

"Advances in Computer Chess 7", H.J. van den Herik, ed., University of
Limburg, 1994. I could find nothing in this book that was particularly
useful to me personally. It is incredibly expensive as well. I will,
of course, buy ACC8 when it comes out, even if the whole thing is full
memory-consumptive parallel chess algorithms written in Lisp, articles
about how someone thinks they might implement a chess program some day,
and summaries of Steven J. Edwards' tablebase stuff.

"Computers, Chess, and Cognition", Marsland and Schaeffer, ed.,
Springer-Verlag, 1990. Another book that continues the trend of
incredibly high priced computer chess books, but this one has useful
information in it, and is not SO incredibly high priced. There are
articles on Deep Thought, Hitech, and Cray Blitz, an article on search
methods that includes some pseudo-code, an article on machine learning
(Bebe), and another flawed null-move article. The only decent null-move
article is Donninger's article in the ICCAJ, by the way. This book is
of higher density than most.

"Computer Chess Compendium", by David Levy. I don't have a copy of
this. It is thick and expensive, and is a collection of papers, some of
which are 40 years old. It's a good collection of assorted stuff, but
if you have most of the other books, you probably have most of the
useful stuff already.

Good luck finding this stuff,

bruce

Reginald Barron

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Feb 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/5/97
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brucemo <bru...@nwlink.com> wrote:
>Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
>about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
>few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
>from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
>knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.
>
(LIST DELETED)

>Good luck finding this stuff,
>
>bruce

I didn't see "The Chess Computer Book" by T D Harding, Pergamon Press,
1981.
This is kind of dated, but was a good book for the average player,
and gave suggestions on how to utilize the chess computer to advantagae.

Reg Barron


Randall Speaks

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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brucemo <bru...@nwlink.com> wrote:
[snipped to this particular book]

>"How Computers Play Chess", David Levy, Computer Science Press, 1991.
>This book is a good intro and is not terribly out of data. The book
>could benefit from more pseudo code, it is difficult to write a program
>from this book. There is a discussion of endgame databases, which is
>unique to this book. You can find this book new sometimes.

hi Bruce...

I've had a copy of this book for about three years and not
coincidentally have been liesurely chipping away on my own
chess program for about the same amount of time. I found your
comment about the book not being easy to write a program from
strikingly significant. Although the book is enlightening in many
ways to an amateur programmer like me, there just isn't quite
enough code presented. Do you think that Levy and Newborn
could make this into something of a programmer's bible with a
new edition? It seems like they have a really nice base to start
from.

One of the most interesting tables to me, is 'Estimates of the year
in which a computer will defeat the world human chess champion.'
The authors name several of the programmers who have been,
or are, involved in this newsgroup. The table obviously begs to
be updated. It seems to me that most of you are at some kind of
threshold, or barrier, that is the final leap to conquer the
position of world championship chessplay. I've seen some of the
discussions over computing power vs knowledge. Do you think
the final leap is nigh? Also, would you care to ponder the names
and years in that table and make your educated guess at a revised
table for us? I think you should probably be on that list too, and I'm
not trying to put you on the spot in that respect.

By the way, could you, or any of the other programmers in the
group say that any of the instruction given in Levy and Newborn's
book is of dubious value, and if so, what?

cheers,
Randy

brucemo

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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Reginald Barron wrote:

> I didn't see "The Chess Computer Book" by T D Harding, Pergamon Press,
> 1981.
> This is kind of dated, but was a good book for the average player,
> and gave suggestions on how to utilize the chess computer to advantagae.
>
> Reg Barron

There are lots of books about chess computers that aren't about programming,
or perhaps only include a tiny section on programming.

I didn't include any of these. There are a couple by Levy, there's one
called "How to Beat Your Chess Computer", and one that I believe is called
"Mastering the Chessmaster", which is an expanded manual for Cm3K (or maybe
Cm4K, I might have this wrong as well).

My intent was to provide some info for people who are always asking about
chess programming books.

bruce

graham_douglass

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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In article <32F84D...@nwlink.com>, brucemo says...

>
>Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
>about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
>few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
>from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
>knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.
>
{snip}

Good post!

I have the 1985 (I think) paperback "The Computer Chess Handbook" by David Levy,
which I regard as one of my treasured possesions.

I have to say, I regard "Chess Skill In Man And Machine" more highly than you do
- I think it's one of the best books I've ever read. Maybe it's not for
programmers, but it does contain a brilliant analysis of the studies of what
human chess players are REALLY doing! I wish I had a copy - I read it 13 years
ago in the Brynmoor Jones Library at Hull University.

You are generally right about the scarcity of computer chess books - the world
hungrily awaits Bob Hyatt's book.

Komputer Korner

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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brucemo wrote:
>
snipped

>
> "Computer Chess Compendium", by David Levy. I don't have a copy of
> this. It is thick and expensive, and is a collection of papers, some of
> which are 40 years old. It's a good collection of assorted stuff, but
> if you have most of the other books, you probably have most of the
> useful stuff already.
>
> Good luck finding this stuff,
>
> bruce

You forgot about the best book of all, the one by Dan Spracklen. It
actually had real code ( I forget which language). I don't have the
book but it described the real code of his first program.
--
Komputer Korner
The komputer that kouldn't keep a password safe from
prying eyes, kouldn't kompute the square root of 36^n,
kouldn't find the real Motive and variation tree in
ChessBase, kouldn't compute the proper time in 2 variation
mode, missed the Hiarcs functionality in Extreme
and also misread the real learning feature of Nimzo.

Tom King

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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In article <32F84D...@nwlink.com>, brucemo <bru...@nwlink.com>
writes

>Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
>about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
>few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
>from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
>knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.
>
>If you can get ahold of the ICCA Journals, these are very useful. The
>information density is not very high, but if you have a stack of them
>about a foot thick, you're sure to find something interesting. I paid a
>couple of hundred bucks for mine, I have them going back over ten years,
>and I don't regret buying them. You'll find a lot of what is in the
>following books, in there.

I agree. I haven't all the journals, but I find that half (or more) of
the articles don't interest me. BUT! The ones that *do* interest me are
fantastic, and can kick off whole branches of ideas.

>
>"How Computers Play Chess", David Levy, Computer Science Press, 1991.
>This book is a good intro and is not terribly out of data. The book
>could benefit from more pseudo code, it is difficult to write a program
>from this book. There is a discussion of endgame databases, which is
>unique to this book. You can find this book new sometimes.
>

It is difficult to write a program from this book. Nevertheless it's
what I used as a basis for my program. I agree it needs more pseudocode;
it took me a while just to figure out alpha-beta from the description in
the book. That said, it's very readable, and enjoyable.

>"Computer Chess I", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1984. This book is out

[snip]


>
>"Computer Chess II", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1985. Same deal as

[snip]

These two are indeed out of print, and I'd love to buy a copy of one,
or both..


>
>"All the Right Moves", Carl Ebeling, MIT Press, 1987. This isn't a
>common book, but it's interesting. It's mainly about Hitech. It
>includes a discussion of move-ordering, and a little about Hitech's
>evaluation function, but it's not that valuable if you want to write a
>program.
>

This book taught me (and others) the very important "oracle" (piece
square values) concept. That concept was worth its price alone to me.

>"Advances in Computer Chess 1". This must exist but I haven't seen it.
> If anyone has a copy they don't want, name your price. I don't even
>care what's in it. This series is kind of low-density, but we're all
>breathing vacuum here, so you take your air where you can get it.

I've seen this, and the only article I found interesting was one that
appears in the Levy compilation, on "razoring". That article was written
by Birmingham et al., and was used in their program, "Master".

>
>"Advances in Computer Chess 3", M.R.B. Clark, ed., Pergammon, 1982.
>There's some search pseudo-code from Belle, on page 52, which is worth
>the price of the book, no matter what the price of the book is. This

[snip]
I think the Belle article is also in the Levy compilation book.

Other books include "Computer Chess" by Pachman and Kuehnmund, which is
dated, but worth a read. Also, "the new chess computer book" by Harding
is also dated, but interesting. It's the book that got me hooked on this
stuff in the first place. There's also Levy's "Computer Chess handbook",
which I don't have, but I recall has an article on how to construct a
"swap-off" function (SEE function as Bob and Bruce would call it).

The problem with most of the computer chess books is that they date so
quickly. In Harding's "new chess computer book", there's some problems
which micros of the mid-80's needed 24 hours or more to solve. Any
program worth it's salt these days will solve them at blitz speeds.

Cheers,
--
Tom King

Tom C. Kerrigan

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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Something I've noticed living here in Germany is that Germans actually
have computer chess books.

I was in Munich a few months ago and found *three* computer chess books in
one single store. Two of them had huge, brillant how-to chapters on
writing your own program, and one came with a CD with Nimzo source code.
These were several orders of magnatude better than anything I've ever seen
in English. I sure wish I had them when I started doing this. It would
have been much less painful than wading through GNU source.

If you're thinking of writing a chess program, this is a very good time to
learn German, too.

Cheers,
Tom

Kevin Miller

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Feb 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/7/97
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On 6 Feb 1997 01:02:46 -0800, Graham Douglass wrote:

>In article <32F84D...@nwlink.com>, brucemo says...


>>
>>Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
>>about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
>>few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
>>from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
>>knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.
>>

>{snip}
>
>Good post!
>
>I have the 1985 (I think) paperback "The Computer Chess Handbook" by David Levy,
>which I regard as one of my treasured possesions.
>
>I have to say, I regard "Chess Skill In Man And Machine" more highly than you do
>- I think it's one of the best books I've ever read. Maybe it's not for
>programmers, but it does contain a brilliant analysis of the studies of what
>human chess players are REALLY doing! I wish I had a copy - I read it 13 years
>ago in the Brynmoor Jones Library at Hull University.
>
>You are generally right about the scarcity of computer chess books - the world
>hungrily awaits Bob Hyatt's book.

I have several of the books as well, including Tim Harding's 1981 THE
CHESS COMPUTER BOOK, David Welsh's COMPUTER CHESS and COMPUTER CHESS
II, and a couple others -- fascinating stuff...

Kevin Miller

"Jazz is not dead; it just smells funny" -- Frank Zappa

Stephen L. Mitchell

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Feb 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/7/97
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brucemo <bru...@nwlink.com> wrote:

>Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
>about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
>few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
>from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
>knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.
>

>"Computer Chess I", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1984.
>

>"Computer Chess II", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1985.

I've got both of these but I don't think as much of them as Bruce
does. The majority of both books are annotated computer games from
before 1984. Only Belle was a master at this time and the bulk of the
other programs were below 1800. Volume II does contain an interesting
account by Boris Baczynskyj about working with the Spracklens.

>"Chess Skill in Man and Machine", Peter Frey, Springer Verlag, 1977,
>1983.

On the other hand I like these more. I've got both editions, I could
part with the first one if somebody is interested.

...

>Good luck finding this stuff,
>
>bruce

A couple other books and near books:

"Sargon - A Computer Chess Program", Dan and Kathe Spracklen, Hayden
Book Company, 1978. A complete listing of Sargon, written in Z-80
Assembly language, including graphic bitmaps for 12x8 pieces! The code
is commented but some are humorous like "JMPR DR0C ; Jump"

"The Joy of Computer Chess", David Levy, Prentice Hall, 1984. About
half the book is about programming.

Turbo Gameworks, Borland 1985. Source code and description of an X88
Program in Pascal.

Zorland Games Toolkit, Zorland 1986. Source code and description of a
bitboard program in C.

There was also a Pascal bitboard program in Byte by Slate and Atkin I
think. This was reprinted in a Byte book of some type.

Real good luck finding *this* stuff :)

slm

lensp...@aol.com

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Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
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In article <RjSksBA1...@hatbulb.demon.co.uk>, Tom King
<t...@hatbulb.demon.co.uk> writes:

>
>>"Computer Chess I", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1984. This book is out
>[snip]
>>
>>"Computer Chess II", David Welsh, Wm. C. Brown, 1985. Same deal as
>[snip]
>
>These two are indeed out of print, and I'd love to buy a copy of one,
>or both..

Is the publisher even still in business?


lensp...@aol.com

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Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
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In article <32FA30...@netcom.ca>, Komputer Korner <kor...@netcom.ca>
writes:

>
>You forgot about the best book of all, the one by Dan Spracklen. It
>actually had real code ( I forget which language). I don't have the
>book but it described the real code of his first program.

Sargon: a computer chess program. By Dan and Kathe Spracklen. Hayden
Book Company, 1978. The full Z80 assembly code. Unfortunately this book
is also long out of print, as the publisher went out of business years
ago. The complete program only takes up 8k on its original target system,
the old Jupiter Wavemate III. This program won the very first tournament
strictly for microcomputers at the West Coast Computer Faire in California
in 1978, winning all 5 games. At the 1987 ACM tournament, its sequel,
Sargon II, gained fame by becoming the first micro program to defeat a
mainframe (Tony Marsland's AWIT program), and tied for third with CHAOS
and Blitz 6.5.

The only difference I can see between Sargon and Sargon 2 is the opening
book. S1 only plays 1. e4 or d4 when white, 1. ... e5 or d5 as black,
depending on white's first move. S2's book goes 3 moves (6 ply) deep.


Dave Gomboc

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Feb 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/10/97
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In article <32F84D...@nwlink.com>, brucemo <bru...@nwlink.com> wrote:
>Here are the names a bunch of computer chess books, and what I think
>about them. Some of these books are in print, but most aren't. With a
>few exceptions you can find someone in here who will buy any of these
>from you, so if you see one, you can usually buy it secure in the
>knowledge that you can get rid of it if you don't want it.

Speaking of Computer Chess books, a fellow named "Andreas De Troy" had
picked up a book ("Computer Chess Compendium") which he was going to
ship to me.. I emailed him my (snail mail) address but a month later
he said he hadn't heard from me and asked for it again. So I've sent
it again, but I don't think he got it again. I am not getting mail
saying that my message bounced or anything, so I don't know what is
going wrong. :-(

The address I have for him is:
Andreas...@ped.kuleuven.ac.be

--
Dave Gomboc
drgo...@a.stu.athabascau.ca

Dave Gomboc

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Feb 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/11/97
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In article <5dmek7$2...@aurora.cs.athabascau.ca>,

Dave Gomboc <drgo...@a.stu.athabascau.ca> wrote:
>Speaking of Computer Chess books, a fellow named "Andreas De Troy" had
>picked up a book ("Computer Chess Compendium") which he was going to
>ship to me.. I emailed him my (snail mail) address but a month later
>he said he hadn't heard from me and asked for it again. So I've sent
>it again, but I don't think he got it again. I am not getting mail
>saying that my message bounced or anything, so I don't know what is
>going wrong. :-(
>
>The address I have for him is:
>Andreas...@ped.kuleuven.ac.be

I'm in contact with Andreas now. Thanks to those who helped out via email.

--
Dave Gomboc
drgomboc @ a.stu.athabascau.ca
(I wonder if that will throw off the email address seek engines.
I doubt it.)


Komputer Korner

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Feb 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/13/97
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Len, you will have to change your moniker to Encyclopedia Electrician.
Then we could call you EE.

Tim Mirabile

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Feb 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/14/97
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On 9 Feb 1997 23:28:39 GMT, lensp...@aol.com wrote:

>In article <32FA30...@netcom.ca>, Komputer Korner <kor...@netcom.ca>
>writes:
>
>>
>>You forgot about the best book of all, the one by Dan Spracklen. It
>>actually had real code ( I forget which language). I don't have the
>>book but it described the real code of his first program.
>
>Sargon: a computer chess program. By Dan and Kathe Spracklen. Hayden
>Book Company, 1978. The full Z80 assembly code. Unfortunately this book
>is also long out of print, as the publisher went out of business years
>ago. The complete program only takes up 8k on its original target system,
>the old Jupiter Wavemate III. This program won the very first tournament
>strictly for microcomputers at the West Coast Computer Faire in California
>in 1978, winning all 5 games. At the 1987 ACM tournament, its sequel,
>Sargon II, gained fame by becoming the first micro program to defeat a
>mainframe (Tony Marsland's AWIT program), and tied for third with CHAOS
>and Blitz 6.5.
>
>The only difference I can see between Sargon and Sargon 2 is the opening
>book. S1 only plays 1. e4 or d4 when white, 1. ... e5 or d5 as black,
>depending on white's first move. S2's book goes 3 moves (6 ply) deep.

Man, I could have used this book way back in the early 80's when I
hand disassembled parts of Sargon II for the TRS-80 and changed some
code to make it play against itself. This was back when I had way too
much time on my hands. :)

--
Tim Mirabile <t...@mail.htp.com> - http://www.webcom.com/timm/
Visit my homepage for information on USCF & FIDE rated chess on Long Island.
TimM on the Free Internet Chess Server - telnet://fics.onenet.net:5000/
Webmaster, tech support - ICD/Your Move Chess & Games: http://www.icdchess.com/
The opinions of my employers are not necessarily mine, and vice versa.

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