Chess and computers

The technology applied to chess is something that has always interested man; The advantages and advancements it can bring to the game are clear, although perhaps it can tear talent to pieces, since the players tend to master the theory very well and forget about their creativity.


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  • 1 Automata
  • 2 chess programs
    • 1 Chess Champion V
    • 2 Chess
  • 3 Kasparov VS Deep Blue
  • 4 Machine man
  • 5 Differences between human and program
  • 6 Sources


Chess machines have existed for centuries, but they were only devices designed to deceive the opponent. Its merit was that most of the time they were not discovered despite having someone inside them moving mechanisms. The most famous of these machines was “El Turco”, whose secret took many years to be discovered, although there were many others. The following are considered more famous:

  1. Von Kempelen’s Turk.
  2. The Ajeeb automat
  3. The Mephisto automaton

Unmasking in the USSR This type of machine aroused great expectation and a good number of onlookers came to observe its developments. Sooner or later they were discovered and their owner had to flee the scene for fear of being eliminated.

Chess programs

Behind these machines built for deception, there are real questions like the first programs and computers that played chess. These nascent chess programs that are known are:

  1. Alamos, by J. Kister.
  2. Berstei, by A. Berstein.
  3. CarnegicMellon, by A. Newell.

They were created between the years 1955 and 1958 . Although the first game played between a machine and a human was in 1952, between the computer “Turochamp” (created by Allan Turing) and an Edinburgh fan named Allick Glenie, when the machine won the game, but they say that his rival was quite lazy. Obviously, these first programs barely knew how to move the pieces and it was very easy to defeat them. What is important is its appearance and successive progress. They were the first stones of a long road. Germany is a major manufacturer of programs, and it was in 1965 when the first program appeared in that country, designed by K. Fischer. The best show of the 1960s was MacHack. It was calculated that 80% of the coffee players would be defeated before it. But even so, he was far from being able to confront the masters. One of the problems of the programs of this time is that they took a long time to analyze each move and made their rivals desperate for their delay in moving, and one of the easiest ways to beat them was to sacrifice pieces, since in this type of The game made many mistakes and played completely randomly. In1966 , in the middle of the Cold War, there was a confrontation between a Russian computer, M20, and an American one, the IBM 7090. The result was favorable for the Soviets whose machine won by 31. The plays of the match were transmitted by telephone. The commercialization of chess programs or machines reached the general public in the 1970s. Obviously they were not as powerful as those that competed with teachers, but they served the hobbyist to be able to play chess from home.

Chess Champion V

The Chess Champion V had a rating of 1,900 ELO points, which was not bad considering the time it was manufactured. In 1970 , the first computer championship was held in the United States , and it is relevant data because it was the first meeting between computers to be played in history. The winner turned out to be Chess 3.0, which is a program that would become the dominator of this championship by winning its next five versions (up to 6.0). In 1974 the first World Computer Championship was held in Stockholm ( Sweden ), where the Kaissa program was proclaimed champion. The table of results was the first Stockholm World Championship1974


In the 70s the dominant program was Chess, each of its versions favored a great improvement and from the third (Chess 3.0: 12001500 ELO points) the Chess 4.7 version was reached with 2200 ELO points. Several aspects were improved and the program was only used for 3 minutes in each movement. But his big flaw was his poor play in the endgame, something that made him far inferior to any teacher. This program was pioneering, and in 1976 it already participated in human tournaments, in which it achieved good results and was the first machine to defeat an International Master. It seemed clear that he was already prepared to put players of a certain level in serious trouble. In 1977This successful saga managed to win the title of champion of the world of programs. He even surprised everyone by coming to play a game with a piece sacrifice, something never seen before. Very curious is the bet made by MI David Levy, from Scotland . In August 1968In front of the world media, Levy (with a rating of 2325) bet £ 1,250 that no computer would beat him in the next 10 years in tournament conditions. The result of that bet was favorable to the Scottish, although in some game he was on the ropes and came to lose against Chess 4.6 in simultaneous matches, a modality that did not enter the bet. A year after losing with Chess 4.6, he managed to beat Chess 4.7 by 3’51’5, so he compensated himself for the humiliation suffered. Chess 4.7 was a new evolution: steps were taken forward and the distance between man and machine was so shortened that this computerHe defeated very strong players such as Walter Browne (winner of Wijk aan Zee) or Hübner. But this was just an appetizer because the Chess 4.8 level was so good that a player of the stature of Viktor Korchnoi (World Championship contender) agreed to play with him (with victory for the Russian-Swiss player). Although not everything was rosy for programmers, computers were still somewhat naive and still unable to anticipate attacks with part sacrifice.

Bobby Fischer faced the MacHack computer in 1978 and won with great ease. The machines were still a long way from being able to defeat the best players on the planet. Already in the 80s, the great dominator is the Mephisto program, which achieves the World Championship on 6 consecutive occasions ( 1985 – 1990 ). Although Gary Kasparov puts his programmers on the ground by clearly defeating him in Hamburg in 1985 , he played 32 games against different computers and beat them all.) Kasparov showed that by playing an aggressive game and with combinations, victory could be easily achieved. The machines still did not know how to respond to certain plays where material was sacrificed. In1989 there was a new duel between the machines and Gary Kasparov, this time it was the turn of the world champion computer: Deep Thought. The duel was called “Mind Against Matter” and was played in New York. Deep Thought came from winning a GM tournament (where Bent Larsen and Anthony Miles participated), although its rating of 2550 was far from the Russian’s 2800. Kasparov devastated in the two games that were played and again revealed the lack of creativity of the machines. Before the duel the world champion declared: “My confrontation with Deep Thought is due to the fact that I am obliged to defend the human race. I cannot accept that the computer is superior to the chess Grandmaster”.played a match against Frtitz 2.0 in Cologne (Germany). Kasparov won by 6’54’5 (+6, 4, = 1). After this, he did not play with a computer again until the most famous duels in history between a man and a machine were played.

Kasparov VS Deep Blue

The progress of the programmers had remained in the shadows for years, it seems that the stakes suffered against Kasparov had made them become cautious. But in 1996 they returned to the global front page by presenting a new computer called Deeper Blue, rather than a computer it seemed like a monstrous entity made of silicon and microprocessors. These two confrontations were enthusiastically followed by the whole chess world and much was written about them.

Machine man

After the success of Kasparov’s duels against Deep Blue, there were many confrontations between Grandmasters and chess programs. Every time a new program appeared on the market, a duel with a GM was sought to publicize it. In the last two duels of Kasparov (against Deep Junior and Fritz) the criticism attributed to him a lack of competitiveness and there was even a rumor that the ties were agreed. Personally this version is not credible, because it is doubtful that a winner like Kasparov agrees on a result beforehand. This encounter against Fritz 3D occurred without a board and chips: these were virtual and Kasparov could see them with the help of 3D glasses. Gary’s token movement was by voice commands. In 2002Smirin gave the big surprise by beating 53 of four of the best shows. The last major confrontations between humans and machines have been held in the Spanish city of Bilbao. There a tournament was organized that pitted 3 GM against 3 of the strongest programs in the world. In the two editions that were contested, the machines were clearly winners, despite the fact that the selected GMs were among the first in the FIDE Ranking (in 2005 they were three former world champions). The programs do not stop surprising us, currently there is one that plays admirably. This is Rybka and his style of play is reminiscent of a 19th century player. It is difficult to understand how a machine can combine in that way. The most reasonable explanation is that you have a base of games so broad that you can recognize certain combinations and thus be able to carry them out.

Differences between human and program

As already mentioned, computers analyze millions of plays in a second. Man can only do it in an order of 3. Computers cannot learn, so if they make a mistake they will repeat it again unless it is reprogrammed. Man quickly learns from his mistakes and that helps him to improve. Computers do not tire, nor are they distracted, nor can they forget anything they have learned. Man, of course, yes. The man can change his way of play throughout the game as it suits him, the program has to play according to the order in which they have programmed it. Man has a very important characteristic: intuition, he can exploit weaknesses of his rival and analyze a position as the computer cannot. That is why the human can make purely intuitive part sacrifices that machines cannot come up with. A computer can sacrifice pieces, but at close gain, it is unable to make a sacrifice simply to weaken the opponent’s defense (such as Mikhail Tahl’s sacrifices). The computer has a large base of openings and in this phase it is clearly superior to man. Although the man can find novelties in this phase of the game something that the silicon monsters cannot achieve. The computer has a large base of openings and in this phase it is clearly superior to man. Although the man can find novelties in this phase of the game something that the silicon monsters cannot achieve. The computer has a large base of openings and in this phase it is clearly superior to man. Although the man can find novelties in this phase of the game something that the silicon monsters cannot achieve.


by Abdullah Sam
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