Man and machine: Chess achievements and chess thinking
A skillful human chessplayer usually achieves the title of chessmaster by the time he is 20 years old, after five or six years of relatively serious devotion to the game. Chronologically at least, computer chess is about as old as the typical new chessmaster; computers first played complete games in 1957 and they have been participants in tournaments with human beings and fellow computers since 1966. Despite much discussion, research, revision, and competition in subsequent years—and despite contrary claims by some computer scientists—the chess programs of 1976 are not much stronger than those of 1966. A human chess enthusiast would have long since abandoned his quest for a master’s or expert’s rating if he had progressed at the snail’s pace displayed by his computer counterparts. Rather than being “barred from competition” in serious tourneys, today’s computer chessplayer would be welcomed as “just another duffer” by most of the competitors.
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