A Chess Playing Program for the IBM 7090 Computer

  • Alan Kotok


This paper covers the development of a chess playing program. The preliminary planning led to the decision to use a variable depth search, terminating at either an arbitrary maximum, or at a stable position. Two schemes of controlling material balance are discussed. Of major significance is the use of the “alpha-beta” heuristic, a method of pruning the tree of moves. This heuristic makes use of values obtained at previous branches in the tree to eliminate the necessity to search obviously worse branches later.

The program has played four long game fragments in which it played chess comparable to an amateur with about 100 games experience.


Material Balance Legal Move Principal Variation Move Tree Chess Board 
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Copyright information

© David Levy 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Kotok

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