One Jump Ahead pp 174-202 | Cite as

I Feel Like a Teenager Again

  • Jonathan Schaeffer


While Norm and I were in Tupelo, Paul Lu was in London for the second Computer Olympiad. This year the entrants were Chinook, Colossus (Martin Bryant), and Checker-Mate (Derek Oldbury and Adrian Millett). Gil Dodgen was in Tupelo and couldn’t attend. For some reason, he didn’t arrange to send his program to London and get someone to operate it.


Open Book Chess Player Small Advantage World Championship Strong Side 
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  1. 1.
    Adrian Millett, “Derek Oldbury: A Eulogy,” Journal of the International Computer Chess Association, 17, no. 3(1994): pp. 174–175.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Bryant, personal communication, August 2, 1996.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In Heuristic Programming in Artificial Intelligence 2: The Second Computer Olympiad, pp. 46–47 (see Further Reading).Google Scholar
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    Samuel played an important role in the exciting history of computer science. For an interesting read, see Eric A. Weiss, “Eloge: Arthur Lee Samuel (1901–1990),” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 14, no. 3(1992): pp. 55–69. Samuel made contributions in a number of areas. In his years at Stanford, he was a valuable member of the TEX typesetting project. Donald Knuth, one of the preeminent computer scientists in the world today, provides an interesting anecdote (TUGboat, 11, no. 4(1990): p. 498): “[Samuel] took a long look at my GFtoDVI program, which originally had a fancy algorithm for positioning labels....I was quite happy with the algorithm, but he didn’t like the way the labels looked in his own experiments. So he made his own personal GFtoDVI and hesitantly showed it to me. At first I thought it was terrible—my ‘elegant’ data structure for non-overlapping rectangles had been replaced by a brute-force search—but soon I had to admit that (a) Art’s method gave better results than mine, and (b) it also ran faster. Needless to say, I soon abandoned my original approach and adopted his scheme. Sophisticated computer science can sometimes be too seductive.” Now, I wonder where Samuel got the idea for a brute-force approach?Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jim Propp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unpublished document.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fischer’s case is not quite as clear as Tinsley’s. Many people regard the current world champion, Garry Kasparov, as the best. Even the previous world champion, Anatoly Karpov, will get some votes. José Raul Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine, players from the first half of this century, often get consideration.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    In fact, Fischer is now an outlaw from the United States. He played his 1992 comeback match against Boris Spassky in the former Yugoslavia, violating U.S. sanctions.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dap Hartmann wrote of my complaints about “looming deadlines” (personal correspondence, 1996): “Let me tell you something about yourself, Jonathan. If you have a deadline, you’ll work your ass off. You may feel guilty to Steph and Rebecca [my daughter] about this but, after all, it is a deadline. What can you do? Honestly, I think you are all too happy about some of these (self-imposed?) deadlines. They relieve your conscience.” He’s called my bluff. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Equivalent to transmitting just 100–150 characters per second. Today, in 1996, modems are roughly thirty times faster.Google Scholar
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    In Heuristic Programming in Artificial Intelligence 2: The Second Computer Olympiad, p. 46 (see Further Reading).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ed Scheidt, personal communication, March 16, 1991.Google Scholar
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    Henry Baird and Ken Thompson, “Reading Chess,” IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 12, no. 6(1990): pp. 552–559.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Norman Wexler gave it to me. He was accessible through e-mail, and helped us analyze some of the openings.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    ACF Bulletin, December 1990, p. 2.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Quotations are taken from “The Chinook Computer Versus the Terrible Tinsley,” Checkers, March 1991, pp. 2–8.Google Scholar
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  21. 21.
    After the game I had to check out my move. It turns out that there is nothing wrong with it, but Chinook’s move offers better chances (surely you didn’t doubt this).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    ACF Bulletin, June 1991, pp. 17–18.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Schaeffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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