One Jump Ahead pp 397-425 | Cite as

Let Me Suggest the Unthinkable

  • Jonathan Schaeffer


Compared to the 1992 version, Chinook was like a new program. On the hardware side, the SGI Challenge computer had twice as many processors (sixteen versus eight), each of which was four times faster, and there was four times as much memory (1024 MB versus 256 MB). The opening book was twelve times larger, with better information that had been more thoroughly verified and that contained many valuable cooks (one plutonium, eight gold, and over forty silver). The databases now included the coveted eight-piece database. The search (both sequential and parallel) had been tuned and the knowledge thoroughly tested (well, maybe not that thoroughly, as the Tinsley game in the U.S. championship showed) and improved.


Upset Stomach Match Rule Opening Book Silicon Graphic World Championship 
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  1. 1.
    Jim Propp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unpublished document.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    David Slate and Larry Atkins developed the Chess 4.6. This program won virtually all the major computer chess tournaments in the 1970s. Many of the ideas used in modern chess and checkers programs stem from their pioneering work. See the excellent book Chess Skill in Man and Machine (see Further Reading).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Leopold played the Samuel program in 1957. He claims to be the first master to play checkers against a computer, defeating the computer handily. Jules recalls that Dr. Samuel asked him, “Do you think the computer will ever be able to beat you?” His response was “No, never.” Tinsley told me that he once received a telephone call in the middle of the night from Jules. “Marion,” Jules said excitedly. “Did you know that ‘Tinsley’ is an anagram for ‘Yeltsin’?” And with that, he hung up.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    He presented his research at the triennial 1990 Advances in Computer Chess conference in London, which was held alongside the Computer Olympiad. He watched Chinook’s games, including the infamous loss to Colossus.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Raymond was so upset about the size of the lobsters that he insisted on having them weighed. The hotel staff dutifully brought out a scale and weighed them. The hotel was happy with the result; Raymond wasn’t. The great lobster debate continued as tempers flared. We decided not to stay around long enough to watch the costly conclusion to the crustacean conflict.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Martin Bryant, personal communication, July 16, 1996.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    For obvious reasons, the names of some of the news article authors have been omitted.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jim Propp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unpublished document.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Judith Gaines, “Computer Checked,” Boston Globe, August 23, 1994.Google Scholar
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  11. 11.
    Rob Lake, personal communication, May, 1996.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jim Propp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unpublished document.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Martin Bryant, personal communication, August 2, 1996.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    A reference to our lifetime score against Lafferty to that date in time: eight wins for Don, six for Chinook and seventy-eight draws.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Boston Globe editorial, August 29, 1994, p. 10.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Apt Data Services, Ltd., August 23, 1994.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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