Well, very interesting and different times from today. Basically, a talented programmer, computer chess hobbyist could have written a world level chess engine writing in a matter of 1 year an engine from scratch. And it doesn't matter that there were many world level programs as long as available commercial or not software and dedicated units were no stronger to significantly weaker.Joost Buijs wrote: ↑Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:27 pmI'm well aware of Sargon, I still must have a booklet somewhere with it's Zilog assembler source, I do remember the swap-off code they used.Laskos wrote: ↑Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:59 amWere you aware back then that your program rates high among available at that time on the market programs and dedicated units? That you were close to the top of micro-computer chess programming? People were much less informed and connected back then, at least usually, maybe you were unaware of the place of your program, that's why you lost the sources and everything.
Sargon I of 1978 (considered one of the best programs of its time, to early 1980s in Sargon II version on Z80)
was rewritten from the book to Intel PC and ported to UCI
I had fun with it.
I think that at the beginning of the 80s there were several other micro-computer chess programs reaching the same level. Sargon got famous because it won a microcomputer tournament in 1978, and because the Spracklens sold their source in booklet form later on. This doesn't mean that there weren't any other non commercial programs that reached approximately the same level. At least it never struck me as being something special, developments were going very fast during the 80s.
Most of the information I started with came from the book 'Chess Skill in Man and Machine' edited by Peter Frey. And there were several articles about computer-chess published in Byte Magazine, for instance about Chess 0.5 by Larry Atkin and Peter Frey. I still have the book, but the magazines are long gone.
Sargon I is not that weak, today I checked with most trustworthy UCI_Elo enabled engines: Shredder 12 Elo 1600 and Stockfish 11 Elo 1600, they came remarkably consistent ranking Sargon I at 1700 Elo engine on modern hardware.
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Score of sargon1978 vs DeepShredder12UCI Elo 1600: 11 - 5 - 4 [0.650] ... sargon1978 playing White: 5 - 3 - 2 [0.600] 10 ... sargon1978 playing Black: 6 - 2 - 2 [0.700] 10 ... White vs Black: 7 - 9 - 4 [0.450] 20 Elo difference: 107.5 +/- 152.4, LOS: 93.3 %, DrawRatio: 20.0 % 20 of 20 games finished.
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Score of sargon1978 vs SF_11 Elo 1600: 13 - 7 - 0 [0.650] ... sargon1978 playing White: 8 - 2 - 0 [0.800] 10 ... sargon1978 playing Black: 5 - 5 - 0 [0.500] 10 ... White vs Black: 13 - 7 - 0 [0.650] 20 Elo difference: 107.5 +/- 177.3, LOS: 91.0 %, DrawRatio: 0.0 % 20 of 20 games finished.