Computer Chess tournament formats?

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houston

Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by houston » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:01 pm

Hey guys I am producing a film on computer chess programmers at a tournament in 1980. We are trying to understand better the format of what a tournament like then would have been?

For example, was it a round robin format? Single elimination?

How long would games take?

Anybody know where video of such tournaments would be?

Anybody attend an early tournament and be willing to discuss the experience with us?

Any help provided would be greatly appreciated.

Houston

Adam Hair
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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by Adam Hair » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:40 pm

houston wrote:Hey guys I am producing a film on computer chess programmers at a tournament in 1980. We are trying to understand better the format of what a tournament like then would have been?

For example, was it a round robin format? Single elimination?

How long would games take?

Anybody know where video of such tournaments would be?

Anybody attend an early tournament and be willing to discuss the experience with us?

Any help provided would be greatly appreciated.

Houston
Hi Houston,

The first person in this forum to contact is Dr. Robert Hyatt, who goes by Bob. He is the only member of this forum that I know was competing around 1980. He might could also help you contact others.

Don Dailey, I believe, started competing in the mid 80's. He might also have contacts with programmers from that era.

I just remembered that H.G. Muller, a member here, competed tournaments in that era. Perhaps he could provide some information.

This website, http://chessprogramming.wikispaces.com/Home , contains a wealth of information concerning computer chess.

Thorsten Czub, a long-time enthusiast, might could provide additional information.

I wish I could help you and Mr. Bujalski more, but I am fairly new to this hobby myself.

Good Luck,
Adam
Last edited by Adam Hair on Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

houston

Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by houston » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:43 pm

Thanks for replying. We are speaking with Dr. Hyatt and I'll follow up on your other suggestions. Awesome. Have a great weekend.

Here is the FB page for our film:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Computer ... 1913978933

Please Fan / Like it and keep up with us.

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hgm
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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by hgm » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:42 pm

In the early eighties I participated in the Dutch National Championship a number of times, which was just starting. I was just a student in those days that had written a Chess program as a hobby on a home-built computer. The first championships, in '81 and '82 were played with very long games, so that a game lasted the entire day. This because computers were quite weak in those days, and the organizers thought that by letting them think extremely long, they could avoid them becoming the laughing stock of real Chess players. (This ploy of course failed miserably.) To still get enough games during the tourney, participants had to play three games at the same time. As computer equipment in those days was not standardized at all, and many participants were using home-built equipment, this was very difficult to organize, as we usually only owned a single computer. In '82 I played three games simultaneously on a single computer, using a multi-tasking operating system I had written myself especially for the purpose.

The whole event was very chaotic, and full of surprises. One participant was playing on a computer that was just a printed-circuit board with all chips in view, including the EPROM chip that contained his program. A journalist thought this was so impressive he wanted to take a close-up photograph. But the flash of his camera was so intense, that it completely erased the chess program from the chip (which did have a quartz window especially for the purpose of being able to erase it with UV light, and then re-program it.

Later tourneys used more reasonable time controls, so that we could play three games per day after one another. At some point they asked me to re-join the tourney because it had its 5th anniversary. I had really stopped working on the program at that time, and did no longer have the (by that time completely obsolete) computer that could run it. So I decided to build a computer especially for the purpose, that fitted entirely in a small matchbox,containing 5 chips (some sawed off, to make them fit) and an LED 7-segment display pried out of a pocket calculator. To enter a move you had to tap on two staples in the lid. This was big fun and attracted a lot of attention, especially since it managed to win some games from opponents thousand times it size, and it even made it to national television.

Image

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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by Adam Hair » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:07 pm

hgm wrote:In the early eighties I participated in the Dutch National Championship a number of times, which was just starting. I was just a student in those days that had written a Chess program as a hobby on a home-built computer. The first championships, in '81 and '82 were played with very long games, so that a game lasted the entire day. This because computers were quite weak in those days, and the organizers thought that by letting them think extremely long, they could avoid them becoming the laughing stock of real Chess players. (This ploy of course failed miserably.) To still get enough games during the tourney, participants had to play three games at the same time. As computer equipment in those days was not standardized at all, and many participants were using home-built equipment, this was very difficult to organize, as we usually only owned a single computer. In '82 I played three games simultaneously on a single computer, using a multi-tasking operating system I had written myself especially for the purpose.

The whole event was very chaotic, and full of surprises. One participant was playing on a computer that was just a printed-circuit board with all chips in view, including the EPROM chip that contained his program. A journalist thought this was so impressive he wanted to take a close-up photograph. But the flash of his camera was so intense, that it completely erased the chess program from the chip (which did have a quartz window especially for the purpose of being able to erase it with UV light, and then re-program it.

Later tourneys used more reasonable time controls, so that we could play three games per day after one another. At some point they asked me to re-join the tourney because it had its 5th anniversary. I had really stopped working on the program at that time, and did no longer have the (by that time completely obsolete) computer that could run it. So I decided to build a computer especially for the purpose, that fitted entirely in a small matchbox,containing 5 chips (some sawed off, to make them fit) and an LED 7-segment display pried out of a pocket calculator. To enter a move you had to tap on two staples in the lid. This was big fun and attracted a lot of attention, especially since it managed to win some games from opponents thousand times it size, and it even made it to national television.

Image
I don't know about Houston, but I found this to be extremely interesting. Thank you, H.G..

By the way, I knew about the matchbox chess computer, but not the method of input. :shock: 8-)

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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by hgm » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:07 pm

Well, the input was quite cumbersome, with only a single contact, and I was constantly hoping the opponent would not play h7-h8. I had designed a system where a first touch would bring an A or 1 in the display, which would linger for about half a second, and if you would release and tap again while it was still in the display, it would change into B/2, etc. upto H/8. When you let the 0.5 sec expire, the character then in the display would be considered entered.

When you kept touching longer than 1 sec, the program would set up a new game, but it would remember the game history of the previous game, and if you continued touching, it started counting up in the display, 1, o, 2, o, 3, o, ..., and when you would release when it says, say, 14, it would set up the position after the 14th move. This to correct entry errors, which frequently occurred, also because of the opponent operator performing wrong moves on the board, etc.

After the first playing day I was so exhausted of constantly staring at the tiny display to see if it had already moved, that I decided it needed sound. So I slipped in a piezo disk between the drawer and the wrapper of the match box, to make it beep when it had a move. 8-)

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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by Roger Brown » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:26 pm

hgm wrote:Well, the input was quite cumbersome, with only a single contact, and I was constantly hoping the opponent would not play h7-h8. I had designed a system where a first touch would bring an A or 1 in the display, which would linger for about half a second, and if you would release and tap again while it was still in the display, it would change into B/2, etc. upto H/8. When you let the 0.5 sec expire, the character then in the display would be considered entered.

When you kept touching longer than 1 sec, the program would set up a new game, but it would remember the game history of the previous game, and if you continued touching, it started counting up in the display, 1, o, 2, o, 3, o, ..., and when you would release when it says, say, 14, it would set up the position after the 14th move. This to correct entry errors, which frequently occurred, also because of the opponent operator performing wrong moves on the board, etc.

After the first playing day I was so exhausted of constantly staring at the tiny display to see if it had already moved, that I decided it needed sound. So I slipped in a piezo disk between the drawer and the wrapper of the match box, to make it beep when it had a move. 8-)


Hello H.G.,

Good grief!

And here I am all spoilt with mouse and keyboard input with arrows and drag and drop....plus sound if I want!

That was some history lesson.

Do those early experiences inform your minimalist (size and code wise, not features!) approach to engine programming today or is it just an intellectual challenge to see how small a size you can squeeze an engine into?

Later.

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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by hgm » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:01 am

Well, you could say one inspired the other. Micro-Max was conceived as the result of a coffee-table discussion about whether high-levelprogramming languages or machine code would have higher information density. As my first Chess program (Usurpator I for the 6800 micro-processor) was running in 2KB of memory, this made me curious if I could acheive the same thing in C code.

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Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by gerold » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:05 pm

houston wrote:Thanks for replying. We are speaking with Dr. Hyatt and I'll follow up on your other suggestions. Awesome. Have a great weekend.

Here is the FB page for our film:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Computer ... 1913978933

Please Fan / Like it and keep up with us.
I went to the FB page posted above. Just a few pictures and a few posts by ( computer chess) on that page. Is the film still on track . Did anyone donate money to that project.

houston

Re: Computer Chess tournament formats?

Post by houston » Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:39 am

Sorry for the delay guys...yes the film is very much on track and kept me off the Forum for a bit working on prep...here is more on the film:

http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/proj ... uter_chess

We start shooting Aug 18th and sometime before then I'll start doing more of a FB push.

@H.G.Muller That was very genrous of you to post that info. I read it with Andrew and it was very useful. The flash on the quartz window is priceless! We might steal that for the movie. We loved your matchbox diagram too.

Keep the stories coming guys! Thanks.

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