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Old September 4th 05, 08:07 PM
Visitor
 
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Default Collecting old chess programs. Where are the authors?

There is currently an attempt to collect old chess programs for archiving.
It's reaching the point where the old ones are fast disappearing.

I've posted a couple of messages in Computer Chess mailing list about
collecting some programs

Here's the URL, but it requires membership to read.
http://www.talkchess.com/forums/1/message.html?447344

if needed I can be contacted at (reverse the words)

net -dot- cebridge -at- Carey

***
I have gotten in contact with a guy who does have a collection of old
programs. Unfortunately, he's going to be out of town for serveral weeks, so
we'll have to pick up the conversation then.

He did however say that he *may* (only *may*, no guarantee!) have:

1) Blitz from 1981 or so.
2) Awit
3) Tinkerbelle & parabelle
4) MacHack VI (executable only. No source.)
5) Chess 3.0

plus a few others.

But, we are going to have to contact the authors to get their permission to
distribute these things.

(Christopher in the pdp-10 newsgroup talked to Mr. Greenblatt and was told
that he does think he still has the source for MacHack VI!! If so, that's a
heck of a find!!)


Old programs that I currently have:

1) Sargon
2) Byte magazine Chess 0.5
3) MacHack VI executable
4) 'Chess' from Unix from 79. (Written by Ken Thompson??)
5) CheckMo-II from 1974. For pdp.
6) a few unnamed chess programs for the PDP 6, 8, and 11.
7) A few mychess executables.
8) Microchess 1
9) Sinclear zx-80 (famous only for its size.)

Not really a major collection. (I also have a few commercial ones, such as
Sargon 2, Atari 2600 chess, and a few others. But those aren't really
suitable for distribution.)


So, if you know the location of any of the chess program authors from the
late 60's, 1970s, or early 80's, let me know.

If you know the author personally, please ask them yourself about the
possibility of collection and distributing their old programs. Questions
such as that are accepted much better from somebody they know than from a
stranger.

Programs that would be nice to still find:

Tech (1 & 2)
Kaissa (not bloody likely!)
T.Belle aka TinkerBelle
Blitz & CrayBlitz
Chess 3.x & 4.x
NuChess (aka Chess 5.x)
WITA / AWIT
Chaos
Pawnking
MyChess (source, we have plenty of executables)
CoKo IV
Belle (circuit diagram and program.)


And I'm sure there are many more that aren't coming to me right off the top
of my head. It's nice if the programs are historically famous, or
significant, but actually any chess program from the 60's or mid 70's is
historically significant simply due to the age. From the mid 70s to the mid
80's, possibly, but by that time there were lots of programs.


People to look for:

David Kittenger
James Gillogy.
Robert Hyatt... (Easy to find...)
David Slate
Larry Atkin
Ken Thompson
Dennis Cooper
Ed Kozdrowicki

And I'm sure there are others who's name I can't think of right off hand. If
you know them (either personally or just know where they are at), then ask
them....

Remember, questions like these are accepted much better from people they
know than from a stranger. And be polite!

You might also want to assure them that we have no intention of making fun
of their programming skills or anything like that. Many of these programs
were done as a hobby in whatever spare time they could find. The programs
were written only for their own use, so the quality of the code or comments
may not be the best quality.

I think all of us have early programs we are embarrased by, so why should
they be any different. The only real difference is that they were 'there'
back then, they used much more primative systems, and they were sucessful
and most of us weren't.



It's possible the computer musemu might be interested in this stuff, but we
need to collect it first.


So, if you can think of any programs that we should try to find, let me
know.

If you can think of anybody we should contact, let me know.

If you know where any of the authors are at, let me know.

If you know the authors personally, feel free to ask them.

If you have a collection... Let me know.


I may not be the best person to be 'in charge', but since there is nobody
else even making an effort, I guess it's up to me until somebody better
qualified stands up.
***

and

***
I should also add that we might be willing to accept:

1) Any articles of significance.

2) physical chess computers, if you are willing to donate them. (Fat
chance! But, if the project gains some momentum and becomes successful, then
perhaps you might consider it.)


For the articles, either the originals, or a good clean scanned electronic
copy of the original article.

Articles of interest may include... Oh, the paper by Arthur Samuel in 1959.
And his followup article. The article by the Spraklens. Byte Chess 0.5's
article. The chapter about Chess 4.5, since that influenced so many
programs. And whatever else. Too many to think of right off hand.

More physical items might include actual computer chess books or copies of
the JICCA that you might want to donate. (However, again, due to their
physical nature, we wouldn't be able to post these on the web. *IF*, and
that is *IF*, we get enough physical stuff to have a physical archive, and
we are actually sucessful in our archiving attempt, then perhaps you might
want to consider it.)

(Even at this early stage, we'll still accept physical stuff. Whether it's
phyiscal copies of chess programs, old chess computers, manuals, books, etc.
I was just meaning that you might feel more comfortable waiting to see if
our archiving attempt is sucessful before donating anything physical. After
all, it's entirely possible this effort will fizzle out, just like past
attempts by other people.)

***




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Old September 5th 05, 07:55 AM
Alexander Wagner
 
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In article , Visitor wrote:

Hi!

Blitz & CrayBlitz


According to the readmes this is crafty. So maybe Robert
Hyatt might be of help here.

--

Kind regards,
Alexander Wagner
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Old September 5th 05, 04:28 PM
Visitor
 
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"Alexander Wagner"
Blitz & CrayBlitz


According to the readmes this is crafty. So maybe Robert
Hyatt might be of help here.


Nope.

I've asked him a couple times.

He says that because of there having been so many different systems used and
it's been so many years, he no longer has the older versions.

He's pretty sure he has a nearly pure assembly version of Cray blitz, but
none of the old stuff or the portable stuff (which are the ones we'd like to
preserve. Such as Blitz, and the version of CrayBlitz that won the world
chapionship.)

He did once say that he thought he might possibly have an old tape that had
an early version on it, but that he wasn't sure and that if it the tape did
exist, he no longer had anyway to get the data off it anyway.

Back in those days, you just didn't stick a floppy in and make a backup
copy. You saved it on the tape format of the system you were using. When
new systems came out, you might not have a way to read the old stuff
anymore, if you even thought about it. The CS department would probably
keep the old backups for a year or two and if nobody said anything by then,
throw them away or reuse them.

Plus, like most programmers, you wouldn't always keep every backup copy
made. You'd keep the current 'best' copy, a few test versions, and maybe a
few old versions. The old stuff simply wouldn't be needed.

It is possible that somebody at Cray might have kept a copy of the one that
won the world championship the first time, but I wouldn't bet on it.




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Old September 5th 05, 08:50 PM
greyhipster
 
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There is another oldie which played rather well. It was called
ColossusChess for the Commodore 64. I think it's available by download
from various sites.

By the way, whatever happened to the Spracklens? The program they
wrote for Fidelity's "Excellence" chess computer was very strong for
it's day.

stoned love
GreyHipster

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Old September 5th 05, 09:19 PM
Visitor
 
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"greyhipster" wrote in message
oups.com...
There is another oldie which played rather well. It was called
ColossusChess for the Commodore 64. I think it's available by download
from various sites.


That would fall into the very murky area of copyrighted material.

There are lots of commercial and/or shareware works that should be saved.

Hopefully, we'll get enough to archive them. But we probably wont be able
to distribute them.

At the moment, we would like to concentrate on the classics from the 60s,
70's and early 80's.

The later micro stuff from the 80s are interesting, but it's also rather
numerous and copyrighted. Even in the early to mid 80's there were probably
a hundred different programs available for a variety of different platforms.

Still, if somebody wanted to come up with a list of the older microcomputer
programs, their dates, for what platforms, etc., that could certainly help
later. The various 8 bit micros, the game consoles, etc. Finding public /
warez copies could be helpful, but not all of the old warez stuff is
complete. Most don't have any sort of manual, either.



By the way, whatever happened to the Spracklens? The program they
wrote for Fidelity's "Excellence" chess computer was very strong for
it's day.


Don't know.

I'd like to get in touch with one of them about the Sargon book they
published. Technically it's copyrighted but it definetly falls into the
category of something that should be preserved and published in the
collection.

I should have added their name to the list, but I forgot.

Based on what little I've heard in the Computer Chess Club (a very active
mailing list), the two of them have been seperated for some time now. (No
idea why, and it's none of my business why. Probably just one of those
things that happen.)

I don't know any further details. I assume that neither of them is involved
in computer chess anymore, though. After all, they aren't young anymore and
it can be difficult to maintain an active interest in something for that
many years.




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Old September 6th 05, 07:41 AM
Alexander Wagner
 
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In article , Visitor wrote:

Hi!

"Alexander Wagner"
Blitz & CrayBlitz


According to the readmes this is crafty. So maybe Robert
Hyatt might be of help here.


Nope.


Oh, then there is a "bug" in the readme. Sorry.

He says that because of there having been so many
different systems used and it's been so many years, he no
longer has the older versions.


Hm, while back I made a dump of his ftp but I don't believe
it reaches down to 1.0

Back in those days, you just didn't stick a floppy in and
make a backup copy.


Of course. (I'm working on _real_ computers, too. Not a
Cray, but we have some workstations arround where you still
apply the OS patches by inserting a tape, or even boot up
the box from such media. At least quite a lot of systems
here allow this

Plus, like most programmers, you wouldn't always keep
every backup copy made. You'd keep the current 'best'
copy, a few test versions, and maybe a few old versions.
The old stuff simply wouldn't be needed.


Ahm, ok, in this area I'm a young guy and all my software
exists down to v0.1 running alomost my entire home on cvs
with daily automatized commits. But back in the elder
days... Well of course.

--

Kind regards,
Alexander Wagner
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Old September 6th 05, 04:27 PM
Visitor
 
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"Alexander Wagner" wrote in
message He says that because of there having been so many
different systems used and it's been so many years, he no
longer has the older versions.


Hm, while back I made a dump of his ftp but I don't believe
it reaches down to 1.0


Crafty is a complete rewrite of his old programs.

If you read the comments in Crafty, you can see his progress from
practically nothing, to getting it to play legal moves, and so on.

The data structures, the program structure, the evaluator, etc.

Blitz & Cray blitz didn't use bitboards. (Well, CrayBlitz had them, but
they weren't the primary data structure, like it is with Crafty. They were
just there because the vector hardware needed them.)

In fact he said his later versions of Cray Blitz are pretty heavy assembly
code. The whole program had pretty much been rewritten for the vector
nature of the Cray hardware and the multiple processors it has.





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