"Playing chess is like looking out over a limitless ocean; playing checkers is like looking into a bottomless well." Marion Tinsley, World checkers champion This extraordinary book tells the story of the creation of the world champion checkers computer program, Chinook. From its beginnings in 1988, Chinook became a worthy opponent to the world champion by 1990 and by 1992 had defeated all the world's top human players.
In this fascinating account, Jonathan Schaeffer, the originator and leader of the Chinook team, provides an engrossing story of failures and successes. He describes the human story behind the program and his own feelings in learning from mistakes and technical problems in a continuous effort to improve Chinook's performance. Over the ten year period beginning in 1988, we follow the development of Chinook from an innocent question asked over lunch through to the final match against the then world champion, Marion Tinsley. As the story unfolds, readers are introduced to the rules of checkers and the basics of computer game programs, as well as to the key figures of the story. As a result, all those interested in computing and games will enjoy this book. " Schaeffer's personal involvement in the Chinook project, along with his engaging and open story-telling makes the book surprisingly gripping." A.K. Dewdney"...We get a close look into the embarrassingly low-rent, codger-populated world of championship checkers... and a few painless lessons in the game itself... But the most memorable passages deal with Schaeffers's own bittersweet reactions. His brainchild does so well that he can see, all too clearly, its almost tragic effect on the cloistered society of checkers - and on his fellow human beings." Newsweek " Schaeffer's personal involvement in the Chinook project, along with his engaging and open story-telling makes the book surprisingly gripping." A.K. DewdneyThis extraordinary book tells the story of the world champion checkers program, Chinook. From its beginnings in 1988, Chinook quickly became a worthy opponent for the world championship. By 1992 it had defeated all of the world's top human players - except for one. The world champion, Dr. Marion Tinsley, was as close to perfection as was humanly possible. Although initially a research project, the Chinook effort soon changed directions and became a quest to defeat Tinsley. Instead of an impersonal contest between a man and a machine, this became a personal battle between two humans striving for supremacy at checkers.
show more show less