Home * Engines * Planner

Jonathan Schaeffer's first chess program. When Schaeffer started studying CS at the University of Waterloo in 1979, he met Ron Hansen, co-author of Ribbit and Treefrog, who generously gave him a copy of his program, which Schaeffer used to learn how to write a chess program. For his master's thesis, he translated the Fortran program into the Z programming language (similar to the well known C programming language), as a code base to implement own chess knowledge and long range planning.


Jonathan Schaeffer in One Jump Ahead [1]:
My time at Waterloo greatly benefited from the presence of Ron Hansen. He was author of Ribbit (later called Treefrog), one of the strongest chess programs around. He generously gave me a copy of his program, which I used to learn how to write a chess program... Hansen's program was written in a computer programming language called Fortran. For my master's thesis, I translated it into the Z programming language (similar to the well known C programming language).

Everything I read about chess programs convinced me that they were ignorant; they had little in the way of chess knowledge. Of course, since I knew a lot about chess, it would be a simple matter of translating my expertise into code and voilĂ , success! I spent a year working on the program, adding as much knowledge as I could to it. The new program, dubbed Planner, failed to live up to my performance expectations. Gradually my enthusiasm began to wave. The chess knowledge that I had added was simple because important concepts seemed hard to program. The machine required a precise specification but my chess knowledge was imprecise. Further, for every piece of knowledge that I added, there always seemed to be an endless stream of exceptions. This was going to be harder than I thought.

I finished my master's thesis, titled Long Range Planning in Computer Chess, and graduated in 1980. [2]

See also


  1. ^ Jonathan Schaeffer (1997, 2009). One Jump Ahead. 1. This Was Going to Be Easy, pp. 7
  2. ^ Jonathan Schaeffer (1980). Long-Range Planning in Computer Chess. Master's thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Waterloo

What links here?

Up one Level