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TechMate, (TechMate Chess)
a commercial chess program for the Atari ST by Alexander and Barbara Szabo, produced and market by their own company Szabo Software since 1986 [1], and distributed also through third party vendors like MichTron Corp. [2] [3] in the US, and Microdeal [4] and Software Direct [5] in the UK. TechMate has an own GUI with 2D Graphics Board and entering moves completely mouse-driven.
TechMate Screen [6] [7]


TechMate was derived from Tech 3, Alex Szabo's 1984 thesis program written in Fortran and IBM 370 Assembly to run on an Amdahl 470V/8 of the University of British Columbia. Tech 3 was developed in the spirit of the original Tech program by James Gillogly, with knowledge applied at the top of the search tree as positional presort rather than at the leaf nodes using complex evaluation [8].

MateTech performed an alpha-beta search with quiescence and iterative deepening with aspiration windows , using a transposition table with Zobrist hashing. The pure material based rudimentary evaluation of Tech 3 was extended by a strategic component [9].

The Technology Curve

As published in their 1988 ICCA Journal paper [10], Alex and Barbara Szabo revisited the technology curve by playing 6882 games between copies of TechMate set at different time rates, with the conclusion that the advantage of improved technology rapidly decreases when machines and algorithms become more powerful. Ernst A. Heinz in his self-play memo on the experiment of the Szabos [11]:
The Szabos determined the technology curve of their chess program TechMate that self-played 6,882 games on two Atari ST computers. The number of games per match between longer and shorter searching versions of the program varied strongly from a minimum of 32 to a maximum of 1367. The gain in playing strength averaged at 156 rating points per doubling of available search time (computing power). The experimental data indicated slight diminishing returns at longer search times. However, the Szabos simply did not play enough games at long times to draw reliable conclusions.


External Links


  1. ^ Gregg Pearlman (1986). ST New Products. Antic Vol. 5, No. 8
  2. ^ MichTron Corp. from MobyGames
  3. ^ Atari ST Techmate Chess | MichTron
  4. ^ Atari ST Techmate Chess | Microdeal
  5. ^ Atari ST Techmate Chess | Software Direct
  6. ^ TechMate Chess for Atari ST - The Video Games Museum
  7. ^ Christopher Chabris (1987). Reviews: The Game of Kings - START's First Chess Tournament. STart Vol. 2, No. 2
  8. ^ Alexander Szabo (1984). Computer-Chess Tactics and Strategy. M.Sc. Thesis, University of British Columbia
  9. ^ Alexander Szabo, Barbara Szabo (1988). The Technology Curve Revisited. ICCA Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1
  10. ^ Alexander Szabo, Barbara Szabo (1988). The Technology Curve Revisited. ICCA Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1
  11. ^ Ernst A. Heinz (2000). A New Self-Play Experiment in Computer Chess. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Laboratory of Computer Science, Technical Memo No. 608, zipped ps, pdf

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