Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

register now - it's free!
David Bronstein vs M20 (Computer)
"The Iron Idiot" (game of the day Jun-16-05)
Moscu Mathematics Institute (1963)  ·  King's Gambit: Accepted. Schallop Defense (C34)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 56 times; par: 38 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 2,175 more games of Bronstein
sac: 7.Qe2 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: To flip the board (so black is on the bottom) either press F or click on the e7 square.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with the default chess viewer, please see the Pgn4web Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-17-09  Brown: Bronstein throughout his career with computers intentionally sacrificed material to throw off their evaluations. This is an early, and extreme case. The practice didn't prove as fruitful in his later tries, but he still sacrificed successfully, but not so blatantly and (it must be said) irresponsibly as in this game.
Aug-21-09  Julian713: Can someone who possesses more technological knowledge than I explain to me how a 1963 computer could input and output moves?

They would have used punch cards for I/O. There could have been a typewriter output, but certainly not a keyboard input at that early date. The monitor hadn't even been invented yet!

Premium Chessgames Member
  hms123: <Julian713> In the early 1970s, teletype machines were used for I/O. They would have been available in 1963 as well. There were no monitors. In 1970, it took 15-20 hours for the computer to make a single move--and not a very good one at that.
Aug-21-09  slomarko: wow fantastic i can't believe Bronstein managed to toast a computer in 1963. Nowadays everybody knows how to play anti-computer chess against Fritz and Rybka but in those days it was incredibly heard. i don't know much about the M20 computer but everybody knows that every next version is stronger compared with the previous, for example Fritz 9 is stronger than Fritz 8, Fritz 10 is stronger than Fritz 9 and so on. Just imagine how strong M20 must have been, they had 20 version to perfect it.
Aug-21-09  MaxxLange: I feel sorry for the poor thing, taking the Rook like that
Feb-28-10  TheChessVids: Man, it's a pity Bronstein didn't live in the Romantic era.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: A Soviet Computer from 1963? M20 probably meant 20 squints from Moscow were writing code in basic on some IBM clone. If check then move King into mating position.....
Apr-26-10  TrollKing: <<This is in 1963. Were computers already beating masters at this time?> No, a first computer win over a master-rated player was in 1975.>

In 1981 CRAY BLITZ won the Mississippi State Championship with a perfect 5-0 score and a performance rating of 2258. In round 4 it defeated Joe Sentef (2262) to become the first computer to beat a master in tournament play and the first computer to gain a master rating (2258).

Premium Chessgames Member
  RandomVisitor: From the Russian Virtual Computer Museum:

M-20 Computer

1. M-20 - an Electronic Computing Machine for General Computations.

2. Chief designer was academician of the AS USSR S. A. Lebedev; chief developer assistants were M.K. Soulim (PhD in engineering) and M.R. Shura-Bura (PhD in physics and math); the development team: P.P. Golovistikov (PhD in engineering), V.Ya. Alekseyev (PhD in engineering), V.V. Bardizh (PhD in engineering), V.N. Laut (PhD in engineering), A.A. Sokolov, M.V. Tyapkin, A.S. Fyodorov.

3. Developing organization: the Institute of Precise Mechanics and Computation Equipment (ITM and VT) and the Special design bureau No. 245 (SKB-245).

4. Producer: Kazan Plant of Computing Machines.

5. Development stage was completed by 1958.

6. Manufacturing started in 1958.

7. Manufacturing stopped in 1964.

8. <Number of computers produced - 20.>

9. Applications: solving tasks in various fields of science and engineering.

10. <M-20 was a single-processor computer>. Several original architectural solutions were implemented in the processor: overlapping the executed commands (i.e. pipeline processing), accelerated addition and multiplying operations (due to improved operating of carry circuits - the "rough" carry chain was introduced in addition to fly-through carry) and multiplying a factor by two bits at a time. The computer used 45-bit binary floating point notation. <Its main memory was based on ferromagnetic cores and held up to 4096 words>. The peripheral memory consisted of magnetic drums and tapes.

11. Circuitry: dismountable blocks of two electronic tubes. The impulse principle (dynamic triggers) was applied in the circuits of parallel devices; thereby the total amount of computer valves was reduced to 1600 items. The logical circuits used semiconductor diodes that were exploited unexcessively due to the dynamic triggering method. This allowed to make the computer operation more reliable.

12. Architecture and technology: the computer occupied seven boxes. Each box contained six cards (circuit boards). 30-pin knife-edge plugs were used.

13. System software: the IS-2 library of standard subroutines.

14. Characteristics:
<* Average performance - 20 thousand instructions per second.> * Occupied area - 170-200 sq. m.
<* Consumed power - 50 kW (not including the cooling system);> the standard 220V/50Hz power circuit was used for M-20.

15. Main features: <The M-20 computer was one of the fastest and most reliable of the first-generation computers all over the world.> The general improvement of overall performance was achieved due to new architectural solutions and impulse principle of the circuit structure as well as to introducing: * index arithmetic that in many cases allowed to avoid command variables; * new logical operations of the processor;
* instruction sets with automatic address changing; * overlapping arithmetic unit operation and fetching commands from the main memory; * overlapping data output and operation of the processor.

16. The M-20 computer and some of its components were patented. There were numerous publications on the subject.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: I sure hope that the Russians have this M20 in a museum somewhere. I would go see it anytime.

It is easy to dismiss this hardware because it did not play a very good chess game.

The original Crays were in liquid nitrogen to stay cool because of the high speeds.

Most servers now have more computing power. There was a tube computer in the US that had relays and switches and lots of mechanics. It failed because an insect got stuck in a relay. When the bosses wanted to know what they were doing to fix the problem, the reply was, "We are DEBUGGING the system." Hence the historical term BUGS. Yes, it was an actual bug, not random perverse computer code.

Have humans progressed at chess as much as machines since then? Can anybody beat Rybka now?


Premium Chessgames Member
  RandomVisitor: <kingfu><Have humans progressed at chess as much as machines since then? Can anybody beat Rybka now? >I think chess theory has progressed somewhat, but humans have been outdone by the silicon beasts and the "rules of thumb" written by humans which let them "play" chess.
Aug-16-10  Lil Swine: M20 played horribly, bronstein was an artist while M20 was a butcher, and also made terrible moves
Jan-19-11  redorc19: The Na1 was a bold and proud chap, who always wanted attention but ended up not getting it... :)
Feb-10-11  redorc19: it seems to me that, as Fritz points out, 13...b5?? is the "lemon". It destroys black's chances to use his material advantage/
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game here:

May-02-11  hasany81: was there computers back in 1963???
May-06-11  LIFE Master AJ: Incredible game! was it half sound?
Apr-10-13  Mendrys: I suppose sound enough knowing full that the M20 couldn't possibly find the correct moves after the relatively unsound 7. Qe2 and 10. Bd2. Brilliant work by Bronstein to find the mate in 10 here starting with Nxg5+

click for larger view

Some have said the game is rubbish and in some sense it is nothing more than an example of a GM toying with a weak opponent but taking into account that this was against a computer in 1963 then it has a whole different meaning. I just realized that the 50th anniversary was a week ago today. In some sense the computer is already showing some promise. We all know when computers started being able to beat master level players and above but when did they start being able to beat the average chess player, say someone 1400 and above? As bad as black gets beaten I can see that it was certainly in the 60's when they reached this level.

Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

Bronstein must have been some player himself because from the above position there's a forced mate in 10. And he found it! He may have just stumbled upon it after the first few moves because from the position above it does look like there's a mate somewhere near, but in ten?!? I highly doubt it though when you look through the game! I think he saw it? I'm very impressed, not with the game because it's just rubbish, but with Mr Bronstein. If a player of his admittedly superb ability could see this, then it's completely mindbogglingly unbelievable how far the top players of today can see.. and I *really* do think that he calculated a forced mate in 10.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: I think, in lieu of 19.Qxc8+ more elegant & quicker would be 19.Bxg5 bxc4 20.Nc7#
Mar-11-14  tranquilsimplicity: I have a feeling that Bronstein purposely opted to play outside of theory, and allow for material imbalances, in order to draw M20 out of it's programmed ability. It worked! And the result was not a great game but a glimpse into the then inferior standard of computer software. #
Mar-11-14  ChessYouGood: < MarkFinan: Bronstein must have been some player himself > Yes, a little known club player I believe. Maybe you can do some some research into him and report your results back to the site.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: <ChessYouGood: < MarkFinan: Bronstein must have been some player himself > Yes, a little known club player I believe. Maybe you can do some some research into him and report your results back to the site.>

Whooaa Princess! I never said I know anything about the guy, in fact I don't know much about the players of today, let alone players who played before my Dad was even born!?

Great to see that Every. Single. One. of your posts are just <<pure racist hatred>> aimed towards the best American player of the this century! How "men" like you slip under the chessgames dot com radar I just don't know.

But don't hate someone because they look different to you. Don't hate someone because they have a different sounding name than yours. And last, but certainly not least.. Don't hate someone who has the talent that some small minded "man" like yourself could only dream of.

Go Nakamura LOL 😄

Feb-13-15  erniecohen: Anyone criticizing M20's play here is an idiot. The M20 executed about 20K instructions per second, with about 20Kbytes of total memory for everything (including the OS). A modern core i7 is executing around 200G instructions per second and probably 16+ Gb of memory. That's a factor of 10^7 in execution speed and 10^6 in memory.

To put that into perspective, it would take the M20 about 12 years to boot Windows, except that you would have had to put together 100,000 M20s to have the required amount of memory.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <erniecohen> Well, that justifies a lot of what I think about Windows.
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 6)
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please submit a correction slip and help us eliminate database mistakes!
This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

Featured in the Following Game Collections [what is this?]
thesonicvision's favorite short games
by thesonicvision
Gambit86's favorite games
by Gambit86
This is the best announced mate I have ever seen.
from Sylvester's Collection of Great Games by Sylvester
Amazing KGA (C34) 1-0 Poor M20 is strung along the entire way.
from Attacks & Sacs a2/a7, b2/b7 and c2/c7 by fredthebear
blackkangaroo's favorite K Gambit games
by blackkangaroo
A rather weak computer from 1963 and an odd game?
from "x" vs computer by S4NKT
fourmanifold's favorite games
by fourmanifold
Bronstein masterpiece
from Joe Rura's favorite games by Joe Rura
A great game!!
from Stunners by Trigonometrist
DubbleX the GM
by DubbleX
from Nc6, Becker Defense, Schallop Defence, Rare 3 mo by TAKKGA
from xfer's favorite games 2006 by xfer
This game is amazing. Poor M20 is strung along the entire way.
from Great, Exciting Games by Zabooti
A chess computer! what a novel idea.
from Computer evolution by sibilare
Man versus Machine, David (easily) slays Goliath! (See kib.)
from LMAJ's "Mad, Mad WIZARD at Work!!!" (Bronstein) by LIFE Master AJ
Bronstein si prende gioco del computer
from Ghizza's favorite games by Ghizza
The Iron Idiot
from zac68GameDay by zacpnc68
Master Bronstein al rescate del humano
from QThee Queen is Mean! by fredthebear
Bronstein's Most Inspirational Wins
by Gottschalk
David Bronstein's Best Games
by KingG
plus 59 more collections (not shown)

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2016, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies