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David Bronstein vs M20 (Computer)
"The Iron Idiot" (game of the day Apr-13-16)
Moscu Mathematics Institute (1963)  ·  King's Gambit: Accepted. Schallop Defense (C34)  ·  1-0
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Given 57 times; par: 37 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-01-14
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.

Feb-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <erniecohen> Well, that justifies a lot of what I think about Windows.
Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Botvinnik was trained as an electrical engineer. I have a book entitled _Computers, Chess, and Long-Range Planning_ that he wrote. (It is an abridged translation of the Russian edition, published in 1970.) It cites and expands on a 1960 paper of his in which he proposed an "algorithm" (really just an outline or schema of an algorithm) for a chess-playing program. Someone named Butenko apparently tried to write a program based on it. It is unclear whether that program ever ran, or if it did, how well it played.

Here, from the Preface, is Botvinnik's description:

<The algorithm, and therefore the program, falls into three basic parts:

1. The knowledge of the rules of the game, that is, the ability to move pieces properly from one square to any other. This information is contained in the code-tables that were introduced in An Algorithm.

2. Forming the mathematical map of the position, the "sight of the board." One must see not the board with the pieces on it, but those pieces and squares that, together with the path-trees, are to be kept within the map. This is the way a master sees the board. In essence, this amounts to isolating the urgent information. For the programmer, this task is much harder than the first.

3. The ability to put a value on a position, both a static and a dynamic value, in the scanning process by comparing the maps. This is perhaps the subtlest part of the algorithm, but it seems to me that the programmer must find it much more banal than the second part. Once the second part is finished, the programmer is through with the hardest part of the work. The third part will be difficult for the grandmaster, when he has to sharpen up the algorithm.>

As I read Paragraph 2, he was proposing to trim the "tree" of possible moves at the very first level, that is, to look at only a subset of the legal moves and their consequences (because "This is the way a master sees the board"). Remember, 50 years ago computers had memories and central processing units that were laughably small. Botvinnik mentions that Butenko "used only some 500 memory cells" for the first part. In contrast, present-day programs start trimming much later. Exhaustive (untrimmed) searches for 20 plies or more are not unusual.

I doubt that Soviet developments in chess-playing machines (or at least the ideas described in this book) were state-of-the-art even at the time it was written.

Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: An interesting game and a good effort by an early computer.
Apr-13-16  AlicesKnight: Thanks for the comments <al wazir> - interesting. I still have my "Chess Challenger" from the early 1980s (with real board and pieces you have to move by hand, typing in the move on a keypad), and if you don't mind waiting ten minutes for it to move on higher levels it plays a game - though once you head for the endgame, like most machines of its day it has little idea of strategy.
Apr-13-16  kamagong24: simply brilliant!!!
Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: M20 computer? I wonder how the first 19 got on?
Apr-13-16  thegoodanarchist: <iron> you say?

No, no, no! The conductors in a computer from that era were most likely actual wires made from either Aluminum or Copper.

Nowadays the conductors are embedded in the microprocessor. They are called interconnects, and they are made from Copper. The vias from metal 1 are typically Tungsten (Wolfram).

Not Iron!

But then, <The Aluminum Idiot> isn't a good pun, is it?

Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Er, excuse me. I know a lot about circuits and one of my hobbies is making computer circuits from raw iron.

It's NOT easy and it IS time consuming but I made a steampunk 1 kilobyte iron memory stick for a friend.

It took me two and a half years and cost 17,700 but it was worth it! He's got one and a half great fonts on it.

Apr-13-16  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: Er, excuse me. I know a lot about circuits and one of my hobbies is making computer circuits from raw iron.

It's NOT easy and it IS time consuming but I made a steampunk 1 kilobyte iron memory stick for a friend.

It took me two and a half years and cost 17,700 but it was worth it! He's got one and a half great fonts on it.>

Maybe so, but you are living in the 21st century. Bronsteins' opponent was made from primitive Soviet technology of the early 1960s.

Back then, a Soviet fighter pilot defected to Japan in his Kirolyi 117 jet fighter.

Of course the Japanese and Americans reverse engineered it and found that the Soviet jet engines were still using phlogiston.

Apr-13-16  Slink: <tga: primitive Soviet technology of the 1960s>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vosto...

Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White chases the king from pillar to post...or rather from pillar and post.
Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Soviet computer technology in the early sixties wasn't that bad--not on a level with the USA, but close enough that it at least made sense to compare the two. After Brezhnev kicked out Khruschev, though, Soviet progress in computer technology (and pretty much everything else) ground to a halt within a few years. The last new Soviet mainframe design was completed in 1965 and began production in 1968.
Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <MarkFinan> - Hi Mark ... your reply to wotsisname, <chessyougood>, was just brilliant. You're one of the good guys and he isn't, simple as that.
Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: In the very early 1960's Claude Shannon (Information Theory) backed by Bell Labs and the most powerful computer of its time played a match against a much smaller Russian Computer that had its algorithm assisted by Botvinnik. The two computers played each other and the mightly US machine got crunched either 10 or 11 to zero !!! It is a shame those games are not listed in the database here.
Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <profK: In the very early 1960's Claude Shannon (Information Theory) backed by Bell Labs and the most powerful computer of its time played a match against a much smaller Russian Computer that had its algorithm assisted by Botvinnik. The two computers played each other and the mightly US machine got crunched either 10 or 11 to zero !!! It is a shame those games are not listed in the database here.>

How much did Botvinnik assist the algorithm, I wonder? :-)

Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <keypusher> - <How much did Botvinnik assist the algorithm, I wonder?>

Strange as it may seem, Botvinnik was very proper and would not have condoned any form of cheating.

In the early 1960s, Russian computers were on a par with, or maybe slightly ahead of, American ones. Of course, within a few years, the Soviet systems proved to be a dead end.

Apr-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<profK> In the very early 1960's Claude Shannon (Information Theory) backed by Bell Labs and the most powerful computer of its time played a match against a much smaller Russian Computer that had its algorithm assisted by Botvinnik. The two computers played each other and the mightly US machine got crunched either 10 or 11 to zero !!! >

That does not sound plausible. In the early 1960s computers were scarce, slow, expensive, and in demand. So being able to free two of the more powerful computers to play a 10-game chess match against each other was unlikely.

Perhaps you're thinking of the 1966-1967 4-game match between ITEP (a predecessor of Kaissa) and a Stanford program written by John McCarthy (of artificial intelligence fame) and Alan Kotok. The match was won by Kaissa by a final score of +2=2-0. You can find a discussion of the programs and the scores for all 4 games, plus commentary, at https://books.google.com/books?id=K....

Apr-14-16  Moszkowski012273: Cool one!
Apr-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <AylerKupp>. Thanks for posting that. ITEP made some good moves in the last game, while there seemed to be something badly off with the Kotok-McCarthy algorithm.

Burger's <The Chess of Bobby Fischer> said, without elaboration, that the Soviet algorithm was running on a slower machine.

Ayler, the book you posted says that ITEP was using Shannon's type-A approach, while Kotok-McCarthy was using type-B, which seems to be a pruning algorithm. Can you elaborate at all?

Apr-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <keypusher> You sure know how to arouse my curiosity! There is a surprising amount of information about the ITEP program. I've even been able to find a site where you can download a C version of it! (https://sites.google.com/site/greko...), and also a copy of the original program for the M-20 computer in Russian. Here are other things I've been able to find:

Shannon's type-A strategy was a brute force-like approach; it looks at all the legal moves from the starting position and subsequent candidate positions until a predetermined search depth is reached, and it then selects the move that leads to the best position in the minimax sense. It is therefore not capable of searching very deeply because the number of candidate positions increases exponentially as the depth of the search tree increases. Thus, with the computers available in the late 1960s, a 3-ply deep search would take about 16 minutes. See https://chessprogramming.wikispaces....

In contrast, Shannon's type-B strategy only looks at a subset of plausible moves according to its search tree pruning heuristics. In that sense it's much more like modern chess programs and it can reach much deeper search depths in the same amount of time. See https://chessprogramming.wikispaces....

While the type-B strategy seems much more effective, a lot depends on the implementation. In the late 1960s the search tree pruning heuristics were not very advanced, causing the Stanford program (it doesn't seem to have had a name and it was sometimes called the Kotov/McCarthy program) to discard some promising moves. According to https://chessprogramming.wikispaces... it considered 4 moves on the first ply, 3 moves on the second ply, 2 moves on the third and fourth plies, and only one move on plies 5 8. Imagine the quality of the current Stockfish's play if it was limited to an 8-ply search! And its weak plausible move generator (no description of it provided) apparently caused it to discard many promising moves, leading Botvinnik to comment that "the rule for rejecting moves was so constituted that the machine threw out the baby with the bath water."

In contrast the ITEP program had a fixed ply search tree depth, using a 3-ply limit in games 1 and 2 of the match (which ended in draws) and a 5-ply depth in games 3 and 4 (both of which ended up as wins for ITEP). So in this case the brute-force approach seemed to prevail. It also seems that ITEP had a better evaluation function, particularly when it came to evaluating spatial advantages.

The ITEP program also took advantage of the fact that there was effectively no time control, each program could take as long as it needed to make its move. So, while the Stanford program apparently made each of its moves within 20 minutes, ITEP could sometimes take hours to make its move. This negated the main disadvantage of the type-A strategy, the exponentially increasing time required per move as the search depth increases.

A curious fact is that there seems to be some difference in what articles report as the match result. Some report that the score was +2=2-0 in favor of ITEP and some report the score as +3=1-0 in favor of ITEP. Since the first link I provided gives the game scores, I'll go with the +2=2-0 match result.

Apr-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: A word about the respective hardware. There is also some controversy as to which computer was used for ITEP for the match. Some indicate that ITEP ran on the M-20 computer and some indicate that it ran on its predecessor, the M-2 computer. The M-2 computer had a 34-bit word length, 4096 words of memory, and required an average of about 500 usecs to execute one instruction (http://www.computer-museum.ru/engli...). The M-20 was similar in terms of memory capacity (I'm not sure about the word size) but 10 times faster, it could execute an instruction in an average of 50 usecs (http://www.computer-museum.ru/engli...).

In contrast, the IBM 7090 where the Stanford program ran had a 36-bit word length with a maximum capacity of 32,768 words (I'm not sure how large the memory was in the 7090 used in the match), and probably required only about 6 usecs to execute an average instruction (my estimate, assuming an average instruction was the equivalent of an average of 3 additions and 1 multiplication) (http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/e...)

So the hardware that the Stanford program ran on was much more powerful than the hardware that the ITEP program ran on, particularly if the M-2 was used for ITEP. But, given the unlimited allowed time/move, this speed differential was not significant. I would suspect that if the same time limit was imposed for each program, say 30 or 60 seconds per move, and that if ITEP had been forced into making the best move that it had found within the time limit, then the results of the match would have been reversed.

Apr-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <AylerKupp>

Thank you!

<A curious fact is that there seems to be some difference in what articles report as the match result. Some report that the score was +2=2-0 in favor of ITEP and some report the score as +3=1-0 in favor of ITEP. Since the first link I provided gives the game scores, I'll go with the +2=2-0 match result.>

A possible explanation is provided by the book you linked. Two of the games were declared drawn, while the other two were played out to mate. In one of the games declared drawn, ITEP had a winning position at the end. Maybe someone looked at it later and "adjudicated" it as a win.

Apr-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <keypusher> That's too logical, so clearly it must not be right! :-) Actually, that's probably true. This is the final position in the 2 games that were drawn:

<Game 1: ITEP vs. Kotok-McCarthy>


click for larger view

The comment about this position in the book said "White is ahead one Pawn and may have a slight advantage. In the present position it can play 38...Nd2."

<Game 2: Kotok-McCarthy vs. ITEP>


click for larger view

The comment about this position in the book said "Black should be able to force White to give up material in order to prevent the Rook's pawn from queening."

Just for fun, I had Stockfish 7 analyze the ending positions of both games and this is what it came up with:

<Game 1>: [+2.03], d=32 after 38.Nd2 Qd8 39.Ra1 Qb6 40.Kg2 Qb4 41.Ra4 Qb5 42.Rc4 Bd1 43.Rc1 Bh5 44.Rc5 Qa6 45.Nc4 Rb5 46.d5 Rxc5 47.Qxc5 cxd5 48.Qxd5 Qc8 49.Ne3 Qe8 50.e5 Kh8 51.Kg3 h6 52.gxh6 gxh6 53.Qxa5 Qb8 54.b4 f6 55.Kf2 fxe5 56.Nc4 e4 57.Qe5+ Qxe5 58.Nxe5 Kg7 59.Ke3


click for larger view

This is clearly a win for White since Black's Pe4 will fall, leaving White 2 pawns up.

<Game 2> [-4.85], d=35 after 40... a3 41.Rb1 Nxc3 42.Ra1 a2 43.Rc2 Ra3 44.f3 h5 45.Kf2 Kg6 46.g4 hxg4 47.fxg4 Ne4+ 48.Kg1 Bd5 49.Rb2 Ra4 50.Rc2 Kg7 51.Kh2 Kf7 52.Re2 Ke7 53.Kh1 Kd7 54.Kg1 Kd6 55.Kh2 Nc3 56.Re3 Nb5 57.Re2 Nxd4 58.Rd2 Nb5 59.Kg1 Ke5 60.Kf1 Nd6 61.Re2+ Ne4 62.Ke1


click for larger view

This is an even clearer win for Black, with B+N+P vs. R, and a far advanced passed pawn. But Stockfish didn't seem to know how to drive the point home.

So it looks like both drawn games could have also been won by ITEP, since it achieved a superior position for both of them. Of course, achieving a superior or even winning position in a game was no guarantee that the win could be found, given the relatively weak play of both programs (I'm not sure that I can get myself to call them "engines"). Heck, even Stockfish 7 didn't seem to know how to proceed to achieve the win for Black in Game 2.

But, of the 2 games, it is more likely that Game 2 was the one adjudicated a win for Black in spite of the drawn result. Still, the drawn result is the official one, so I still think that the correct result for the match should be +2=2-0 in favor of ITEP.

And I can't end a post of early computer vs. computer games without mentioning this one again: Caruana vs Anand, 2013 (kibitz #280). If you haven't seen it, you should It's hilarious, and proof that the threat is stronger than the execution, at least as far as early computer programs are concerned.

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