Shall We Play a Game?

Computer-to-computer chess tournaments provided an opportunity for researchers-- who typically worked independently--to get together, share ideas and evaluate their programs.

Although the tournaments were competitive, they were conducted in a spirit of friendship. "From my perspective, I felt I was involved in a great scientific experiment of the twentieth century... We all had a great time participating…," wrote tournament organizer Monty Newborn.

The two major tournaments were the annual North American Computer Chess Championships (NACCC) hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the World Computer Chess Championships (WCCC) that was held every three years. The programs Belle and CHESS dominated much of the first two decades of competition.

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