Micros Become Masters

Microprocessor-based chess programs benefited from increases in hardware performance as well as software improvements. In 1980, Sargon on a Z80 microprocessor had a rating of 1736 (that of a very good high-school player) and by 1991 Sargon V on a PC/AT had a rating of 2276 (that of a Master).

By the late 1970s, some microprocessor-based chess systems began challenging the best mainframe-based programs. In 1978, for example, Sargon, running on a personal computer, defeated the chess program AWIT running on a six million dollar mainframe computer.

By the 1990s, PC-based programs and game boards even began challenging Grandmaster players. David Kittinger’s WChess program received worldwide attention when it won five out of six games against some of the strongest American Grandmasters at the Intel-Harvard Cup "Man vs. Machine" tournament held in 1994.