Micros Improve and Compete

Although early microprocessor-based chess programs played only amateur-level chess, they improved rapidly. Initially, programmers were limited by hardware that had small memory, slow processors and little or no mass storage. As a result, the programs had to be highly efficient.

Annual computer-to-computer competitions stimulated improvements. The World Microcomputer Chess Championships (WMCCC) started in 1980. Funding came from chess software manufacturers, who hoped that placing well in the competition would lead to increased sales. Each year the top programmers refined their code in an effort to win the next World Championship title. This competitive atmosphere spurred the development of high-quality chess programs.