Once there was a brilliant chess program called SARGON II, written by husband and wife chess programmer team Dan and Kathe Spracklen
. My good friend Tomaz (greetings to Slovenia!) owned a copy of the program for the Video Genie TRS-80 clone and we played it in front of a blurry TV. Those were the days!
This reminds me btw. that I need to write about Scott Adams adventures too!
SARGON was regularly able to beat me, not only because of the Video Genies unbelievable computing power or SARGONS elaborate abilities but because of my dramatically bad chess skills. It never dawned on me how people can think one or two moves in advance.
SARGONs Z80 source code was later published and I got hold of a copy of the book in the university library.
It is a truly inspiring book to read as early computer chess masterfully plays with data structures to achieve maximum efficiency in a very resource limited environment (as such it is the exact opposite of XML :-)
Many years later I hacked my own chess engine in a couple of days to see if I was able to do that. It does not play overly well as it does not make use of libraries, nor does it "ponder" while the opponent is thinking. Still very interesting to see how beautiful the chess pieces come to seemingly intelligent life with just a couple of lines of code.
In a feeble attempt to honor SARGON, I called it NOGRAS (Sargon in reverse) which kind of emphasizes its uncreative way of playing.
C Source code and (MAC) binary
The program is so simple and uses only a command line interface that it does not even need a header file or includes. It should compile with more or less any C compiler out of the box.
It can be used as engine for XBoard so one has a graphical representation of the board.
Source code and Snow Leopard binary
zip, 15,8K, 11/29/10, 77 downloads