ACM 1985

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Denver Radisson, now the Sheraton [1]

The ACM's Sixteenth North American Computer Chess Championship (NACCC) took place from October 13-15, 1985, Radisson Hotel [2] [3] [4] , Denver, Colorado, USA. Special purpose hardware chess entity HiTech by a team from Carnegie Mellon University headed by Hans Berliner won its first official computer chess tournament conveniently with a perfect score of 4 out of 4, winning from Lachex, Phoenix, Bebe and Cray Blitz.

Final Standing


# Name CC 1 2 3 4 P SOS SoDOS
1 HiTech US 7w1 4b1 2b1 5w1 4
2 Bebe US 9b1 5b1 1w0 4w1 3 9 5
3 Intelligent Software GB 6b1 9w1 5b0 7w½
4 Phoenix CA 8b1 1w0 7b1 2b0 2 10 3
5 Cray Blitz US 10b1 2w0 3w1 1b0 2 10 3
6 CHAOS US 3w0 7b0 8b1 10w1 2 6 2
7 Lachex US 1b0 6w1 4w0 3b½ 10½
8 SPOC US 4w0 10b1 6w0 9b½ 1
9 Ostrich CA 2w0 3b0 10w½ 8w½ 1 1
10 Awit CA 5w0 8w0 9b½ 6b0 ½ ½


[6] [7]

Program CC Team Hardware Language NPS
Awit CA Tony Marsland Amdahl 5860/2 Algol W 10
Bebe US Tony Scherzer Bit slice
chess hardware
Assembly 20,000
CHAOS US Mike Alexander, Fred Swartz,
Jack O’Keefe
Amdahl 5860 Fortran 70
Cray Blitz US Robert Hyatt, Albert Gower,
Harry Nelson
Cray X-MP4 Fortran,


HiTech US Carl Ebeling, Hans Berliner,
Gordon Goetsch, Andy Palay,
Murray Campbell, Larry Slomer
Sun Workstation &
special purpose hardware
C 175,000
Intelligent Software GB Mark Taylor, David Levy,
Kevin O’Connell
6502 Apple IIe Assembly 500
Lachex US Burton Wendroff Cray X-MP 48 Fortran,


Ostrich CA Monroe Newborn 1 x Eclipse,
6 x Nova 4,
1 x Nova 3
Assembly 1,200
Phoenix CA Jonathan Schaeffer 4 x VAX11/780
6 x Sun Workstation
C 540
SPOC US Jacques Middlecoff IBM PC 8086 Assembly 300


Cray Blitz - Bebe

After three years without a loss, reigning World Champion Cray Blitz lost from Bebe in round two and HiTech in round four [8] :

[Event "ACM 1985"]
[Site "Denver USA"]
[Date "1985.10.13"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Cray Blitz"]
[Black "Bebe"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg5 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nc6 8.O-O-O O-O
9.Nb3 Re8 10.Bc4 Ng4 11.h3 Nge5 12.Bb5 a6 13.Be2 a5 14.Bb5 Be6 15.Nd5 a4 16.Nd4
Bd7 17.Nxc6 bxc6 18.Nxe7+ Rxe7 19.Bxe7 Qxe7 20.Be2 Qe6 21.Kb1 Rb8 22.b3 axb3
23.cxb3 Be8 24.Kc2 Nd7 25.f3 Ra8 26.Kc1 Nc5 27.Qc2 Qf6 28.Bc4 Qa1+ 29.Kd2 Qxa2
30.Qxa2 Rxa2+ 31.Kc1 d5 32.exd5 cxd5 33.Bxd5 Bb5 34.Rhe1 Nd3+ 35.Rxd3 Bxd3
36.Re8+ Bf8 37.g4 Kg7 38.Re3 Ba3+ 39.Kd1 Ra1+ 40.Kd2 Bf1 41.Kc3 Rc1+ 42.Kd2 Rc5
43.Ke1 Bxh3 44.Bc4 h5 45.gxh5 gxh5 46.Kf2 h4 47.Rd3 Bf5 48.Rd4 h3 49.Rh4 Rc7
50.Rh5 0-1

Bebe - Hitech

Bebe vs HiTech

[Event "ACM 1985"]
[Site "Denver USA"]
[Date "1985.10.14"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Bebe"]
[Black "HiTech"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 d6 
9.d4 Bb6 10.a4 h6 11.axb5 axb5 12.Rxa8 Qxa8 13.Na3 exd4 14.cxd4 Ba6 15.e5 dxe5 
16.dxe5 Ng4 17.Bxf7+ Ke7 18.Kf1 b4+ 19.Nc4 Rd8 20.Qc2 Kxf7 21.Qf5+ Nf6 22.Qc2 b3 
23.Qe2 Nd4 24.Nxd4 Rxd4 25.Kg1 Bxc4 26.Qf3 Qxf3 27.gxf3 0-1

Photos & Games

HiTech - Cray Blitz


Mike Valvo, Hans Berliner, Murray Campbell and Robert Hyatt, Tony Scherzer watching after 51 ... Bf8 [9] [10]

[Event "ACM 1985"]
[Site "Denver USA"]
[Date "1985.10.15"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Hitech"]
[Black "Cray Blitz"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.Bd3 d5 7.Qe2 Bg4 8.f3 Be6
9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Bf5 Qh4+ 11.Kf1 Qf6 12.Bxe6 Qxe6 13.c4 Qxe2+ 14.Kxe2 Nb6 15.b3
Bd6 16.Nc3 O-O 17.Be3 Be5 18.Rac1 Rfe8 19.Kf2 Rad8 20.f4 Bf6 21.Rhd1 Rxd1 22.Nxd1
h5 23.Nc3 Kh7 24.Ne2 Rd8 25.Kf3 Kg6 26.Ng3 h4 27.f5+ Kh7 28.Ne4 Be7 29.Kg4 Re8
30.Bf2 Nd7 31.Kh3 a6 32.Rd1 Nf6 33.Re1 Nxe4 34.Rxe4 Kg8 35.Bd4 Kf8 36.c5 f6
37.Rxh4 Rd8 38.Rh8+ Kf7 39.Rxd8 Bxd8 40.Kg4 Be7 41.h4 Ke8 42.Kf4 Bd8 43.g4 Be7
44.Ke4 Bd8 45.Be3 Be7 46.a4 Kd8 47.Kd4 Kc8 48.g5 fxg5 49.hxg5 Kd8 50.Ke5 Kd7
51.f6 Bf8 52.a5 g6 53.Bd4 1-0


A few months later, during the WCCC 1986 in Cologne after the loss in round 2 from Bobby, Robert Hyatt found some suspicious pawn hole code in Cray Blitz, already implemented in summer 1985 after test games versus a Super Constellation, scoring better against that particular opponent, but apparently causing Cray Blitz to play passively against tactical stronger programs. After removing the few lines of pawn hole code, Cray Blitz could take revenge versus Bebe and finally HiTech to defend its title [11] .

Tournament Director


Usenet Posts

External Links


  1. Image Denver Hilton from The Denver Hilton Hotel (now Sheraton) - The Masonry of Denver)
  2. Opened in 1959 as the Denver Hilton, designed by Araldo Cossutta and I. M. Pei, was also a Radisson before joining the Adam's Mark chain (1995). It has since been reflagged as a Sheraton Hotel - Adam's Mark from Wikipedia
  3. I. M. Pei Hilton, Denver :: Western History
  4. I. M. Pei Paraboloid, Denver :: Western History
  5. ACM 1985 CSVN site
  6. David E. Welsh (1985). ACM's Sixteenth North American Computer Chess Championship. ICCA Journal, Vol. 8, No. 4
  7. ACM Computer Chess Championship by Stuart Cracraft, Usenet, November 2, 1985
  8. Alexander Keewatin Dewdney (1986). The King (A Chess Program) Is Dead, Long Live The King (A Chess Machine). Scientific American, 1986-02, pdf from The Computer History Museum
  9. Image by David E. Welsh, from David E. Welsh (1985). ACM's Sixteenth North American Computer Chess Championship. ICCA Journal, Vol. 8, No. 4
  10. Other Image by Carl Iwasaki, Time & Life Pictures/Getty, "Hans Berliner with his Hitech computer and Robert Hyatt with Cray X-MP 48 computer using his 'Blitz' program during a computer chess tournament in which Hitech won"
  11. Re: Did Cray Blitz really have a win? by Robert Hyatt,, March 12, 1999

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