Chess System Tal

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Chess System Tal (Complete Chess System 2 - TAL, CSTal, AI Factory Chess Tal),
a commercial chess program developed by Chris Whittington in the mid 90s as successor of the Complete Chess System, marketed through his company Oxford Softworks. The first version was a MS-DOS program, Chess System Tal II, released in 1999 ran under Windows. Chess System Tal is famous for its entertaining, strong human playing style with focus on King attacks and speculative sacrifices, resembling that of the former World Champion Mikhail Tal. Chess System Tal II was further marketed by Ubisoft [1] and continued by Jeff Rollason's AI Factory [2] [3], who now own the rights on the CSTal sources [4].

Tournament Play

CSTal played two World Microcomputer Chess Championships, the WMCCC 1995, the WMCCC 1997, and three Aegon Tournaments, Aegon 1995, Aegon 1996 and Aegon 1997 [5].



Chess System Tal at Aegon 1996 operated by Thorsten Czub [6] [7]

Selected Games

WMCCC 1995, round 4, Chess Genius - Chess System Tal [8]

[Event "WMCCC 1995"]
[Site "Paderborn, Germany"]
[Date "1995.10.11"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Chess Genius"]
[Black "Chess System Tal"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.O-O Be7 8.a3 O-O 
9.b4 Re8 10.Rb1 Bf8 11.d3 a5 12.b5 Nd4 13.Nd2 Rb8 14.e3 Ne6 15.Nf3 Ng5 16.Nxg5 
Qxg5 17.Ne4 Qd8 18.Qc2 Bg4 19.f4 exf4 20.Rxf4 Be6 21.Rf2 f5 22.Nc3 Bf7 23.Ne2 
Qd7 24.Qc3 Nd5 25.Bxd5 Qxd5 26.Nd4 Re5 27.Qxc7 Ra8 28.Qc3 Rae8 29.Nf3 Rxe3 
30.Bxe3 Rxe3 31.Nd4 g6 32.Re2 Bc5 33.Rxe3 Bxd4 34.Qc8+ Kg7 35.Re1 f4 36.gxf4 
Qf3 37.Qc7 Bxe3+ 38.Rxe3 Qxe3+ 39.Kg2 Qe2+ 40.Kg1 Qxd3 41.Qxb7 Qxa3 42.b6 Qc5+ 
43.Kf1 a4 44.Qc7 Qxc7 45.bxc7 Be6 46.h4 a3 0-1 


given in 1997 from the ICGA tournament site [9] :

CSTal is designed to play in the romantic and dangerous style of Michael Tal, famous for his daring and aggressive style of play.
Programmer Chris Whittington has developed a radically different approach to chess programming, concentrating on speculative chess knowledge within the evaluation function; and the use of forward pruning techniques which rely on this evaluation function knowledge.
One effect of using a high knowledge-based approach is that CSTal operates at a nodes per second rate much less than programs with simple evaluation functions. The risks and benefits of this strategy are obvious; on the one side CSTal is able to steer games towards tactical king-attack complexities, and to execute stunning sacrifices. On the other side the disparity in effective search depth means that state of the art search programs will have the advantage if the position does not contain factors where CSTal's knowledge is able to give it the edge.
CSTal's computer-computer games are often very exciting and double-edged, with the result in doubt until the end. It is capable of causing serious upsets to top programs, but also of being seriously upset itself.
In a materialistic world, in the materialistic world of computer chess, Chess System Tal offers the alternative pathway of idealism. 

See also



Forum Posts

1996 ...

Re: CS Tal reply by Christophe Théron, CCC, December 02, 1997

2000 ...

2005 ...

2010 ...

External Links


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