Don Dailey

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Don Dailey at Aegon 1997 [1]

Donald Roy (Don) Dailey, (March 10, 1956 - November 22, 2013)
was an American computer games and chess researcher and programmer, and along with long-term collaborator Larry Kaufman primary author of the world class chess engine Komodo. Don started chess programming in the 80s, and was author and co-author of multiple commercial as well as academical chess programs. He has been active poster in computer chess forums and computer Go newsgroups [2] , and was founding member of this chess programming wiki. He was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and served in recent years as an elder in the church [3].

In October 2013, Don Dailey announced the release of Komodo 6 and also bad news concerning the future status of Komodo due to his fatal illness of a acute form of Leukemia [4] , and introduced Mark Lefler as new member of the Komodo team [5] . Don Dailey died November 22, 2013, in Roanoke, Virginia at age 57, just about the same time that Komodo pulled ahead of Stockfish by winning game 2 in the TCEC final [6] [7] .


Don Dailey's first chess program in the 80s, first in collaboration with Sam Sloan and later with Larry Kaufman, Rex, competed at various ACM North American Computer Chess Championships and World Computer Chess Championships. Rex was further improved and marketed as RexChess [8] .

Heuristic Software

In the early 90s Don started to work with chess master and computer chess programmer Julio Kaplan within his company Heuristic Software. The program they developed was called Heuristic Alpha, which later evolved to Socrates, Titan aka Socrates II, Mini, and the mass-market entry Kasparov's Gambit [9] .

MIT Connection

At ACM 1993, which was won by Don's program Titan aka Socrates II on an IBM PC ahead of Cray Blitz, he met Bradley Kuszmaul and Charles Leiserson from MIT competing with StarTech, and asking him to help them to develop a new parallel chess program. Some time later when Heuristic went out of business, Don Dailey started to work for Charles at the lab at MIT on the new parallel program *Socrates part time, beside his duty as official system administrator. *Socrates played a strong WCCC 1995, finally losing the playoff against Fritz. Don continued his cooperation with Charles Leiserson on Cilkchess.

Quote from History of *Socrates by Chris Joerg from his Ph.D. Thesis [10] :

We began work on this program in May of 1994. Don Dailey and Larry Kaufman of Heuristic Software provided us with a version of Socrates, their serial chess program. During May and June we parallelized the program using Cilk, focusing mainly on the search algorithm and the transposition table. During June Dailey visited MIT to help tune the program, but we spent most of June simply getting the parallel version of the program to work correctly. In late June, we entered *Socrates in the 1994 ACM International Computer Chess Championship in Cape May, New Jersey. We ran the program on a 512-node CM-5 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. Despite the fact that we had begun working on the program less than two months earlier, the program ran reliable and finished in third place. 

Corel and Mini

Additionally, Don further worked with Larry Kaufman for the commercial entry Corel Chess and competed with the serial program Mini at the WCCC 1999 (beside Cilkchess), which was simultaneously the 16th WMCCC.

Doch and Komodo

Don's 2009/2010 program Doch as well as its successor Komodo [11] are again a joint effort in collaboration with Larry Kaufman [12].

Images & Games

WCCC 1986


WCCC 1986, round 5, Ard van Bergen, Sam Sloan, Ossi Weiner, Don Dailey [13] , Rex - Shess [14]

[Event "WCCC 1986"]
[Site "Cologne, Germany"]
[Date "1986.06.15"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Shess"]
[Black "Rex"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.Nc4 fxe4 5.Nc3 Qf7 6.Nxe4 d5 7.Ne5 Qf5
8.Bb5+ c6 9.Be2 Qxe4 10.Nf3 Bf5 11.c3 Qc2 12.Qxc2 Bxc2 13.O-O Bd6 14.d4
Nf6 15.Be3 O-O 16.Rae1 Nbd7 17.Kh1 b5 18.b3 Rfe8 19.c4 bxc4 20.bxc4 dxc4
21.Bxc4+ Kh8 22.Ng5 Bg6 23.f4 Nd5 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.f5 Bb4 26.fxg6 Bxe1
27.Nf7+ Kg8 28.gxh7+ Kxh7 29.Rxe1 Kg8 30.Ng5 Rac8 31.Kg1 Rc2 32.a3 Rc3
33.Kf2 Rxa3 34.h4 Nf6 35.Kf3 Rb3 36.g3 Nh5 37.Nh3 Nxg3 38.Nf4 Nf5 39.Nxd5
Rd3 40.h5 Nxd4+ 41.Kf4 Ne6+ 42.Kg4 Rxd5 43.Bxa7 Ra8 44.Rxe6 Rxa7 45.Re8+
Kh7 46.Re4 Raa5 47.Kf3 Rxh5 48.Ke3 Ra3+ 49.Kf4 Rh4+ 50.Ke5 Ra5+ 51.Kd4
Ra4+ 52.Kd5 Rhxe4 53.Kc5 Ra5+ 54.Kd6 Rd4+ 55.Ke6 Kg8 56.Ke7 Re5# 0-1

WCCC 1999


WCCC 1999 - Erdogan Günes, Charles Leiserson (back of head), and Don Dailey [15]
HIARCS - CilkChess [16]

[Event "WCCC 1999"]
[Site "Paderborn, Germany"]
[Date "1999.06.19"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Hiarcs"]
[Black "CilkChess"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 d5 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.c5 O-O
9.Bb5 Bd7 10.O-O b6 11.Na4 bxc5 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Nxc5 Re8 14.Rc1 Rc8 15.Ba6
Rb8 16.b3 Qa5 17.a4 Rb4 18.Nd3 Rb6 19.Bb5 Rxb5 20.axb5 Nxd4 21.Nxd4 Bxd4
22.Qc2 Bxb5 23.Rfd1 Qb6 24.Nc5 Be5 25.Qd2 Qb8 26.g3 Bf6 27.Rc2 Qa8 28.f3 a5
29.Rdc1 Be7 30.Qd4 Bg5 31.f4 Bf6 32.Qd2 d4 33.Nd3 Be7 34.Rd1 Qf3 35.Ne5 Qe4
36.Ra2 d3 37.Qg2 Qd4+ 38.Kh1 Bb4 39.Qb7 Qc5 40.Qe4 d2 41.Kg2 Qb6 42.Rc2 Rd8
43.g4 f6 44.Nc6 Qb7 45.Qxe6+ Kf8 46.Kf2 Re8 47.Qd5 Bxc6 48.Rxc6 Qa7+ 0-1

Don's Programs

Alphabetic List





Selected Publications


Forum Posts

1998 ...

2008 ...

2010 ...

2012 ...

External Links

Don Dailey


Don's Avatars


  1. Aegon 1996-97 by Thorsten Czub
  2. The computer-go Archives
  3. Komodo chess engine - Don Daily (1956 - 2013)
  4. Komodo release by Don Dailey, CCC, October 01, 2013
  5. Re: Who is Don/Larry's new partner!? by Don Dailey, CCC, October 08, 2013
  6. Komodo chess engine - Don Daily (1956 - 2013)
  7. Don Dailey, 1956 -2013 by Larry Kaufman, CCC, November 23, 2013
  8. Larry Kaufman (1990). The Rexchess Story. Computer Chess Reports Quarterly. Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 8, Chess Computer UK by Mike Watters
  9. Larry Kaufman (1993). PC-Software. Computer Chess Reports, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 8-9
  10. Christopher F. Joerg (1996). The Cilk System for Parallel Multithreaded Computing Ph. D. Thesis, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pdf
  11. Komodo chess engine by Don Dailey and Larry Kaufman
  12. Komodo - Rybka in Danger? by Larry Kaufman, Rybka Forum, January 21, 2010
  13. WCCC 1986 Video 1:15
  14. Cologne 1986 - Chess - Round 5 - Game 11 (ICGA Tournaments)
  15. Image captured from Paderborn 1999 1.mp4 by Thorsten Czub hosted by Ed Schröder
  16. Paderborn 1999 - Chess - Round 7 - Game 12 (ICGA Tournaments)
  17. Omar Syed (2015). The Arimaa Challenge: From Inception to Completion. ICGA Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1
  18. Re: MTD is a big win by Don Dailey, CCC, July 20, 1999
  19. Khet (game) from Wikipedia
  20. ICGA Reference Database
  21. A Pairwise Comparison of Chess Engine Move Selections by Adam Hair, hosted by Ed Schröder
  22. Naive Bayes classifier from Wikipedia
  23. Roanoke Star from Wikipedia

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