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Home * Engines * Duchess

Graphics Chessboard for Duchess [1]

a chess program running on an IBM 370/168 [2] under the MVS operating system, developed by three graduate students at the Duke University in the 70s, Eric Jensen, Tom Truscott and Bruce Wright, written in PL/I and Assembly [3]. Duchess was one of the strongest programs of its time. In 1977, it was runner up at the Second World Computer Chess Championship in Toronto, behind Chess 4.6 winning from Kaissa [4], and tied first with Chess 4.6 at the Eighth North American Computer-Chess Championship, runner up due to tie breaking points. Duchess won the Jerusalem CC Tournament 1978 due it's victory versus Chess 4.6. At the Third World Computer Chess Championship in Linz 1980, Duchess became third only losing from Belle. Duchess played seven ACM North American Computer Chess Championships from 1974 to 1981.

Photos & Games

ACM 1979

Chaos vs Duchess.ACM 1979.jpg

CHAOS vs. Duchess at the ACM 1979 [5] David Cahlander (Chess), William Toikka, Fred Swartz, Tom Truscott

[Event "10th ACM 1979"]
[Site "Detroit USA"]
[Date "1979.10.30"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Duchess"]
[Black "CHAOS"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 e6 4.Nf3 d5 5.exd5 exd5 6.d4 Bg4 7.Be2 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Qe7+ 
10.Kf1 cxd4 11.Nxd5 Qd8 12.Qe2+ Kd7 13.Qb5 Rb8 14.Nxf6+ gxf6 15.Qf5+ Kc7 16.Bxf6 Be7 
17.Bxh8 Qxh8 18.Qxf7 Qg8 19.Qxg8 Rxg8 20.Be4 Rh8 21.f4 Na5 22.Ke2 Nc4 23.Rhb1 Bf6 24.Kd3 Nb6 
25.Re1 Kb8 26.Rab1 Na4 27.Bf5 h5 28.Bg6 Nc5+ 29.Kc4 Nd7 30.Re8+ Rxe8 31.Bxe8 Nb6+ 32.Kc5 h4 
33.gxh4 Kc8 34.h5 Kd8 35.Bb5 Kc7 36.h6 a6 37.Bd3 Bh8 38.Bf5 Na4+ 39.Kb4 b5 40.Ka5 Kb7 
41.Be4+ Ka7 42.h7 Nb6 43.h4 Nc4+ 44.Kb4 Kb6 45.c3 a5+ 46.Kb3 dxc3 47.Rd1 Nd2+ 48.Rxd2 cxd2 
49.Kc2 b4 50.h5 Kc5 51.Kxd2 Bxb2 52.h6 Bh8 53.Ke3 Kc4 54.Bc2 Kd5 55.Bb3+ Kc5 56.Ke4 Kd6 
57.Kf5 Kd7 58.Kg6 Ke7 59.f5 Be5 60.Bc2 Bf6 61.Be4 Bh8 62.Bf3 Be5 63.Bc6 Bf6 64.Be8 Be5
65.Bb5 Bh8 66.Bc4 a4 67.Bg8 Bf6 68.Bd5 Be5 69.Kg5 Bf6+ 70.Kf4 Kf8 71.Ke4 Ke7 72.Be6 a3
73.Kd3 Bh8 74.Kc4 Bc3 75.Kc5 Kd8 76.Kd6 Ke8 77.Bb3 Bb2 78.Ke6 Bh8 79.Ba4+ Kf8 80.Bd1 Ke8 
81.f6 Kf8 82.Bb3 Ke8 83.Ba4+ Kf8 84.Bd1 Ke8 85.Bb3 Kf8 86.Bc4 Ke8 87.Bb5+ Kf8 88.Ba4 b3 
89.Bxb3 Ke8 90.Bc2 Kf8 91.Bd3 Ke8 92.Bb5+ Kf8 93.Ba6 Ke8 94.Bd3 Kf8 95.Be2 Ke8 96.Bh5+ Kf8 
97.Bg4 Ke8 98.Bf3 Kf8 99.Be4 Ke8 100.Bg6+ Kf8 101.Bf5 Ke8 102.Be4 Kf8 103.Bb1 Ke8 104.Bf5 Kf8 
105.Bc2 Ke8 106.Ba4+ Kf8 107.Bd1 Ke8 108.Be2 Kf8 109.Bf3 Ke8 110.Bc6+ Kf8 111.Bd5 1-0

WCCC 1980

Claude Shannon with Ken Thompson.jpg

Claude Shannon, Tom Truscott and Ken Thompson, WCCC 1980 [6], Duchess - Belle 0-1 [7]

[Event "3rd World Computer Chess Championship"]
[Site "Linz, Austria"]
[Date "1980.09.28"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Duchess"]
[Black "Belle"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.O-O Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qa5 9.Nxe4 Be6
10.Bd2 Bb4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.c3 Be7 13.cxd4 Qd5 14.Rc1 c6 15.Bg5 Bxg5 16.Rc5 Qxa2 17.Nxg5 
O-O-O 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Qd2 Rd5 20.Rcc1 Rb5 21.Re2 Rd8 22.Qc3 Rd6 23.Qc2 g6 24.Rd1 Rbd5 
25.Re4 e5 26.Re3 Rxd4 27.Rde1 Rd2 28.Qc5 Qxb2 29.Rxe5 Qb6 30.Re8+ Rd8 31.Rxd8+ Rxd8 
32.Qe7 Qa5 33.Rb1 Rd7 34.Qe3 Qb6 35.Qe8+ Qd8 36.Qe6 Qe7 37.Qg8+ Rd8 38.Qc4 h5 39.f4 Re8
40.Ra1 Qe3+ 41.Kf1 a6 42.Rd1 g5 43.f5 Qe5 44.Qd3 Rf8 45.Qd7+ Kb8 46.Kg1 Qc5+ 47.Kh1 Qxf5
48.Qd6+ Kc8 49.h3 g4 50.hxg4 hxg4 51.Re1 Rd8 52.Qh6 Qf2 0-1


Duchess is written in IBM 370 assembly language [8], applied iterative deepening, and searched about 200,000 nodes per three minute move. A book of 3,000 positions helped with the openings [9] .


From Michael and Ronda Hauben's netbook Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet [10]:

He (Truscott) and Wright created their program for an IBM System 370 Model 165  MVT/TSO mainframe computer system at Duke. It had three megabytes of main memory, which Truscott notes was later upgraded to "4 megabytes for a mere $100,000." That was, according to Truscott, "Pretty much the top of the line at the time. We did our development in batch mode," he remembers, "The source code was on punched cards and the compiled code was stored on disk." And in tournaments, he and Wright used the IBM time-sharing mode TSO.
The first computer chess tournament Truscott and Wright competed in was the North American Chess Championships held at the ACM Annual Conference in San Diego, California in November 1974. By then, Truscott was in his senior year at Duke. He and Wright named their chess program Duchess. 

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