ITEP Chess Program

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The ITEP Chess Program,
an early Soviet chess program, developed since 1963 [1] at Alexander Kronrod’s laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) by Georgy Adelson-Velsky, Vladimir Arlazarov, Anatoly Uskov, Alexander Zhivotovsky, A. Leman, M. Rozenfeld and Russian chess master Alexander Bitman [2], to run under the Soviet M-2 [3] and M-20 computers.

Shannon Type A

The ITEP Program already was a Shannon Type A program, encouraged by Kronrod’s "general recursive search scheme", and by Alexander Brudno's description of the Alpha-Beta algorithm [4].


see Stanford-ITEP Match

In 1965, while John McCarthy visited the Soviet Union, he was challenged by Kronrod, who considered the Kotok-McCarthy-Program to be the best program in the United States at the time [5]. At the end of 1966 the four game match was arranged between Kotok-McCarthy, running on a IBM 7090 computer, and the ITEP Program on a M-2 [6]. The match played over nine months was won 3-1 by the ITEP Program, which searches either three (first two games) or five plies (improved version) ahead.


By 1971, Mikhail V. Donskoy joined with Arlazarov and Uskov to program its successor on an ICL System 4/70 at the Institute of Control Sciences, called Kaissa, which became the first World Computer Chess Champion at the WCCC 1974 in Stockholm.



Quote from Mikhail Donskoy's life cycle of a programmer [7]:

When I was in high school I learned to program on the M-20 ... In the group of programmers at Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, where computing work was done on nuclear physics on the M-20, they came up with arrays, lists, the need for subroutines and more. One of my teachers, Georgy Adelson-Velsky came up with a hash memory. Details can be found in another of my teachers - Alexander Kronrod "Conversations about programming". Even before Dijkstra's basic principles of structured programming was known, Alexander Brudno published the book "Programming in meaningful notation." There was also created the first chess program ... The chess program ITEP, the predecessor of Kaissa fit in memory of M-20, namely in 4096 cells, each of which has a 48-bit ...


Quote from Biography AS Kronrod by Alexander Yershov [8]

In 1958, Kronrod, Adelson-Velsky, and Landis selected "Snap" ("подкидного дурака") as the intellectual foundations for the development of the game heuristic programming. The program itself was a fiasco - but the basic principles (board games, search techniques and limited depth) were formulated. Further research laboratories in the field of game theory culminated in the first ever chess duel between the program of the Institute of Soviet and American best program developed at Stanford University under the direction of J. McCarthy. By telegraph match was played in four games ended 3-1 in favor of our institute. At the time, chess became a guinea pig for all programmers interested in artificial intelligence.

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