From Chessprogramming wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Home * Engines * Proscha

Proscha, (Projekt Schach)
a mainframe chess program written in PL/I for the IBM 370 by a team of students of the University of Dortmund. The project was set up end of 1973 as suggested by professor Volker Claus. The team was headed by Hagen Huwig [1], with Hans-Jürgen Appelrath, K. Behle, L. Franzen, N. Schulz, R. Schulz, W. Teschers and Oliver Vornberger as team members [2]. The aim was not primarily to write a strong chess program but project and team work, structured programming experience, and correctness of the applied algorithms.


A formal game theoretic description based on a finite state machine and pseudo code of a Minimax implementation was given in Hagen Huwig's project report [3], further elaborating on quiescence, aspects of the board representation using a 12x12 board, legal move generation, and heuristic evaluation considering material with point values of {1,3,3,5,9,200}, pawn structure, center control and king safety. Alpha-beta was not mentioned but forward pruning of a Shannon Type B program based on swapoff and king safety analysis. Largest piece of code was the legal move generator, the whole program consists of about 5000 PL/I statements.

Game Play

Volker Claus

A few test games were published in the report, self-play, and one test game versus Volker Claus, time control 45 minutes for the whole game, played via TSO:

[Event "Test Game"]
[Site "University of Dortmund"]
[Date "1974"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Volker Claus"]
[Black "Proscha"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.Nc3 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.d4 e6 4.Bf4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.e3 Bc5 7.Ndb5 O-O 
8.Nc7 Bxe3 9.Be5 Bxf2+ 10.Kxf2 Nc6 11.Bxf6 Qxc7 12.Qg4 g6 13.Qh4 Qb6+ 
14.Ke2 Qxb2 15.Qh6 Qxc2+ 16.Ke1 Qb2 17.Qg7#  1-0

First GI Computer Chess

Representing the host university, Proscha played the First GI Computer Chess Tournament [4] [5], lost from Daja and Samiel, and won from Charlie. In one of his algorithm lectures on verification and correctness [6], Oliver Vornberger mentioned a bug in Proscha despite it was extensively tested over one year, which appeared exactly during the first round versus Daja, where Proscha captured its own white king with its own white bishop [7].


External Links


  1. Hans Decker (1998). EinBlick - Ursprünge der Dortmunder Informatik. pdf
  2. Hagen Huwig (1975). Bericht über eine Projektgruppe mit dem Thema Schachprogrammierung. Bericht Nr. 9, University of Dortmund (German)
  3. Hagen Huwig (1975). Bericht über eine Projektgruppe mit dem Thema Schachprogrammierung. Bericht Nr. 9, University of Dortmund (German)
  4. Erstes Computer-Schachturnier der Gesellschaft für Informatik October 17, 1975, Computerwoche 42/1975 (German)
  5. Reinhard Zumkeller (1975). Erstes GI Computer-Schach-Turnier, Dortmund 1975, Bulletin, including a paper by Konrad Zuse
  6. Vorlesung Algorithmen WS 2014/15, Di, 18.11.2014 Verifikation: partielle Korrektheit, Terminierung, Halteproblem (Algorithmen-Fee), YouTube Video at 8:34
  7. Proscha was disrespectful mentioned by Daja author Ludwig Zagler as "bastelprogram" (tinker program) in Schach: Die Zugmaschine Der Spiegel 16/1976, April 12, 1976 (German)

Up one Level