Samuel's successes included a victory by his program over a master-level player. In fact, the opponent was not a master, and Samuel himself had no illusions about his program's strength. This single event, a milestone in AI, was magnified out of proportion by the media and helped to create the impression that checkers was a solved game. Nevertheless, his work stands as a major achievement in machine learning and AI. Since 1950, the checkers world has been dominated by Tinsley.
In August 1992, the world checkers champion, Marion Tinsley, defended his title against the computer program CHINOOK. Because of its success in human tournaments, CHINOOK had earned the right to play for the world championship. Tinsley won the best-of-40-game match with a score of 4 wins, 2 losses, and 33 draws. This event was the first time in history that a program played for a human world championship and might be a prelude to what is to come in chess. This article tells the story of the first Man versus Machine World Championship match.
This work remains a milestone in AI research. Samuel's program reportedly beat a master and "solved" the game of checkers. Both journalistic claims were false, but they created the impression that there was nothing of scientific interest left in the game (Samuel himself made no such claims). Consequently, most subsequent game-related research turned to chess. Other than a program from Duke University in the 1970s (Truscott 1979), little attention was paid to achieving a world championship-caliber checker program.
In 1992, the seemingly unbeatable World Checker Champion Marion Tinsley defended his title against the computer program CHINOOK. After an intense, tightly contested match, Tinsley fought back from behind to win the match by scoring four wins to CHINOOK's two, with 33 draws. This match was the first time in history that a human world champion defended his title against a computer. This article reports on the progress of the checkers (8 3 8 draughts) program CHINOOK since 1992. Two years of research and development on the program culminated in a rematch with Tinsley in August 1994. In this match, after six games (all draws), Tinsley withdrew from the match and relinquished the world championship title to CHINOOK,citing health concerns. CHINOOK has since defended its title in two subsequent matches. It is the first time in history that a computer has won a human-world championship.
In 1950, Claude Shannon published his seminal work on how to program a computer to play chess. Since then, developing game-playing programs that can compete with (and even exceed) the abilities of the human world champions has been a long-sought-after goal of the AI research community. In Shannon's time, it would have seemed unlikely that only a scant 50 years would be needed to develop programs that play world-class backgammon, checkers, chess, Othello, and Scrabble. These remarkable achievements are the result of a better understanding of the problems being solved, major algorithmic insights, and tremendous advances in hardware technology. Computer games research is one of the important success stories of AI.