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. 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.
So, they sat in the now-defunct Computer Museum in Boston. The room was large, but the crowd numbered in the teens. The two men were slated to play 30 matches over the next two weeks. The year was 1994, before Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue or Lee Sedol and AlphaGo. Contemporary accounts played the story as a Man vs. Machine battle, the quick wits of a human versus the brute computing power of a supercomputer.
Michael Bowling has always loved games. When he was growing up in Ohio, his parents were avid card players, dealing out hands of everything from euchre to gin rummy. Meanwhile, he and his friends would tear up board games lying around the family home and combine the pieces to make their own games, with new challenges and new markers for victory. Bowling has come far from his days of playing with colourful cards and plastic dice. He has three degrees in computing science and is now a professor at the University of Alberta.
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. In this match, after six games (all draws), Tinsley withdrew from the match and relinquished the world championship title to CHINOOK,citing health concerns.