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.
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.
Long-time world checkers champion Marion Tinsley consistently bested all comers, losing only nine games in the 40 years following his 1954 crowning. He lost his world championship title to a computer program in 1994 and now that same program has become unbeatable; its creators have proved that even a perfectly played game against it will end in a draw. Jonathan Schaeffer and his team at the University of Alberta, Canada, have been working on their program, called Chinook, since 1989, running calculations on as many as 200 computers simultaneously. Schaeffer has now announced that they have solved the game of American checkers, which is played on an 8 by 8 board and is also known as English draughts. The team directed Chinook so it didn't have to go through every one of the 500 billion billion (5 * 1020) possible moves.