1979 Computer Chess Tournament

by | July 18, 2016

Considering I have interest in both computer history and chess, I though I would hold a little tournament to figure out which was the best computer system and software at playing chess. Understanding that as the years go by, hardware and chess software would greatly improve over time, so I thought I would go year by year. This tournament are computer systems and software for 1979, as it was the earliest I could find on mobygames.com. I did start this a nearly a year, but came up with some issues. First some of the computers were in the original tournament were after 1979, which I somehow missed to see. The other problem I had is I decided to run the programs at the hardest level, this would prove to be difficult as most moves would take hours per. So I created a couple of rules that would help me.

Each player would play each other twice, once as black and once as white, and will receive 2 points for a win, and 1 point for a draw.

Each player would start a their easiest level, and for every lost, would play one level higher in their next game. The idea is that if a level 1 player beats a level 3 player, there would be no need to demonstrate their highest level.

At the end of all the games, points will be totalled, and tie breakers matches will continue, until we have the final score.

Be sure to check out the poll done below to vote how which you think will win.

Meet the players

The Apple ][, built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, was released in 1977, and was the successor of the Apple 1, which was arguably the computer that started the personal computer revolution. It featured a MOS 6502@1MHz and 4KB of RAM. It had a the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROM's.

Sargon was introduced at the 1978 West Coast Computer faire, and written by Dan and Kathleen Spracklen.

Apple ][ / Sargon; The Apple ][, built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, was released in 1977, and was the successor of the Apple 1, which was arguably the computer that started the personal computer revolution. It featured a MOS 6502 @1 MHz and 4 KB of RAM. It had a the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROM’s. Sargon was introduced at the 1978 West Coast Computer faire, and written by Dan and Kathleen Spracklen.

The TRS80 was manufactured by the Tandy Corporation in 1977. It featured a Zilog Z80 @ 1.774 MHz and 4 ~ 48 KB of RAM.

TRS-80 Model 1 / Sargon; The TRS-80 was manufactured by the Tandy Corporation in 1977. It featured a Zilog Z80 @ 1.774 MHz and 4 ~ 48 KB of RAM.

Sargon 2 was released later in the same year as Sargon, where it tied for third in the 1978 North American Computer Chess Championship, beating a $5 million mainframe.

Apple ][ / Sargon 2; Sargon 2 was released later in the same year as Sargon, where it tied for third in the 1978 North American Computer Chess Championship, beating a $5 million mainframe.

TRS-80 Model 1 / Sargon 2

In 1977 Nolan Bushnell's Atari released the 2600, one of the first home video game consoles. It featured the 8-bit MOS 6507 @ 1.19 MHz, 128bytes of RAM, and a 4KB ROM

Video Chess was created in 1979 by Robert A. Whitehead and Larry Wagner.

Atari 2600 / Video Chess; In 1977 Nolan Bushnell’s Atari released the 2600, one of the first home video game consoles. It featured the 8-bit MOS 6507 @ 1.19 MHz, 128bytes of RAM, and a 4KB ROM. Video Chess was created in 1979 by Robert A. Whitehead and Larry Wagner.

Sargon_Chess_1978_Hayden_Book_Company_text

Click here for the Tournament Standings

Which do you think will win?
TRS-80 Model 1 playing Sargon
1 Vote
Atari 2600 playing Video Chess
3 Vote
TRS-80 Model 1 play Sargon 2
7 Vote
Apple 2 playing Sargon 2
7 Vote
Apple 2 Playing Sargon
0 Vote