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Communications of the ACM

COKO III: the Cooper-Koz chess program


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OKO III is a chess player written entirely in Fortran. On the IBM 360-65, COKO III plays a minimal chess game at the rate of .2 sec cpu time per move, with a level close to lower chess club play. A selective tree searching procedure controlled by tactical chess logistics allows a deployment of multiple minimal game calculations to achieve some optimal move selection. The tree searching algorithms are the heart of COKO's effectiveness, yet they are conceptually simple. In addition, an interesting phenomenon called a tree searching catastrophe has plagued COKO's entire development just as it troubles a human player. Standard exponential growth is curbed to a large extent by the definition and trimming of the Fisher set. A clear distinction between tree pruning and selective tree searching is also made. Representation of the chess environment is described along with a strategical preanalysis procedure that maps the Lasker regions. Specific chess algorithms are described which could be used as a command structure by anyone desiring to do some chess program experimentation. A comparison is made of some mysterious actions of human players and COKO III.

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