Sunday, 9 January 2011


When I was a kid I really wanted to write my own computer chess program. The only problem is I had no idea how to do it. Eventually I discovered a piece of software called Turbo Games Works, which had programs that played Chess, Bridge and Go-Moku. More importantly it had the source code for each program, enabling me to learn how to write my own programs.
Of course in those days the internet had yet to really take off, so getting copies of program source code was extremely difficult. These days it is much easier, especially due to the enthusiastic open source community.
PyChess is one such open source program that aspiring computer chess coders might find useful. Not so much for the playing engine (anything written in python can only go 'so' fast) but for the other bits and pieces a program may need. It has a gui as well as providing support for playing online at FICS and other servers. So rather than spend your time trying to understand the FICS protocols, a quick read of the source code for Pychess would save you a large amount of time.

BTW I ended up doing more work with Turbo Bridge rather than Turbo Chess, even implementing some alternative bidding systems. Sadly I no longer have the source code for either program and am interested in tracking it down. If anyone has a clue about where I could find it I would appreciate it very much.

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