Ed Trice
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  • November 24, 2001

    In 2001, I was primarily programming on my Macintosh G4 Cube.

    I decided to work on making World Championship Checkers even stronger than it was by helping my programming partner, Gil Dodgen, solve what we called the Perfect Play Databases for the game of checkers. Up until this point in time, Gil was the only one who had computed the so-called "Distance To Win" data for checkers. It is a lot harder than you might think. Having already done it for chess, I can tell you, it is more difficult to do for checkers!

    Shown above is the hardest position to win with only 5 pieces on the board. It is red to move and win. The piece highlighted in yellow is the piece that must move for the winning side to secure victory. Any move of the checker results in a draw! Even still, with perfect defense, red must make 74 moves to win this "simple" checkers endgame. That is what the Macintosh version of the program looked like in 2001. In less than one month, World Championship Checkers for the Mac would be the all-time strongest checkers program every to run on its operating system, even to this day

    The most upsetting thing about this newspaper article: the writing is very poor. Almost every quote of mine is edited, truncated, or uses terminology that is off-mark. In those cases, that is certainly not what I said. I don't think the reporter they sent to my house in Hatfield, PA was on their stafff much longer. The grammatical errors were quite embarrassing.

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