Friday, 30 April 2021

4K Tandy Checkers Versus Tim Hartnell Checkers

Well it looks like I was perhaps a bit hasty in criticizing Micro Checkers by Tandy for the TRS-80 MC-10 (AKA GW BASIC Checkers-- see my last post).  While I was investigating that program I also came across Tim Hartnell's Basic Checkers program.  I was able to copy much of it from a scan and with a little editing to get it to work. The scan can be found here:

Then I modified it a little by flipping the board display routine. This helped put it into an orientation that allowed me to input moves from Micro Checkers to make the two programs play each other.  It was Micro Checkers for the win!  Way to go Tandy! I might have called it a weak A.I. but at least it's not as weak as Tim Hartnell's Checkers!  I've seen someone on the net also try to put Tim Hartnell's Chess up against the 1K ZX81 chess program.  

Hartnell's Chess, which I also have typed in, bugged out of the contest not too far in. From my experience it is a pretty weak and buggy version of chess.

Micro Checkers gave Hartnell's game a fairly good trouncing. But who knows, it is only one game.  Perhaps I just caught Harrtnell's checkers on an off day. Here is a display of the final board layouts of the two programs running side-by-side:

The green pieces of Micro Chess (on the right) are the A.I. but on the left side those pieces are listed as "H"s (for human), since I was inputting those moves into Tim Hartnell's Checkers as my move (as the "Human" player).  The computer's pieces were listed as "C"s, but they have all been removed.  At least Hartnell's Checkers recognizes that it has been defeated, and I have to say that it has done so graciously.  Hartnell's programs might not be strong, but they always have class.  His checkers even posts the occasional random remark like, "Great move!" and "You got  me!", which is a nice touch.  But Hartnell's program was aimed at computers that probably had at least 16K, so such flourishes were possible.  The fact that Micro Checkers cannot recognize its own victory doesn't take anything away from its more powerful play.  Especially when one considers that it all fits in 4K!

Here's a rough breakdown of the match:

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