Chess [2]

For archive (Updated on February 13, 2019)

Chess Sets

I had several Chess sets.

  • My parents bought me a regular sized Chess set with Plastic pieces.
  • Saya U Maung Maung Gyi, my father’s teacher, gave me a set with leaded wooden pieces.
  • My elder brother gave me a Portable set that he bought during his trip to Colombo, Ceylon to compete in the 1960 ARAE Annual Regatta. He coxed the winning team with U Tin Htoon (A60, Stroke), Sunny Teng (left BIT for abroad), Victor Htun Shein (BAF pilot, GBNF) and Dr. Harry Saing (Pediatric Surgeon and multiple athlete). They won the Willingdon Trophy for Coxed Fours.

Chess Books

My uncle had Chess books specializing in

  • Opening
  • Middle
  • End game.

He also followed Chess Columns and the analysis of Championship games.

I did not have time and energy to study Chess literature.

RIT Chess Club

Ko Aung Than (EE) spent time with Chess and Cards more than classes and had to leave RIT before graduation.

He co-founded the RIT Chess Club with Ko Maung Maung, Ko Thet Lwin (Henry) and the visiting Soviet lecturers.

Computer Chess

Although I stopped playing chess regularly, I followed the “History of Computer Chess” starting with the Professor Don Michie’s wager with David Levy. The professor was a pioneer in Machine Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh and was optimistic about the computer’s capability to play championship level Chess. David Levy — a programmer and Master level Chess player — wagered a year’s salary if a computer program could beat him within a decade.

David Lev won the bet.

The challenge inspired Computer Scientists (such as Ken Thompson, co-designer of Unix) to develop software and specialized software to play Chess.

It took several decades before a computer could beat a reasonably good Chess player, and ultimately beat the World Champion.

Deep Blue

Deep Thought” was developed at Carnegie Mellon University by a designer of special purpose chip for multi-layer pruning. With the help of four other Ph.D. students (two of whom are excellent Chess players), Deep Thought was taught to learn and play against Top Chess Programs. It won the Championship for Computer Chess hosted by ACM.

IBM hired three of the Ph.D graduates (that worked on the “Deep Thought” project) to design and develop “Deep Blue” with the help of Grand Masters. The objective was to beat Gary Kasparov (then World Champion) in a Best-of-five challenge match. Deep Blue lost on the first encounter.

In a rematch of another Best-of-five series, “Deep Blue” succeeded to beat Kasparov. Per saying, “To err is human”, Kasparov made a slight mistake, and “Deep Blue” relentlessly attacked and won the game and the series. IBM “retired” Deep Blue.


The hardware and software technology used for Deep Blue were enhanced to develop Watson (and the variants) for

  • beating the Jeopardy (TV game) champion
  • assisting medical doctors in training and diagnosis
  • incorporating AI in IBM projects.


CHM (Computer History Museum) had an exhibit on the History of Computer Chess.

I have autographs of the panelists from the CHM session on Computer Chess.

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