Welcome to my chess web page.

Created 28/12/18 - Last updated 10/2/19

Ty Harness


' ...the only way to win (w.r.t. Global Thermo-nuclear War) is not to play the game. How about a nice game of chess? ' a quote from Joshua in the 1983 film directed by John Badham : WarGames


My 3D printed chessmen


Please note I'm not a Grand Master (GM) and this site is really for the absolute novice. I've always been interested in chess since a school friend, Paul Parrish, taught me the basic moves when aged about seven years old. Alas Paul sadly died, so I'll dedicate this page to him, RIP. There was a great TV chess tournament shown in the 80s (Sunday mornings BBC2 if I remember correctly) called Master Series where the players would give an inner monologue consultation to the viewer, shame there's nothing like it on TV now. I was never going to be a great chess player, chess needs a great deal of training, commitment,study and a massive dose of natural ability. (Nature or nurture?) But we now have computers and the Internet and for example Chessable.com is a modern way of learning how to play chess. There are lots of online books, interactive chess board with move training, videos etc. No doubt any level of player will learn a great deal from their system. You can of course learn chess the traditional way: Get someone to show you the rules, get some books from the library and join a club.

I'm a full time carer these days, although 24/7 I do get some (not much) quiet time and I was looking for a hobby - I thought I'd give the old chess books a read and try and get my old chess software working again. Even now whenever I see a game being played I feel the urge to play and it's never been easier with (or without internet enabled) computers readily available. You can even play a GM level computer algorithm (or engine) now for free at chess.com, chessbase.com, chess24.com or Lichess, see all the hyper-links below. Today's GMs are trained by computer (strong chess engines) and not to deeply analyse each move in depth is un thinkable. Of course all those retro dedicated chess computers in the 80's were set at a level that that allowed 'us kids' to spend endless hours playing chess in our rooms and possibly even win the odd game. The SciSys was my first chess computer I owned and still hold with great affection. The 1k chess program for the ZX81 was my first computer opponent, the Sinclair ZX81 was probably the first affordable home computer in the UK. [>>] fast forward 20 years and chess engines reached GM level in 1997 when the Kasparov vs. Deep Blue rematch ended in a win for Deep Blue. [>>] fast forward another 20 years and I'm amazed at how far the chess community has evolved the game using super computers, AI calculation, analysis and training, it's truly amazing. You can't distinguish if you are playing a computer now in 2019, therefore Alan Turing's predictions/prophercies have proved pretty accurate. You'll find most programmers published work very apologetic for spending time and money on designing and working on chess algorithms. OK, Turing had some fairly important work to do early 1940s with chess being mainly a distraction but now AI is making all the critical decisions on our health and wealth. Most people are asking there AI home assistant for constant advice (or consultation in chess parlence). There are some links below to Turing's work, computer chess history and a must read book: 'Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins' by Kasparov[1]. Also a new book which I'm eager to read: 'Game Changer' by Sadler and Regan [2] where the world's best chess player is now an AI algorithm which taught itself chess in 9 hours. Quoting from [2] Chapter 4: "During those nine hours, AlphaZero played a total of 44 million games against itself - more than 1,000 games per second." I've just bought the Chessable (and Move Trainer TM) version of 'Game Changer'. I just hope it's not as sharp as the Clarke/Kubrick's HAL9000 computer from the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Frank : QxP
HAL9000: BxKt.P
Frank : Ah, lovely move..err. R-K1
HAL900 : I'm sorry Frank I think you missed it Q-B3, BxQ, Kt.xB, mate.
Frank : Ah, looks like you're right. I resign.
HAL9000: Thankyou for a very enjoyable game.


If you like my chessmen in the above photos please download (and 3D print/improve) them. Use the 3D graphics in your web pages, software applications and school projects etc. Scroll down and see My Stuff for all the download links.

I've put this simple web page together just for the fun of it - enjoy your chess.
Dedicated chess computer games from the last century:

The first dedicated chess computer was the 'Chess Challenger' by Sidney Samole available in 1977.

I found a Krypton SystemA Horizon chess computer (circa early 90s) in a charity shop just the other day for a 1 GBP - well I had to buy it. I had the SciSys Electronic Trio computer (circa mid 80s.) There's only one thing to do and let them battle. I'll just let them both use Level 1 - they both make their moves in less than 1 second but certainly it's not just the first legal move and even Level 1 has some tactical ability. The PGN file is below, a close game with win for black (SciSys).

test.pgn file (see My Stuff for download):

[Event "Horizon vs Scisys"]
[Site "UK"]
[Date "2018.12.25"]
[Round ""]
[White "Horizon Krypton SystemA"]
[Black "SciSys Electronic Trio"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nc6 3. Nc3 Bf5 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bb5 a6 6. Bxc6+ bxc6 7. O-O Rb8 8. Ne5 Qd6 9. Bd2 Rxb2 10. Qf3 Bxc2 11. Qf4 Be4 12. Rfc1 Rxd2 13. a3 c5 14. g4 cxd4 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Rab1 dxe3 17. Rb8+ Qd8 18. Rxd8+ Rxd8 19. Rxc7 Rd1+ 20. Kg2 exf2 21. Kxf2 h5 22. h3 hxg4 23. hxg4 Rh3 24. Kg2 Rxa3 25. g5 Ra2+ 26. Kg3 Nh5+ 27. Kg4 Nxf4 28. Rc8+ Rd8 29. Rxd8+ Kxd8 30. Kxf4 f6 31. Nc6+ Kc7 32. Nb4 e5+ 33. Kxe4 Bxb4 34. Kd5 Rd2+ 35. Ke4 fxg5 36. Kxe5 Bc5 37. Kf5 Rg2 38. Ke6 Kc6 39. Ke5 Rf2 40. Ke4 g4 41. Ke5 g5 42. Ke6 Bd4 43. Ke7 Re2+ 44. Kf7 g3 45. Kg6 g4 46. Kf5 g2 47. Kxg4 g1=Q+ 48. Kf5 Qf2+ 49. Kg5 Re7 50. Kg4 a5 51. Kg5 a4 52. Kh6 Qg3 53. Kh5 Rh7# 0-1

Now we need a rematch but how the Dickens do you get the Horizon to play white! Well luckily the manual for SystemA Chess Express is the same and thanks to alain zanchetta who has uploaded a great deal of resources online.You must ensure the level of time is set to at least 5 seconds and press move immediately after new game or at least within 5 seconds.


testSvH.pgn file (see My Stuff for download):

[Event "Scisys vs Horizon"]
[Site "UK"]
[Date "2019.01.14"]
[Round ""]
[White "SciSys Electronic Trio"]
[Black "Horizon Krypton"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bf4 Nc6 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3 Bb4 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O Bd7 8. Qe2 Kh8 9. a3 Bxc3 10. bxc3 Qc8 11. Rfb1 h6 12. a4 Ne4 13. Bxe4 dxe4 14. Nd2 g5 15. Bg3 f5 16. Qh5 Rf6 17. Be5 Nxe5 18. dxe5 Be8 19. Qe2 Rf8 20. Qc4 Bc6 21. f3 Bd5 22. Qc5 Rd8 23. fxe4 fxe4 24. c4 b6 25. Qd4 c5 26. Qc3 Bc6 27. a5 Qc7 28. axb6 axb6 29. Rxa8 Rxa8 30. Rf1 g4 31. Rf6 Qd7 32. h3 gxh3 33. gxh3 Kh7 34. Rf4 Rg8+ 35. Kf2 Qb7 36. Qa1 Rd8 37. Ke2 Kg8 38. Rf6 Ra8 39. Qg1+ Qg7 40. Qg6 Qxg6 41. Rxg6+ Kf7 42. Rf6+ Ke7 43. Rxh6 Ra5 44. Rh7+ Kd8 45. Nb3 Ra2 46. Kd2 Ba4 47. Kc3 Bc6 48. Nc1 Ra6 49. Nb3 Kc8 50. Rg7 Ra3 51. Kb2 Ra8 52. Kc3 Ra4 53. h4 Ra3 54. Kb2 Ra6 55. Kc3 Ra4 56. h5 Kd8 57. h6 b5 58. Nxc5 Rxc4+ 59. Kd2 Rxc5 60. Rg5 Rd5+ 61. Kc3 Ke7 62. Rg7+ Kf8 63. Rg5 Rd7 64. Rg6 Ke7 65. Rg8 Bd5 66. Kd4 Kf7 67. h7 Bb7+ 68. Kc5 Rc7+ 69. Kxb5 Bc6+ 70. Kb6 Rb7+ 71. Kxc6 Rb2 72. h8=Q Rxc2+ 73. Kd6 Rf2 74. Rg7# 1-0

A 74 move gruelling marathon of a match. 2 zip to SciSys. I guess they're both using the same algorithm, although I believe the Horizon has built in opening and endings for it's teaching mode. Plus I left the Horizon on the normal style mode 3 but you can set it super agressive or more defensive play.
Retro chess computer links

Chess_Challenger - Sidney Samole
chess-computersmichaelquigleyswebsite
schaakcomputers.nl chess-computers
tluif.home.xs4all.nl
chesscomputeruk.com

Retro Computer Chess
The first computer I bought was a ZX81, it's all I could afford and one of the few 1k games available at the time was chess. I couldn't afford the 16k Ram Pack as well as a cassette player/recorder.

(Sorry can't directly hyper link to non secure sites any more from this web server setup.)

D. R. Horne's - 1kchess : users dot ox dot ac dot uk ~uzdm0006 scans 1kchess zx81 1kchess Alas, I haven't got a working ZX81 anymore but I've download the emulator for Linux from: michaelminn.com - XZ81 and the tape(.p file) from: zx81stuff.org.uk


A screen shot from the xz81 emulator - checkmate, my original Sinclair ZX81, and thChessV2 pgn import function.

To execute xz81 from the CLI:
./xz81

Press J for the Load Keyword and then shift p for double quotes: LOAD "chessking" [enter]. You have to play black and you enter the moves back-to-front. The computer plays the opening move e3. I looked it up: Vant-Kruijs-Opening. Alas there is no castling or en passant in 1kChess so it's difficult to play it against an historical game or a modern computer algorithm. I'm embarrassed to say it beat me when I gave it a game. I need to set a proper board up else I end up leaving the queen hanging. Update: I won the rematch it's 1 all now. I entered the game into thChessV2 which would then allow me to print out all the moves for my paper record. Then I would normally go over the game and note down where I made the blunders and maybe try alternative lines, to err is human. It's possible now to have online analysis engine do all this for you in a far greater depth.
My Stuff

I needed some 3D graphics of chessmen and board for a recent project so I thought it would be a good idea to design them and 3D print them, therefore the design plays to strength of how my 3D printer works but personally I think the full size Staunton chessmen take some beating design wise.

Chess Set 3D files, Chess Ink Stamps, and Chessmen 3D files


I've written my own chess software tools over the years although they, always did and still, now pale into insignificance/obscurity compared to what you can get your hands on now for example Chessable.com is a novel teaching system - very good, see the modern computer chess links below.

My software is a series of tools: A method of entering moves, displaying moves on the screen in text similar to the ZX81 output and I wanted to print the moves and board to a dot matrix printer. That software is now defunct but I've had a couple of days tiffling and got the software importing PGN and exporting a postscript files for use on modern day printers. My personnel project is to use a Raspberry Pi0 (less than 5 GBP) to create a mini travel chess computer. Use LEDs and or Segmental or LCD display to view moves entered and played by the computer. You can then link to it via SSH or VNC viewer. It has actually been done by others already and done well, see the Pico Chess link below. But I would like to finish my software and write an engine based on Alan Turing's chess algorithm - just for fun. What about turning a 3D printer into a pick and place robotic chess player? I'll leave that project to some eager young students.

thChessV2

It's a bit clunky I've just done the bare min. to get it compiling and running on a Raspberry Pi. I've took more out than I left in. I intend to write a better version when I can - I've started V3 but these things take time.


My Chess-Puter thChessV2 (gif)
A non documented feature: type morphy from the main menu to play through the 1858 game. See the code on how to capture xwd images of each ply and then use ImageMagik to convert to a gif.

$ sudo apt install x11utils

$ convert -delay 200 frame*xwd paul.gif

(Click here for a pausable css animation - won't work on old browsers)


Here are some example template pages generated from the thChessV2 software, where you can write down your games, copy openings, devise puzzles etc.

Postscipt output from thChessV2: 2 page template played from White's perspective
Postscipt output from thChessV2: 2 page template played from Black's perspective
Postscipt output from thChessV2: PGN test file imported
PGN test file

Printing the ps files from the Raspberry Pi command line interface or terminal. You need to install and configure CUPS:

$ sudo apt install cups

Once setup and you've set the printer as default, for more help see: howtogeek.com

To print a ps:

$ lpr WhiteTemplateV2.ps

but you may need to go via ghost script's output:

$ gs -dSAFER -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=officejet -sOutputFile=\|WhiteTemplateV2.ps

Depends on your printer make model/driver. Ghost Script will be installed at the same times as CUPS. If you've got CUPS installed and you can easily convert to pdf if that's your bag:

$ ps2pdf WhiteTemplateV2.ps
My Chess-Puter thChessV3
I actually like the very act of writing the moves in with a pen and noting down my calculations. But if that fills you with dread I've made Version 3 ink in the chess pieces, short/long algebraic notation and even English Descriptive Notation. Here's the Paul Morphy vs Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard 1858 Infamous Paris Opera House game: pdf output from thChessV3

Here's another game: Turing's famous 'machine' from the 1950s.



thChessV3 pdf output - Example game provided in Alan Turing's draft paper: 'Digital Computers applied to Games.'

I've still got to get the calculation engine working yet and you'll notice it evaluates check but not mate as yet. I'm getting there slowly but surely. Turing's original paper can be found here: Alan Turing Turing, Digital Computers Applied to Games.pdf

I play the game out OK till Black's move 23. ... Kt-R5 but White's move 8. P-QR4 would surley mean 23. ... KtxP. Both moves are legal and make sense - I'm assuming it's just a Typo? The game can still carry on, legally, until Black plays 29. ...R-R8(mate).

From what I gather the above paper is just a draft copy and the game was changed for publication. There's more information here: Alan Turing's Chess Algorithm by Frederic Friedel
You can also get the full pgn of the published game at the same website.
Stuff by others

Here's some essential sites to visit. Please note I'm not affiliated in any way. I'm just a chess enthusiast/hobbyist.

www.englishchess.org.uk
www.lincschess.org
www.chess.co.uk
perpetualchesspod.com
ICC
lichess.org
chess.com
chess24.com
Chess Network
spacious-mind.com
STLChessClub
PowerPlayChess
John Bartholomew
chessable.com
www.fide.com

Chess Algorithms
Alan Turing Turing, Digital Computers Applied to Games.pdf
computerhistory.org/chess
Programming a Computer for Playing Chess - Claude Shannon
Peter Frey and Larry Atkin - Chess0.5 BYTE Magazine Part 1 1978, Part 2 1978, Part 3 1978 and Part 4 1979
Ken Thompson
Computerphile - Al's games
MiniMax + AlphaBeta Pruning
matthewsadler - Alpha0/AIExpert

Modern Computer Chess
chessbase.com
Deep Blue
Stock Fish
Alpha Zero
Crazy Bishop
picochess
chess-bare-metal-assembly-chess
gnu chess
xboard
Lv100 Chess for Android
International Computer Games Association icga.org

Chess History
computerhistory.org/chess {My Favorite Web site}

Chess literature
New In Chess
Chess Magazine
[1] "Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins", Kasparov, Greengard, Pub: John Murray (5 April 2018), ISBN-10: 1473653517
[2] "Game Changer: AlphaZero's Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI", Sadler M., Regan N., Pub: New In Chess (Jan 2019), Chessable Move Trainer(TM) version