Sunday, January 31, 2016

ACM World Computer Chess Championship, 1983

Computer Chess Championship, 1983
I don't remember how I got involved with the ACM World Computer Chess Championship.  I remember I was in a graduate program in Computer Methodology.

I volunteered for the local arrangements committee.  I was in charge of transmitting the names of the participants to the people in ACM who were doing the brochure.  One of the participants was Belle, the program Ken Thompson and Joe Condon created at Bell Labs.  I actually got a call from ACM asking whether his name was really Joe Condom.  It wasn't.

I was in charge of the setup for the room, including where the platform, the computers and the programmers would be positioned, and what outlets and phone lines would be needed.  Most of the participants were run on mainframe computers at remote locations.

FWCGM Botvinnik
FWCGM Mikhail Botvinnik was to attend the tournament.  Shortly before, the Soviets had downed an airliner, and the committee (who had no idea who he was) was seriously considering disinviting him.  I told them that he was a human rights activist, and that he might be planning to defect.  People in chess told me that this was ridiculous, but I didn't want him to be disinvited.   When he came, he sat most of the time, he sat with a very large man, presumable a bodyguard, and they discussed the games in Russian.

I was in charge of getting volunteers to do the demonstration boards.  Bruce Pandolfini helped me by getting my some volunteer
NM Bruce Bowyer
s from the Manhattan Chess Club.  One of these volunteers was Bruce Bowyer.  One time I called him "Brucie" inadvertently.  He told me that if anyone called him "Brucie" twice, he would kick their ass.  I tried it to see whether it was true, and he literally kicked my ass.   That was how he was.  Despite that, we were friends for many years.  He was a Libertarian, and he was a most intelligent spokesman for that school of thought.

I met many people from the Manhattan Chess Club.  I don't remember clearly, who I first met there or at some other occasion.  I would say:   Peter Arden, Bruce Bowyer, John Herbst, Mark Kalvin, Chris Negado, John Papazian, Michael Pustilnik, and Ted Vialet.

This led to my joining the Manhattan Chess Club.  More on that shortly.

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