World Champion (1991-1995)

During the end of the 80's it became clear that dominant position of the "dedicated chess computer" was in decline, that the PC gained more and more popularity, that it was time to invest and move REBEL to another platform.

This was not an easy decision, first to port a chess program like REBEL to a new platform would cost a more than a year of full time work, at that time I still operated as a one man company, secondly several choices were available, which one was best?

In the end the choice was made for the Archimedes RISC processor above the 8088 processor from IBM, the forerunner of the INTEL/AMD based PC as we know it today. The decisive argument to make a choice for the RISC processor was its speed in comparison with the PC, the RISC processor clearly performed better, a factor of 2 to 2.5. As it turned out later the choice was an excellent decision.

In 1990 I became in contact with a Dutch company called TASC (The Advanced Software Company) another full time chess developing company who had developed a so called plugin card for the PC. The plugin-card was a stand-alone computer unit based on the Archimedes RISC structure in which REBEL was uploaded and by a smart communication protocol could play chess on any 8088/80286 processor or compatible PC!

The system was a breakthrough in computer technology, put in a plugin card in your PC and suddenly have 2 computers, it's like having a MAC in your PC. The system was patented under the name The ChessMachine and was commercialized. It's first performance was in 1991 in Vancouver, Canada and REBEL hit bull's eye, World Champion, finally...

1992 became an even more exciting year, whereas the Vancouver tournament was for micro computers only 1992 was the year of the World Championship for all classes, a 3 year cycle World Championship where also the big multi-million-dollar mainframe computers were allowed to particiape, among them the CRAY Super Computer, the Zugzwang 256 x chips parallel chess program from Germany, but especially feared was HITECH with its special developed chess hardware from professor Hans Berliner developed at the Carnegie Mellon University.

In the earlier years (1974-1992) the mainframe computers dominated every World Championship simply by the enormous computer power advantage, the year 1992 became their Waterloo and it was a small $50 plugin card that defeated the multi-million dollar super computers, the mainframes' domination in computer chess was finally broken, REBEL became World Champion all Classes, a title valid for 3 years, till 1995.

A shock went through the Land of Computer Chess, how could a simple $50 plugin card defeat multi-million-dollar mainframe computers, the answer is simple if you are a chess programmer, the answer is be a more smart Programmer.

The news from Madrid went fast and hit the headlines of the Dutch mainstream media, I was flooded by journalists giving interviews, I had to explain the success story on Dutch television in a popular talkshow.

Picture from the World Championship 1992 in Madrid where Rebel (known as the ChessMachine then) gained the World Champion title.

Left to right:
Richard Lang and Ossi Weiner (Genius team)
Jan Louwman
Ed Schröder and Rob Kemper (Rebel team)

HISTORY World Champion Cycle (1974-1995)

Year Location Program Name Programmer Country
1992   Madrid   REBEL    Schröder  NED 
1989 Edmonton   Deep Thought Hsu USA
1986 Cologne Cray Blitz Hyatt USA
1983 New York Cray Blitz Hyatt USA
1980 Linz Belle Thompson USA
1977 Toronto Chess 4.6 Slate/Atkins USA
1974 Stockholm Kaissa Donskoy USSR

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