IHAVE ALREADY MENTIONED ATTEMPTS TO PROGRAM COMPUTERS TO PLAY BOARD games, such as chess and checkers. The most successful of these was Arthur Samuel’s checker-playing program. In 1967, Samuel published a paper describing an improved version of his program.1 He had refined the program’s search procedure and incorporated better “book-learning” capabilities, and instead of calculating the estimated value of a position by adding up weighted feature values, he used hierarchically organized tables. According to Richard Sutton, “This version learned to play much better than the 1959 program, though still not at a master level.”2
Between 1959 and 1962, a group of MIT students, advised by John McCarthy, developed a chess-playing program. ...