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The First Chess Computer


Alan Turing

In 1947, Alan Turing with the help of David Champernowne created the world’s first chess playing computer program, which they named “TuroChamp”. The program was devised with pencil and paper, the calculations being performed manually by Turing and Champernowne themselves - each move would take them half an hour or more to calculate.

You can play against the TuroChamp chess program at

Alan Turning was a mathematician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist who worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. He is known for developing an eletromechanical machine that helped the British interpret the secret codes from the German Enigma Machine.

In Alan Turing's day a lot of problem solving was done using a human mathematical clerk working by rote. Once the method or program for finding solutions to mathematical problems had been done then the mathematical clerk would solve each problem by hand. In Turing’s time, these rote-workers were in fact called “computers”! They were human computers who carried out some aspects of the work later done by electronic computers.


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