Jonathan Schaeffer

Review of One Jump Ahead:
Challenging Human Supremacy in Checkers

A checkers book on a robot page? You bet! This is an absorbing tale of the development of 'Chinook', the world champion, artificially intelligent, checkers program. But its much more than that. It is told in the first person by the leader of the Chinook team. We tag along on his obsessive eight year odyssey to beat the world's best human player; Dr. Marion Tinsley. Programming strategies are presented in a deep yet easy to understand style. Here is a practical application of the artificial intelligence that robot builders are striving for. The story of Tinsley is also amazing. In over 40 years of competitive checkers he finished first in every tournament. Most of those games were published and Chinook was tasked with analyzing every move. The result? Tinsley had made only one wrong move in forty years! The final version of Chinook is a finely tuned program with artificially intelligent checker playing algorithms, and a gigantic database of checkers positions, running on a massively parallel computer. What would be the result of a match between this machine intelligence designed by man, and a man who plays like a machine? You will be turning the pages of this book long into the night!

[University of Alberta] 
University of Alberta 
[Department of Computing Science] 
Computing Science