Way back when, Hans worked for IBM. I met him at an IBM data center one time, but he worked in the Federal division and just used the center for a demo. I had known him from the Washington Chess Divan earlier.

I know he had done a computer program to help with chess. It was the first as far as I can tell. This was in the days when the s/360 was ruling the market, and there were no PCs; and pdp8s and the like were not up to the job although they did cause IBM a lot of grief by their cheap price and what they could do for small special purpose jobs.

The question I always had was did Hans use the IBM computers to assist his game when he won the ICCF world championship?

I know that Hans was very good as a player, but was he THAT good that he could have won the ICCF world championship without the computer's help?

It is certainly possible, but having a really good computer analysis on some tough positions had to be helpful.


Short of asking a deceased man, I would say that the answer is "no way".

He won the 5th World Correspondence Chess Championship in 1965. Computer chess, if it existed at all, was not strong at all. Even with mainframe-type hardware back then, it paled on comparison to the first Chess Challengers of the early 1980's, and they were only rated about 1200 then.

My first chess computer in 1985, and it was the strongest and most expensive on the marker at the time, was only about 1600. There is no way that you could win against correspondence Grandmasters with that type of help.

I would say, fairly confidently, that is was all his work.

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    Again, I doubt it. The difference between the first chess computers 15 years later, and what it takes to be helpful to even someone at that level is so great, I would say it is impossible. Short of someone coming up with absolute proof that he did, which I doubt, you are probably trying to prove a negative, which is impossible. It is probably going to be just speculation...against it. – PhishMaster Dec 14 '19 at 19:29
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    Even as a blunder check, the computers at this time would be almost useless. At most the computer could point out a one move tactic. – Mike Jones Dec 14 '19 at 19:39
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    @yobamamama I worked at the National Security Agency in 1988, and we had acres of mainframes. There was a hallway in the basement between all the mainfraimes that was in the "Guinness Book of World Records" because you could drive a semi tractor trailer down if for a quarter mile to give you an idea of how big we are talking about. All of them combined today are nowhere near as powerful as ONE PC. You are talking about almost 30 years before. Just because NASA had it then, it does not mean it was that strong relative to chess. – PhishMaster Dec 14 '19 at 23:32
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    Sorry, but it is clear that you have no real conception of what they could do at that time relative to chess, which was next to nothing. – PhishMaster Dec 15 '19 at 1:23
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    You asked a question that you are not willing to take the answer for. I was a very early adopter of chess technology; I have owned a computer company for 25 years; and I have seen up close the best computers the government had to offer in 1988; and even then, they were not capable of strong play. I qualify as an expert. – PhishMaster Dec 15 '19 at 1:27

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