ProDeo
Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.
ProDeo

Computer Chess
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  Latest imagesLatest images  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  

 

 What Became Of The Spracklens?

Go down 
3 posters
AuthorMessage
TheSelfImprover

TheSelfImprover


Posts : 2051
Join date : 2020-11-18

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 1:13 pm

Dan and Kathe Spracklen were world beaters in chess computers until around the mid eighties, then they suddenly disappeared without trace.

Did they decide they wanted a more relaxing/private life?

Did they move on to something else that paid more or was more meaningful?

Are they still together?

Right now, they seem like a successful species of dinosaur that suddenly, and inexplicably, disappeared from the fossil record! Question
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Mclane

Mclane


Posts : 2300
Join date : 2020-11-17
Age : 55
Location : United States of Europe, Germany, Ruhr area

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 7:52 pm

When chess programmers „disappear“ it is often a very easy explanation.

E.g. ron Nelson „disappeared“ when the Spracklens changed from CHAFITZ to FUDELITY and because Ron Nelsons engine was weaker, Fidelity used their engine.
But, it was not much stronger. One reason was that nelson used Z80A while the spracklens used the 6502.

When David Broughton disappeared it was that he got a better job at UK Televison.
He could earn more money by doing special effects for TV.
That’s why he disappeared.

When Chris whittington disappeared it was because he sold his company Oxford Softworks to Purple Software.

Frans Morsch mainly disappeared when he sold his „Fritz“ sources to Chessbase.


Johan de koning disappeared when TASC went bancrupt and he came back when Millennium Chess used his engine as successor for Richard Lang’s Genius engine,


Marty Hirsch disappeared at the end of DOS .
He never made a windows version.

Dave kittinger disappeared when novag when bancrupt.

Ron nelson came back when fidelity went bankrupt and he programmed for Excalibur (the successor of Fidelity).

Very similar to Millennium Chess that is mainly a renamed Hegener and Glaser company.

Some programmers died.
They are now in computerchess heaven.

The spracklens were very talented programmers.
They disappeared when fidelity went bankrupt and changed to Saitek company.
There they tried to bring their chess engine onto a sparc platform, the so called Saitek Sparc.
It worked. And has 2200 ELO.
The prototype was a little „hot“.

I remember Munich chess championship when the prototype always crashed in the Renaissance chess board.

After this effort there was no further engine as far as I know.

Eric winkler from Saitek maybe stopped the work with them.
He tried to make a deal in Munich with mark Uniacke.
But he paid not enough.
So marks engine, also running on a Sun Sparc in Munich, never came into the Saitek dedicated chess boards.
Maybe Eric Winkler knew that his company would also soon be bankrupt.
Or he was too much stingy.
I am sure a hiarcs engine in a Saitek wooden chess board would have been a big success.
Hiarcs at that Time played very good Chess.
Knowledge based like Mchess.

But Winkler gave up.
So the good sparc hardware was only for the spracklen engine.

I do have this module of course.
As I worked with mark uniacke before Munich to win the championship title.

TheSelfImprover likes this post

Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.thorstenczub.de
TheSelfImprover

TheSelfImprover


Posts : 2051
Join date : 2020-11-18

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 8:32 pm

I played against Mark Uniacke at the 2000 championship in London. I was operating Crafty. He was using a laptop! For most of the game, Crafty looked better, but Crafty couldn't put Hiarcs away, and Hiarcs came back and won.

Mark was a very nice person, in a bit of a contrast with his development partner Harvey Williamson, who's not the most gracious member of CCC IMHO.

As well as the authors of all the programs, some other VIPs turned up as well. Richard Lang was one: he hadn't been keeping up with the latest developments, and I was surprised to discover that I knew some things that he didn't - in particular that some of the engines at the tournament were looking at a million nodes per second. He was amazed when I told him that.

David Levy was there (one of the adjudicators IIRC), and I had him sign my copy of one of his books.

GM Daniel King was also there: at the time, he was a TV star: the Nigel Short v Kasparov world championship final had been covered by two TV channels in Britain (at a time when there were only 5), and he was an expert on one of them. A few years later I played him in a simul: in my game against him, I came second! Smile  I had a copy of his latest book, and I took it to get him to sign it. Turned out that a signed copy of that book was the prize for the best player!  All ended well - I left with just the one (signed) copy!

Mclane likes this post

Back to top Go down
View user profile
Admin
Admin
Admin


Posts : 1418
Join date : 2020-11-17
Location : Netherlands

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 8:46 pm

Mclane and TheSelfImprover like this post

Back to top Go down
View user profile http://rebel13.nl/
TheSelfImprover

TheSelfImprover


Posts : 2051
Join date : 2020-11-18

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 8:53 pm

Mclane wrote:
When chess programmers „disappear“ it is often a very easy explanation...


Reading the whole of that post, it looks as though micro computer chess programming has been a more competitive business than one would expect. The main reasons seem to be:

* manufacturers going bust (there seems to be a lot of that: chess fans would have been amazed when they could buy a computer that would play chess on a press sensory board, but most of them wouldn't have upgraded very often. They're not like smartphones, where the iPhone 4, discontinued 7 years ago, now looks terrible by today's standards)

* technology change (DOS becoming obsolete for example). I suspect the change of evaluation from handwritten to machine learning will see off one or two in the current time period

* better offers: I suspect that for talented people, unless they're at the very top, there are more lucrative things they could be doing

* without doubt the proliferation of good free programs has squeezed the market, and hence the number of people in the market

Back to top Go down
View user profile
TheSelfImprover

TheSelfImprover


Posts : 2051
Join date : 2020-11-18

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 8:55 pm

Admin wrote:
https://www.computerhistory.org/chess/orl-43343fb422232/


Brilliant!

I'm disappointed that Google didn't find that - or perhaps I just didn't know what to ask.

Anyway - thanks very much for that - much appreciated!

Mclane likes this post

Back to top Go down
View user profile
Mclane

Mclane


Posts : 2300
Join date : 2020-11-17
Age : 55
Location : United States of Europe, Germany, Ruhr area

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 9:06 pm

We will analyse this in the next postings and present some data on this
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.thorstenczub.de
TheSelfImprover

TheSelfImprover


Posts : 2051
Join date : 2020-11-18

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptyFri Feb 12, 2021 10:39 pm

At the time the video was made (2005) Kathe Spracklen was working on software that imports data from spreadsheets, and she absolutely loved doing it.

Don't underestimate boring people: there could be a chess software champion in there! Smile

Mclane likes this post

Back to top Go down
View user profile
Mclane

Mclane


Posts : 2300
Join date : 2020-11-17
Age : 55
Location : United States of Europe, Germany, Ruhr area

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptySat Feb 13, 2021 1:22 pm

Admin wrote:
https://www.computerhistory.org/chess/orl-43343fb422232/

When watching the video it comes to my mind how nice the Spracklen are. Very friendly and nice people.

TheSelfImprover likes this post

Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.thorstenczub.de
Mclane

Mclane


Posts : 2300
Join date : 2020-11-17
Age : 55
Location : United States of Europe, Germany, Ruhr area

What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? EmptySat Feb 13, 2021 2:03 pm

Also the Story seems somehow interrupted and is incomplete.
Because there is a lot missing of the fidelity history. When fidelity was able to bring the spracklen program into the excel 68000 and Mach II and Mach III Platform all those tournament fights against Richard Lang’s mephisto team are missing in the computer museum video.

Also when fidelity ended they were hired to Saitek and made the sparc Modul and There is nothing in the interview about this, or ?!
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.thorstenczub.de
Sponsored content





What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Became Of The Spracklens?   What Became Of The Spracklens? Empty

Back to top Go down
 
What Became Of The Spracklens?
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
ProDeo :: Dedicated Chess Computers-
Jump to: