Dan and Kathe Spracklen

The Spracklen team are legendary for their contribution to computer chess and have made history with well written software both for standard computers and for dedicated machines.

One great program Kathe wrote was the original SARGON (Z-80 assembly). In a move unusual for the time, complete source code was published in a book SARGON: A Computer Chess Program. SARGON was not widely available beyond the hacker community, but the Spracklens developed a version of the software for the Apple II computer called Sargon II, which was then ported to a variety of other personal computers popular in the early 1980s. The game engine featured multiple levels of lookahead to make it more accessible to beginning chess players - even though chess programs of the time could not defeat a chess master, they were more than a match for most amateur players. Sargon II was released commercially through Hayden Software and followed by Sargon III in 1983.

The Spracklen were programmers for many dedicated chess computers such as the Boris Sargon 2.5, which can be seen here: http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/chescom/EngBorSarg.html and many Fidelity ones as well.

Dan and Kathe


Kathe on a TV interview

Watch Kathe on the PBS program  The Computer Chronicles (1985) (clip is ~7 min)
Option 1 - Windows Media - low resolution (14Mb)
Option 2 - MPEG file - high resolution (129Mb)

Here you can watch the whole program, featuring other computer games from the 1980's. (from Archive.org)
Special thanks to Bernhard D.

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