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January 12, 1979

Chess and the Computer

Author Affiliations

University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson

JAMA. 1979;241(2):132-133. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290280014007

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To the Editor.—  Although I do not wish to belabor The Journal with a continuing chess dialogue, the inaccuracy of Dr Andrew Diosy's letter (240:1241, 1978) needs to be corrected. Chess master David Levy did not lose but rather beat the Northwestern University chess computer in their recent match (3 1/2 - 1 1/2) and won the wager of £1,250 (Arizona Daily Star, Sept 7, 1978, p 2), now worth only $2,500.While properly imbued with the intangibles of medical practice, Dr Diosy has also been misled when he implies that winning at chess is purely a sterile, programmable achievement. After mastery of the basic ground rules (ie, the chess algorithm), the ultimate ingredients of chessical skill—imagination, originality, ingenuity, open-mindedness, and a creative grasp of strategy and tactics— are not easily computerized. In fact, these strong personality traits are inimical to medical algorithm enthusiasts, who delight in a certain rigidity of