The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) hosted the first major chess tournament for computers, the 1st United States Computer Chess Championship, in September 1970 in New York. The event was organized by Dr. Monty Newborn, Professor of Computer Science at McGill University. It was won by CHESS 3.0, a chess program from Northwestern University, written by David Slate, Larry Atkin, and Gorlen. Six programs competed that year. Chess programs were played on an IBM 360/91, two IBM 360/65s, a CDC 6400 (the computer used by CHESS 3.0), a Burroughs B5500, and a Varian 620/i. The programs were CHESS 3.0, DALY CP, COKO 3, J BIIT, SCHACH, and MARSLAND CP.
In 1971, CHESS 3.0 won the 2nd Annual ACM North American Computer Chess Championship in Chicago. Other programs were TECH, GENIE, DAVID, CCCP, COKO 3, SCHACH, and MR. TURK.
In 1972, CHESS 3.0 won the 3rd ACM tournament in Boston. Other programs were TECH, COKO 3, OSTRICH, SCHACH, USC CP, MSU CP, and LEVERETT CP.
In 1973, CHESS 3.5 won the 4th ACM tournament in Atlanta. Other programs were CHAOS, OSTRICH, TECH 2, DARTMOUTH CP, TECH, BELLE, COKO 4, GEORGIA TECH CP, THE FOX, USC CP, and CHES.
In 1974, RIBBIT of the University of Waterloo won the 5th ACM tournament in San Diego. The other programs were CHESS 4.0, CHAOS, BELLE, DUCHESS (Duke University), DART 4.1, TECH 2, OSTRICH, CHUTE 1, KCHES6, TYRO, and XENARBOR.
In 1975, CHESS 4.4 (CDC CYBER 175) won the 6th ACM tournament in Minneapolis. Other programs included TREEFROG, ETAOIN SHRDIU, CHAOS, DUCHESS, CHUTE 1.2, TYRO, OSTRICH, WITA, IRON FISH, BLACK KNIGHT, and SORTIE. During this event, International Master David Levy, the tournament director, won a simultaneous exhibition against the 12 computers (10 wins and 2 draws) and won. In 1975, the programs reached the level of class A players (1800-2000 rating).
In 1976, CHESS 4.5 won the 7th ACM tournament in Houston. The other programs were CHAOS, BLACK KNIGHT, BLITZ 4, DUCHESS, WITA, CHUTE 1.2, L'EXCENTRIQUE, ETAOIN SHRDIU, CHESSTAR, and XENARBOR 4.
In 1977, CHESS 4.6 won the 8th ACM tournament in Seattle. There were 12 programs entered. The other programs were DUCHESS, CHAOS, XENARBOR, BLITZ 5, BLACK KNIGHT, OSTRICH, CHUTE 1.2, 8080 CHESS, TYRO, WITA, and BRUTE FORCE.
In 1978, BELLE, developed at Bell Laboratories by Ken Thompson, won the 9th ACM tournament in Washington, D.C., after defeating BLITZ 6.5 in the final round. BELLE was the first chess computer with hardware designed specifically for chess. The other programs were CHESS 4.7, CHAOS, BLITZ 6.5, SARGON 2, DUCHESS, OSTRICH 4, MIKE, BLACK KNIGHT, BS6676, AWIT, and BRUTE FORCE.
In 1979, CHESS 4.9 won the 10th ACM tournament in Detroit. In 1979, the programs were expert strength. The other programs were BELLE, DUCHESS, MYCHESS, L'EXCENTRIQUE, CHAOS, SARGON 3, OSTRICH 80, BLITZ 6.9, AWIT, BS6676, and RUFUS.
In 1980, BELLE won the 11th ACM tournament in Nashville. 1980 was the first year that CRAY BLITZ participated in the ACM chess tournaments. The other programs were CHAOS, CHALLENGER 10, BEBE, MYCHESS, OSTRICH 81, CUBE 2.0, AWIT, and CLASH.
In 1981, BELLE won the 12th ACM tournament in Los Angeles. The other programs were NUCHESS, CRAY BLITZ, BEBE, DUCHESS, PHILIDOR, OSTRICH, CHALLENGER, L'EXCENTRIQUE, MYCHESS, CUBE 2.1, CHAOS, SCHACH 2.5, CHATURANGA, AWIT, and PRODIGY.
In 1982, BELLE won the 13th ACM tournament in Dallas in tie-breaks over CRAY BLITZ, NUCHESS, and CHAOS. The other programs were BEBE, ADVANCE 2.4, SAVANT X, FIDELITY 10, OSTRICH, SCHACH 2.6, SFINKS X, PHILIDOR, PION, and CHATURANGA 2.0.
In 1983, CRAY BLITZ won the 14th ACM tournament in New York. This was also the 4th World Computer Chess Championships, so CRAY BLITZ also became the world computer chess champion. In 1983, the programs were master strength. In October, 1983, BELLE was rated 2203, the first program to be rated master strength.
In 1984, CRAY BLITZ won the 15th ACM tournament in San Francisco. The other programs were BEBE, FIDELITY, CHAOS, BELLE, NUCHESS, PHOENIX, NOVAG, INTELLIGENT, SCHACH 2.7, OSTRICH, AWIT, MERLIN, and XENARBOR.
In 1985, HITECH, developed by Hans Berliner at Carnegie-Mellon, won the 16th ACM tournament in Denver. HITECH became the first computer rated over 2400. The other programs were BEBE, INTELLIGENT, PHOENIX, CRAY BLITZ, CHAOS, LACHEX, SPOCK, OSTRICH, and AWIT.
In 1986, BELLE won the 17th ACM tournament in Dallas. The other programs were LACHEX, NOVAG, BEBE, PHOENIX, MEPHISTO, CHALLENGER, RECOM, CYRUS, FIDELITY, CHIPTEST, MERLIN, VAXCHESS, OSTRICH, WAYCOOL, and REX.
In 1987, CHIPTEST-M, developed by Feng Hsu, won the 18th ACM tournament in Dallas. CHIPTEST caused hash tables to be standard for chess programs. The other programs were CRAY BLITZ, SUN PHOENIX, LACHEX, CRYUS 68K, BEBE, NOVAG, BELLE, WAYCOOL, GNU CHESS, BP, OSTRICH, and GRECO.
In 1988, DEEP THOUGHT 0.02 won the 19th ACM tournament in Orlando. DEEP THOUGHT was rated 2550 in November, 1988. It was the first computer to beat a Grandmaster (Bent Larson), in a tournament game under time control. The other programs were CHALLENGER, MEPHISTO, CRAY BLITZ, HITECH, SUN PHOENIX, BEBE, NOVAG, BP, CRYUS 68K, AI CHESS, and WAYCOOL.
In 1989, HITECH and DEEP THOUGHT tied for first place with 4 points in the 20th ACM tournament held in Reno. MEPHISTO X (best small computing system) and BEBE tied for 3rd place. The other programs were REBEL, CRAY BLITZ, PHOENIX, BP, NOVAG, and ZARKOV. In 1989, the programs were Grandmaster strength.
Up until 1990, games were played with a time control of 40 moves in two hours, then 20 moves an hour after that. Games lasted as long as eight hours. In 1990, each side was given two hours to make all its moves. In 1990 an Endgame Championship was added to the tournament. In 1990, DEEP THOUGHT/88 (rated over 2500) took 1st place in the 21st ACM tournament. DEEP THOUGHT beat David Levy 4-0 in a match. The other programs were MEPHISTO, HITECH, M-CHESS, ZARKOV, BEBE, BELLE, NIGHTMARE, and NOW.
In 1991, DEEP THOUGHT II won the 22nd ACM tournament in Albuquerque. The other programs were M-CHESS, CRAY BLITZ, MEPHISTO, HITECH, CHESSMACH, ZARKOV, SOCRATES, BP, LACHEX, BEBE, and DELICATE BRUTE.
In 1993, SOCRATES II, a program that ran on an IBM PC, won the 23rd ACM tournament in Indianapolis. The other programs were CRAY BLITZ, *TECH, B*HITECH, ZARKOV, CHESSMACH, KALLISTO, BP, NOW, MCHESS, BEBE, and INNOVATION.
In 1994, the last ACM chess tournament was held in Cape May, New Jersey. The 24th ACM tournament was won by DEEP THOUGHT II. The other programs were ZARKOV, STAR SOCRATES, NOW, MCHESS PRO, CRAY BLITZ, WCHESS, EVALATOR, INNOVATION II, and SPECTOR.
The ACM chess events were cancelled in 1995 as DEEP BLUE was preparing for the first match against world chess champion Garry Kasparov.