DEO on MFT

General Discussion about the game of Checkers.

DEO on MFT

Postby Richard Pask on Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:13 am

Brian Hinkle asked me how I think DEO viewed MFT. Here it is.

1) Naturally he recognised his great ability - how could he otherwise - but he claimed that Walter Hellman was the greatest opponent he had ever met. (Proof of his respect for Tinsley's ability is the weight he attached to any correction of his play or analysis. RJP)

DEO's style and MFT's style (MFT denied that such a thing existed) were radically different. Clearly, the latter's was more effective. Indeed, in a letter DEO published in his Square World magazine, a reader enquired of him whether Tinsley had his own system - different from that espoused in Move Over - which he wasn't disclosing! RJP

2) He had a very high opinion of MFT's tactical ability, stating that he could solve stroke problems like shelling peas.

3) He described MFT as one of the great amateurs. Presumably this was because Tinsley was not keen on stake matches. (However, since he was not at all averse to decent prize money (quite rightly he often lamented what he considered to be the poor money on offer, and retired from checkers in favour of mathematics in 1958 because the latter 'buttered more bread'), and had the most professional approach imaginable to studying the game, I find this description very odd. RJP)

4) He felt MFT was unduly critical of computer programs in the early days. (Again I disagree with this. MFT recognised them for what they were at the time, his letter to Scientific American being a classic: when they got to be really good he was the first to acknowledge this. RJP)

5) According to RLF, Tinsley, who had agreed not to compete in the 1976 US Nat Ty, fell out with DEO when, after he had won it, Derek failed to challenge for the world 3-move title as had been agreed.

DEO was a good friend and a great player and writer. However, one can hardly fail to detect a certain degree of jealousy re MFT. For example, when I 'phoned Derek to inform him that Tinsley had defeated Chinook in their 1992 match (Derek had willingly provided assistance to Dr Schaeffer), he was devastated. RJP]
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Re: DEO on MFT

Postby George Hay on Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:02 pm

RJP, thank you for your insights on DEO and MFT. I just had to read Tinsley's response to the Martin Gardner article. Martin Garner had a Mathematical Games section in Scientific American with a great article on checkers in the January 1980 issue. The follow up to the problems was in the February 1980 issue. There is even a one paragraph follow up in the June 1980 issue. The MFT letter is in the August 1980 issue. I was surprised at the sharpness of the Tinsley's comments, but that is the laser focus of the Maestro! I got on the Scientific American website, and for a price dowloaded some PDF issues of this checkers friendly magazine. This is the 1980 archives page:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/stor ... 20-%202000
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Re: DEO on MFT

Postby George Hay on Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:15 pm

Just to follow up myself, the original January 1980 article was a topic on the ACF forum, but the contents of the article no longer appears on my computer screen even when signed in:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1573

Scientific American has a (free) article on Checkers being "solved" dated July 19, 2007:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... ts-a-draw/
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