John F. White: Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari
Computer & Superquerg
John F. White is author of the book Writing Strategy Games On Your
Atari Computer and the creator of Superquerg and Negaquerg,
computer chess programs that were distributed in New Atari User
He was also a contributor to the UK computer magazines Popular
Computing Weekly, Personal Computing, Practical Computing, and
Computer Weekly, often writing about computer chess and game
His book Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer, published
in 1983, offers “techniques for intelligent games,” with advice and
BASIC code for programming tic-tac-toe, checkers, chess, and other
New Atari User’s description of SuperQuerg — it was a “disk bonus,”
not a type- in program — was: “SuperQuerg Chess is a third
generation program with alpha-beta pruning and iterative deepening.
An alpha-beta window is also employed. Uses Shannon A and B
strategies, killer heuristic and chopper functions, new methods for
searching to deep levels and for other game strategies. ... Querg
Chess is unusual among chess programs in that it relies more on the
strength of its positional strategy than on its tactical play.
Artificial Intelligence methods are used to switch between
strategic and tactical searching, as the program considers
John organized the 1982 Chess Computer Symposium, the first major
tournament to assign gradings to chess computers by their play
against human opponents. He is co-creator of Blitz Latin,
Latin-to-English language translation software.
This interview took place via email from July 13 through 16, 2020.
You will be hearing John’s words but not his voice. John preferred
not to do a voice interview, so for this audio podcast, his emailed
responses will be read by Victor Marland.