Scandal in the World of Computer Chess

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Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Every year, chess-playing computer programs face off in the World Computer Chess Championships, and the last four years have seen one chess program dominate the field: Rybka. Created by an American-Czech international master chess player Vasik Rajlich, Rybka was recently stripped of all four of its titles when it was revealed that some of its source code was pilfered from two other programs: Crafty and Fruit. Some are calling this just a misunderstanding, since the source codes for both Crafty and Fruit, it turns out, are currently available free online — earlier this year, Rajlich did concede on his website that "various low-level snippets" of source code were taken from the public domain. But looks like the computer chess ruling body is sticking to its decision for the time being. So if Rajlich wants to see his brainchild win any more championships, he's going to have to start rooting for some of the Rybka clones floating around in cyberspace. (That's right, someone plagiarized from the plagiarizer.)

Stolen Code Is Linked to Program for Chess [NYT]