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Inside Report (1)

A question for budding chess masters: Are you a man or a machine?

Once considered the exclusive playground of the best of human intelligence, master's level chess is finding a growing number of computers edging onto the field.

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A tournament of four of the best chess programs vs. four of the best human players in the Pittsburgh area will take place at the coming conference of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Hans Berliner at CMU is running the contest, and administers a standing $100, 000 offer to the authors of the first program that can beat the world chess champion. Professor Berliner wrote a program that beat the world backgammon champ in l979.

Bell Labs' BELLE is the closest contender; she has beat more human masters than she has lost to, but she still hasn't earned a master's rating of her own.