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Julio Kaplan: history of his chess programs

Written by Hans van Mierlo
First edited | 01/26/2014 | by MMO
Last edited | 02/04/2016 |
Additional Information:
Reference to cite: Mierlo H, Julio Kaplan: history of his chess programs, ChessEval Journal, 9, July 2015,

First of all, I will try to answer the questions people have about the programs they have inside their SciSys/Saitek chess computers.
However, I am not sure that my answers will be valid for all the versions: the versions are so numerous!

Julio Kaplan's biography

Julio Kaplan is born the 25th of July 1950 in Argentina.
He emigrated in 1963 to Puerto Rico where he was raised.
In 1967, he won the Puerto Rico National Championship and the same year, the World Junior Chess Championship in Jerusalem.

Later, he went to the USA where he worked for Autodesk.
Julio Kaplan is also former World Junior Champion of Chess and software developer founder of Heuristic Software.  
In 1981 he wrote and coauthored chess programs with Craig Barnes for SciSys/Saitek. Both of them participated to the 1983 and 1985 WMCCC.
Kaplan left SciSys/Saitek in 1990.

Kaplan wrote a program named Heuristic Alpha.
He registered it in the1991  "Humans versus Chess Programs" Harvard Cup.
The program won against two Grand Masters and was the highest ranked program .
However, this program showed strategic weakness in some games.
In fact, Kaplan never released a commercial version of this program.
One year later, he presented a new program or more exactly, he did a new improved version of Heuristic Alpha. He called this new program: Socrates.
Again Kaplan went with his new program to dispute the Harvard Cup in 1992.
Again his program was first of the competition and reached a positive score against Grand Masters.
Again Kaplan did not release commercially this strong program.

In 1993, his Socrates II was ready.
Kaplan registered it in the North American Computer Championship.
Again Socrates II was an improvement of the Socrates program.
In 1993, Socrates II won the 23rd North American Computer Chess Championship.
The program was hosted in an IBM PC. This was the first and only time that a stock microcomputer won this event, finishing ahead of past winners Cray Blitz and HiTECH (Don Dailey and Larry Kaufman, also creators of the Komodo chess engine).

From the beginning of his career, Julio Kaplan did highly selective, strategically oriented programs, while the other programs were almost based on Brute Force algorithms.
His way to program gave him the success against his concurrents..   


Chess computers programed by Julio Kaplan and Craig Barnes

• Mattel Computer Chess
• Mephisto Monaco
• Saitek Analyst
• Saitek Cavalier
• Saitek Conquistador
• Saitek Corona
• Saitek D
• Saitek D+
• Saitek D++
• Saitek Galileo
• Saitek Kasparov Blitz
• Saitek Leonardo
• Saitek Maestro
• Saitek Prisma
• Saitek Renaissance
• Saitek Simultano
• Saitek Team-Mate
• Scisys Astral
• Scisys Companion III
• Scisys Express 16K
• Scisys MK10
• Scisys Caravelle
• Scisys Sensor Chess
• Scisys Stratos
• Scisys Turbo 16K
• Scisys Turbo S-24K
• Scisys Turbo King
• Scisys Turbo King II
• Scisys Turbostar 432 KSO
• Scisys Turbostar 540
• Radio Shack Chess Champion 2150
• Radio Shack Chess Champion 2150L
• Tandy 1850  

The programs of Kaplan are also present in RadioShack chess computers, sometimes with less MegaHertz than when they were released by Saitek/SciSys.



Many thanks to schachcomputer,info.


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