History of Herkules

In 1983 I found on a school computer a program playing Othello. That one must have been terribly bad, since it was written in Basic on a 64 kB computer within a time sharing system for some 10 terminals.

After my first experience with other games and their algorithmic implementation. I came back to Othello in 1993. A collegue and I implemented two programs in Borland Turbo Pascal. Finally these programs beat us and the Othello delivered with Windows 3.1 in most games, but compared with the current programs they were rather weak.

In 1998 I began to learn GUI programming under Borland C++ and one of my first exercises was the current interface of Herkules. At that time the strength of the program was of minor importance for me. In fact the engine took a few seconds in a background thread to produce random moves. But having found the programs on the Web, I tried to beat them. It turned out to be much more difficult than I had expected.

Herkules 1.0, (release april 2000) was stronger than most of the freeware programs available on the Web. As far as I know, of these programs only WZebra is better, and much faster, than Herkules. Since spring 2000 the version 2.1 of WZebra is available which did not improve the position of Herkules. Congratulations to Gunnar Andersson and Lars Ivansson, they did a great job.

In May 2001 Herkules 1.5 was released, it contains some improvements in the evaluation-function and the search algorithms. But these seem to be only minor changes. An opening book, containing some 50.000 positions, is included now.

In May 2004 this homepage was hostet on another server, but the program did not change.

What would be to do (but I have no time...)

Of course there are a lot of possible improvements of Herkules. The following seem most important to me:

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