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World’s Smallest Chess Program

Chess is tough, right? It’s a complicated game. Just explaining the rules can take hours, or hundreds of pages, and that’s before you get into subtle strategies. Mastering chess can be the work of a lifetime.

So how did a French kid write a fully featured chess program in just 487 bytes of code? Not 487 MB. Not even 487 KB. It’s four hundred and eighty-seven bytes of code. And it plays chess. This kid is good.

In case you’re wondering, the previous record holder for smallest chess program was Sinclair ZX1 Chess, which weighed in at 672 bytes, a tiny chess record it held for 33 years. There’s also Tiny Chess, a 1251-byte program. It offers graphics (as opposed to ASCII art), but since it’s written in Javascript, it’s not technically a standalone program, requiring megabytes of overhead to run.

 

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