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BootChess: The Tiniest Chess Program in Town

Coding hyper-efficient chess programs has been something like a running contest among big time Smarty Pantses with too much time on their hands. For the last 33 years, the record for the smallest version of chess was held by the fabled 1K ZX Chess for the Sinclair ZX81. First published in 1982, 1K ZX had all of the basic chess rules and a opponent loaded into a now-hard-to-imagine 672 bytes of memory. Its publisher, David Horne, would go on to publish the code for the program in a three art Computer Magazine series (the first part of which you can see embedded below:

This is the super-rad David Horne:

david horne joshua wieder bootchess

1K ZX's 33 year reign has just been challenged. The challenger is a program called BootChess, which includes all of the features of 1K ZX with a stunning memory allocation of only 512 bytes. The program was written by Olivier Poudade and Peter Ferrie.

BootChess, Josh Wieder, DOSBox
It was never a very graphic-intensive game, anyway
This is a photo of Peter Ferrie:
Joshua Wieder Peter Ferrie

A photo of Olivier Poudade was not immediately available however this artist's rendition is accurate:

Joshua Wieder Olivier Poudade
Olivier is not, in fact an evil genius. I can't prove it. Yet.
That 512 byte number might be familiar to some readers; it is the exact size of an x86 bootloader (You can take a closer look at the source, in assembler below). There is still a bit of a controversy surrounding the release, as there appears to be a few bugs with BootChess. I personally haven't had a chance to give it a complete test run yet (but I look forward to). Let me know what you think.