The Franklin Institute Logo
Case Files logo

Claude E. Shannon: Communications as a Statistical Process, 1955

Chessman

Shannon had a particular fascination with chess, and researched and wrote a paper entitled "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess." When Shannon published the paper in the 1950s, computers were still in their early stages of development and were thus quite difficult to program. Though Shannon came up with his chess program in the nascence of the computing age, many of the chess-playing programs that have since been developed have closely followed the system described in his paper. In 1965, Shannon took pleasure in meeting reigning World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik of Russian. The two men squared off in a chess match, and after forty-two moves Shannon admitted defeat.

Shannon's wife, Mary Elizabeth ("Betty") Moore, shared his interest in mathematics and computing. You can read the correspondence sent between Shannon and The Franklin Institute regarding his marital status by clicking on the thumbnails at right.