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BELLE

In 1980, BELLE won the World Computer Chess Championship in Linz, running on a PDP 11/23.  In 1981, BELLE won the 12th annual North American Computer Championship.  Ken Thompson and Joe Condon, both of Bell Labs, created BELLE.  In 1982 Ken Thompson traveled to Moscow and thought BELLE was traveling with him in a crate to compete in a tournament.  However, the U.S. Customs Service confiscated the chess computer at Kennedy Airport as part of Operation Exodus, a program to prevent illegal export of high technology items to the Soviets.  It took over a month and a $600 fine to retrieve BELLE from customs.  In 1983 BELLE became the first computer to gain an established master’s rating.

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