IM Daniel Kopec dies at 62

6/14/2016 – He was a highly talented home-bred US player, New York High School Champion at 14, National Master at 17, Scottish Champion at 26. He was also a computer science professor at Brooklyn College, with a PhD in Machine Intelligence. In the chess world he is best known for the "Bratko-Kopec" test used to evaluate the positional understanding of chess programs. We bring you a video eulogy with analysis of his games.

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Daniel Kopec, February 28, 1954 – June 12, 2016

Daniel Kopec (February 28, 1954 – June 12, 2016) was an American chess International Master, author, and computer science professor at Brooklyn College. He graduated from Dartmouth College in the class of 1975. Kopec later received a PhD in Machine Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh. With Ivan Bratko he was the creator of the Bratko-Kopec Test, which was one of the de facto standard testing systems for chess playing computer programs in the 1980s. Danny Kopec died on June 12, 2016.

Danny Kopec was one of the more talented home-bred players in the US. Danny was New York High School Champion at 14, National Master at 17, Scottish Champion in 1980, 2nd-equal in the Canadian Closed in 1984, and International Master in 1985. He was an active player, journalist, writer, chess educator and scholar. His competitive results with top-flight chess professionals have always been remarkable. He has also delivered many chess courses, lectures, published seven highly recognized chess books, and has developed eight highly regarded instructional videos (18.5 hours).

In parallel with his chess career, Dr. Kopec pursued an academic career in computer science with research in artificial intelligence, software methodology, and computer science education. For more than 20 years he tested and evaluated hundreds of human and machine chess players in the UK, Canada, and US in order to quantify their overall chess strength, their specific deficiencies and definite abilities. In bridging his chess and academic interests, Kopec developed a reputation as perhaps the world’s greatest exponent of chess knowledge.

Source: Kopec Chess Services (where you can also find an indepth interview)

Video eulogy by Tryfon Gavriel

If you enjoyed the above video you can watch part two with Kopec vs Ivanov 1990

And here's a video promo for his DVD series How to Visualize Chess Combinations, produced in 2009.

Finally we bring you a video of Danny Kopec annotating a spectacular game between Alexei Shirov and Judith Polgar, entitled "Middlegame Pawn Play for Mate":

Bratko-Kopec test for chess software (PGN)

The following test positions were compiled by Ivan Bratko and Danny Kopec in 1982 and became an important computer and human testing tool. The 24 positions were meant to mainly measure the positional understanding of the programs. Nowadays, this test has lost its significance. The toughest positions for computers are 2, 3, 11, 17, 23, 24.

Replay all test positions

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Here is a full description of method and scoring. If any of our readers is able to run the test on modern chess engines, or finds results, please post them in our discussion section below.


Topics Eulogy
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ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 6/16/2016 03:29
RIP Danny..
jaquematecrc jaquematecrc 6/15/2016 09:53
Rest in peace Mr. Kopec. I was not aware of his contributions to the field of computer chess. To me, he was more famous for the Kopec System, a variation against the Sicilian Defense: 1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bd3!?, which has allowed me to confuse and beat many players!

There are several videos in youtube about it. Very creative and original idea! Thanks Danny!
Halliday Halliday 6/15/2016 06:13
Danny would visit South Carolina almost every year to play in a local tournament, give a lecture and/or give simuls. We appreciated him taking time to help promote our local chess community. When the Columbia Chess Club first started he came to town and packed the house helping the new club get off to a strong start. Thank you Danny, you will be missed.
sachinsabnis sachinsabnis 6/15/2016 03:37
RIP
KOTLD KOTLD 6/15/2016 03:11
A serious tragedy. Danny was a great chess teacher, and a truly likeable guy. We'll never forget everything he did for our community.
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