• unknown (b.)


A Canadian, physicist, interdiscipline scientist, inventor, software developer, computer chess programmer, businessman, and paraglider, he was born in England, but his family moved to Canada when he was a child. In college, he studied Mathematics, Physics, Fine Art, Philosophy, Psychology, Finance and Marketing. He received his M.A. in Physics from SUNY Stony Brook University in 1972, and his M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from McMaster University in 1974. He was the author of the first commercially successful chess program for microcomputers, MicroChess for the KIM-1 6502-based microcomputer on December 18, 1976. MicroChess, as small as it was in terms of program size, could still play passable chess on the KIM-1 with its 6502 microprocessor, 1 kilobyte of memory, simple hex keyboard, and seven-segment display. In 1977 Microchess he later expanded the programs into a more fully featured program with graphics for the TRS-80, Apple II, Commodore PET and Atari 400/800 computers. It was also licensed to Novag for its dedicated Chess Champion Mk II in 1979. Selling it at a price of $10 U.S. dollars, he refused to sell the rights of the program to Chuck Peddle (president of MOS Technology) for $1,000. It was the first microcomputer software package to sell 10,000 copies, almost exclusively on cassette tape. He co-founded Personal Software with Dan Fylstra to publish Microchess to the growing microcomputer market. Money made from Microchess and other software projects allowed them to launch VisiCalc; the first electronic spreadsheet for personal computers. They then created the VisiCorp company to publish Visicalc. Notably, MicroChess sales helped to finance the development of VisiCalc which was its greatest success.