In September 1986, the International Core Wars Society held their first Core War tournament at The Computer Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. Battle took place over two days in the memory of several AT&T 6300s.

Of the 31 entries, 27 assembled correctly. Imp and Dwarf were added to the mix and the entrants split into two groups to battle round-robin. Two rounds took place between each pair of programs in a 2000 cell core, with a tie declared if they both survived 20000 cycles.

The top four programs from each group went through to the finals. The eight survivors, Chang1, Commando, Facta Non Verba, Locust, Mice, Midget, MiniD and Parasite fought in a final battle, four rounds in a 4000 cell core. The top three programs then entered a playoff to determine the winner:


#Name Author
1stMiceChip Wendell [U.S.A.]
2ndChang1Morrison J. Chang [U.S.A.]
3rdMidgetChip Wendell [U.S.A.]
4thCommandoA. K. Dewdney [Canada]
=LocustMark Clarkson [U.S.A.]
=ParasiteNorio Suzuki [Japan]
7thFacta Non VerbaMichael Giberson [U.S.A.]
8thMiniDMark Clarkson [U.S.A.]

Chip Wendell's self-replicating program Mice claimed first place, winning him a trophy incorporating the core-memory board from a CDC 6600 computer.


  1. Buckley, William R. "The View from Within." The Core War Newsletter 1 (Mar 1987): 8–11.
  2. Dewdney, A. K. "A program called MICE nibbles its way to victory at the first Core War tournament." Scientific American 256 (Jan 1987): 14–20.
  3. Dewdney, A. K. "Reflections on the First Core War Tournament in Boston." The Core War Newsletter 1 (Mar 1987): 4–5.
  4. Dewdney, A. K. "The First Core War Tournament." The Armchair Universe, An Exploration of Computer Worlds. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1988. 301–308.