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Print Page Chess Computer Community
    General Category => Discussions about Chess Computers => Message started by: Overtom on November 25, 2008, 03:41PM
	

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Title: another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Overtom on November 25, 2008, 03:41PM

In May 2007 (http://users.boardnation.com/~chesscomputers/index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid=1230;start=20) I wrote here about a computer that I'd bought on eBay which had been advertized as a chess computer, but turned out to have nothing to do with chess.

You might expect that this experience had made me wiser ...

Well, I must admit I did it again. Recently, a game computer was offered at eBay which had five cartridges, one being for ... chess.

To make a long story short, the computer arrived today and - you probably already guessed it - had nothing to do with chess.

I wrote a weblog about it, which can be read here (http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/weblog/25NOV08.html).

Best regards,

tom


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Robert Weck on November 26, 2008, 12:32AM

[quote author=Overtom link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11709 date=1227656509]

To make a long story short, the computer arrived today and - you probably already guessed it - had nothing to do with chess.

I wrote a weblog about it, which can be read here (http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/weblog/25NOV08.html).
[/quote]
i read your blog and i can understand your frustration. IMO this is a reason to return the game!

4-in-a-row- CHESS??? How ridiculous!! If at least it had been CHINESE CHESS...


Robert


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Mike Watters on November 26, 2008, 02:56AM

Well if you must operate on the outer boundaries of chess computer collecting what do you expect? ;D

Tom were the hockey, tennis and soccer any good?

I enjoyed the blog as always. Away from chess computers your section on Morons, Crooks etc is a favourite. :)

What would you say was the least useful and interesting chess playing computer in your entire collection? I think mine would have to be the Excalibur Keychain LCD Chess which is really too tiny and fiddly to bother with, though I believe it is the smallest dedicated chess computer of all? Is this true?



Beware Video Games regards
Mike


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Robert Weck on November 26, 2008, 05:41AM

[quote author=Mike Watters link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11714 date=1227696999]
I think mine would have to be the Excalibur Keychain LCD Chess which is really too tiny and fiddly to bother with, though I believe it is the smallest dedicated chess computer of all? Is this true?


[/quote]
How about the Sphinx Chess Card? It's a little wider/longer, but thinner (taken from Tom's collection)


Robert


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Overtom on November 27, 2008, 03:41AM

Robert and Mike, thanks a lot for the tokens of sympathy. Whereas other people might have become extremely cautious to buy such dubious games, with me there's always the thought at the back of my mind that if it turns out to be a dud, it's likely to supply a good subject for a weblog ;D

As to the least useful of all the chess computers, I think Chess Challenger 1 will be an outstanding candidate. Mike's LCD Keychain may be less ideal than your average tabletop model, but I would prefer it to the Chess Cards, which were probably only made to rank as the smallest chess computer. Even at their maximum thinking time they have hardly any chance against Fritz-one-ply. There is also the foldable chessboard with magnetic discs which tend to stick together once the board is folded up again. Last week I opened up two ChessCards and saw that the Schneider and Fidelity ones are not 100% identical. I made a photo of the Fidelity (http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/chescom/EngFidCCint.html). I didn't photograph the inside of the Schneider since it looked too rusty to have its picture at the site.

By the way, at the moment I'm in the process of trying to play a few more games with all the computers (an almost Herculean job ::)) so that the computers play both winning and losing games against Fritz. This may enable visitors to the Overtom Collection (http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/chescom/Engintro.html) to see games lost as well as won. The KeyChain page now contains no more than one game. But in the days to come I'll try to play a few more games in order to see if it can beat Fritz-one-ply at a somewhat higher level.

I'm happy to see my weblog is read. That anyone would enjoy the Morons and Crooks (http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/weblog/imp&crooks.html) section, proves that there is hardly any pleasure as intense as what the Germans refer to as Schadenfreude (I wonder if there is a good English word for it ???).

Best regards,

tom


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: sderyke2002 on November 27, 2008, 05:00AM

[quote][quote author=Overtom link=board=1;threadid=1708;
Mike's LCD Keychain may be less ideal than your average tabletop model, but I would prefer it to the Chess Cards, which were probably only made to rank as the smallest chess computer.
[/quote]

I think the ideal use of any of the old chess computers which provided lcd move read outs only, is to practice blindfold chess against them. That is what I did against my old CC7 after I got the SC9 and eventually the TS432 which beat me enough to be interesting.

So to have a lcd readout of chess moves in a credit card sized device would seem to me to be perfect for blindfold game. Well maybe not perfect, a voice operated one with voice reply would be perfect but that is probably asking too much.

With unseeing regards,
Steve


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Mike Watters on November 27, 2008, 06:55AM

[quote author=Overtom link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11726 date=1227786080]

[size=2]I'm happy to see my weblog is read. That anyone would enjoy the Morons and Crooks (http://www.xs4all.nl/~tluif/weblog/imp&crooks.html) section, proves that there is hardly any pleasure as intense as what the Germans refer to as Schadenfreude (I wonder if there is a good English word for it ???).

Best regards,

tom[/size]
[/quote]

Tom there is no single English word in common usage, that I can think of, which means the same as Schadenfreude. Which is a shame. Time to invent one? We say take delight in another's misfortunes. Not that we would of course. ::)

I tried to avoid mentioning the CC1.

As to the debate about which is the smallest chess computer. Here are some pictures of little ones. The Vtech Chess Master, SciSys Rapier (module), Chess King Mighty Midget, CXG Sphinx ChessCard and Excalibur LCD Keyring Chess.



and to show thickness



is it area, volume or total size including the board that should count?

Morons and Crooks regards
Mike


PS Thanks for the link to the innards of the Fidelity Chess Card. Here is the SciSys Rapier.




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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Overtom on November 27, 2008, 06:55AM

I admire Steve's bravery. Blindfold play tends to give me a terrible headache :(

By the way, today I had the opportunity to play some games with the Excalibur KeyChain. Even at its highest level (20 seconds/move) it lost against Fritz-one-ply - although I wouldn't be surprised if - with a much larger number of games - the Excalibur contraption would eventually have drawn (or maybe even won) one. But playing with the Keychain computer is not exactly my idea of great fun ;D

The four games can be seen here:

http://overtom.nl/chescom/EngExcKCC.html

Best regards,

tom


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: sderyke2002 on November 27, 2008, 02:35PM

[quote author=Overtom link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11729 date=1227797750]
I admire Steve's bravery. Blindfold play tends to give me a terrible headache :(
[/quote]

Oh you get over it.

I used to play blindfold a lot, since most of my family cannot play with me in any regular sense. If I don't play blindfold with them I have to pick the piece I will mate them with (at the start of the game) and then if they can win that piece the best I can do is draw against them. Gives me two pieces I must protect in an extreme fashion.

It is really just a matter of practice and I think it helps concentration and the ability to see threats.


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Overtom on December 3, 2008, 04:01AM

Hi Mike,
[quote author=Mike Watters link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11728 date=1227797727]
Tom there is no single English word in common usage, that I can think of, which means the same as Schadenfreude. Which is a shame. Time to invent one? We say take delight in another's misfortunes. Not that we would of course. ::)

As to the debate about which is the smallest chess computer, is it area, volume or total size including the board that should count?

Morons and Crooks regards
Mike
[/quote]
Thanks for the great pictures of an elaborate range of chess midgets, which I did not spot until now. I never knew the VTech was so small. But as far as features-to-size ratio is concerned, I still think the KeyChain can be called the winner. After all, it may be somewhat thicker than the chesscard, but I prefer buttons to pressure panels. Besides, it sports a complete - albeit somewhat undersized - LCD screen, which for travelling is ideal.

Other messages in this thread show us there are people who enjoy playing blindfold chess and other tricks interesting enough for a variety show, but since I mainly play chess when travelling on public transport, I'm quite happy the LCD screen was invented; the standard computers I carry around are the Excalibur Touch and the Zire, both with LCD screens as you can see:

Touch Chess

Chess Tiger, Zire

By the way, today I was one of the last collectors to receive the 2Robot (word play on I Robot by Asimov?). I was somewhat surprised to read at this site (http://www.chessusa.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=83-N02&Category_Code=ACC&Product_Count=2) that the computer had no more than 736 bytes RAM and 4KB ROM. Could this really be true??

Best regards,

tom

P.S. If you ever decide to learn Dutch, the Low Lands have their own word for Schadefreude, which is leedvermaak. One may wonder what the existence of a special word for such a nasty emotion may say about the national character :o


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: alainza on December 3, 2008, 05:00AM

[quote author=sderyke2002 link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11731 date=1227825351]
If I don't play blindfold with them I have to pick the piece I will mate them with (at the start of the game) and then if they can win that piece the best I can do is draw against them.[/quote]
great idea :) ! I'll try that with my childen

best regards,
Alain


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Mike Watters on December 4, 2008, 05:57PM

[quote author=Overtom link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11764 date=1228305666]
[size=2]By the way, today I was one of the last collectors to receive the 2Robot (word play on I Robot by Asimov?). I was somewhat surprised to read at this site (http://www.chessusa.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=83-N02&Category_Code=ACC&Product_Count=2) that the computer had no more than 736 bytes RAM and 4KB ROM. Could this really be true??

Best regards,

tom[/size]
[/quote]

Hi Tom

The 4KB ROM and 736 bytes of RAM must be the chess program only. Not the robot routines etc. Word has it that it is a similar program to the Star Beryl or Star Aquamarine? RAM must be very restricted with only 25 ply takeback. To me it is a completely inappropriate choice of program for a flagship product. Unless the plan was always to bring out a later de luxe version with a strong program and features along the lines of the Robot Adversary. It is still a fun machine though.

All the best
Mike


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Overtom on December 12, 2008, 06:12AM

Hi Mike,

Strange that you mention Star Aquamarine. I had a look at Novag's page (http://www.novag.com/Web%202006/GERMAN%202006/star%20aquamarine-G.HTM) of this computer, where it was claimed Star Aquamarine has a chess program of 16KB.

What is also strange is that the name of the page is not Star Aquamarine, but Star Beryl.

I can only quote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and say curiouser and curiouser ...

For the German page (http://www.novag.com/Web%202006/UK%202006/table-top-E.htm]UK page[/url] reports 4 KB Rom wheras the [url=http://www.novag.com/Web%202006/GERMAN%202006/star%20aquamarine-G.HTM) mentions 16 KB.

With baffled, if not bewildered regards,

tom


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Robert Weck on December 14, 2008, 02:57AM

[quote author=Overtom link=board=1;threadid=1708;start=0#msg11783 date=1229091165]
Strange that you mention Star Aquamarine. I had a look at Novag's page (http://www.novag.com/Web%202006/GERMAN%202006/star%20aquamarine-G.HTM) of this computer, where it was claimed Star Aquamarine has a chess program of 16KB.
[/QUOTE]
and when you click on "Back", the Star Aquamarine suddenly has 4K...
[QUOTE]
What is also strange is that the name of the page is not Star Aquamarine, but Star Beryl.
[/quote]
Maybe the Star A. replaced the Star B.? (with identical programs)


all the best,
Robert


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Title: Re:another chess computer that doesn't play chess
Post by: Mike Watters on December 14, 2008, 02:49PM

;D All very confusing when the manufacturer cannot make up it's mind what it put inside it's chess computers.

In the UK we have Star Beryls and as far as I know




nobody sells Star Aquamarines here



Was the Star Aquamarine introduced this year or last year please?

All the best
Mike



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