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Print Page Chess Computer Community
    General Category => Discussions about Chess Computers => Message started by: chubbyupchuck on April 17, 2009, 12:37PM
	

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Title: Red letter day
Post by: chubbyupchuck on April 17, 2009, 12:37PM

OK the first thing you need to know is that, whilst I love the game, I am rubbish at chess.

When I was 13 or 14 my parents bought me a Scisys Chess Partner 4000, widely regarded as a rather poor opponent circa 1983. Despite this I never managed to beat it, even on the easiest level, and rather disheartened I fell out of playing chess at around the age of 16.

Wind forward 20 years to 2008, and a colleague playing online chess over lunch encouraged me to start playing regularly again (thanks Martin). Earlier this year I bought a copy of Chessmaster 10 and after around 100 blitz games my rating broke through 1,000 (although I am deeply sceptical of this number).

This evening I was reminded of the Scisys, and I wondered... Having dug it out, I was astounded that all the pieces were present (my wife (oops!)ures me this has more to do with her diligence than a miracle). I popped in a PP3, set it to level 1 and turned on. The once familiar _| _| _| _| prompt appeared.

Play slowly, play carefully. But around 20 minutes in I found myself unintentionally a pawn down, and things looked to be going in a very familiar direction. Keep calm. Play slowly, play carefully. Another 20 minutes and I nervously play Qf3-b7... computing.... "I loose" appears in tiny letters at the bottom right of the LCD.

Finally! after around 24 years of ownership. A small, but for me important, victory.

Anyone else have a story about their first victory against their first silicon opponent?

Chubby


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: peh010101 on April 17, 2009, 03:21PM

Hi Chubby

Late 70's maybe early 80's I bought a chess challenger 7

I played this thing for month after month losing time after time. Several months after first buying it and losing to it continously on one of its lowest levels I had my first victory. From that point on I beat it at every playing level and never lost another game.

It goes to show how the computer had a psychological advantage over me but once I had my first victory I never looked back.

Unfortunately my next computer was a Morphy Encore which was somewhat stronger and I relapsed to my losing ways for some considerable time but once again after my first victory I won considerably more than I lost.

Then came along a Mephisto 3 at this point I started to struggle then came a fidelity excellence and I lost continuously.

I did'nt buy another chess computer for 20 or so years and then I started buying chess computers again just before last Christmas and in the last 6months I have bought 14 chess computers so my battle will now start all over again.

At the moment I am in my losing phase but I will fight back.

Regards Paul


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: TerryG on April 18, 2009, 08:56AM

Hi Chubby,
Yes I am (was?) the same. Bought a Chess traveller in 1981 when I lost for after several days of trying. Now this machine was (i sold it but got another from Mike Watters a few years ago) pretty weak, but about the same as the Fidelity models at around this time but no match for say Sargon upwards.
Anyway after maybe a week, 2 weeks .... I won on Lev 1, much to my delight and then steadily beating it up the levels. I joined a chess club later and met Danny King who used to play for Hayes Kent UK. My BCF rating turned out to be about 90 (elo 1300 ish). This was a bit stronger than the machines mentioned above (not Sargon). So yes it is a psychological thing. But when I bought my next computer - a Fidelity Sensory 9 nothing could stop the thing beating me.... until one day I won with a Sicilian and I think I had 2 or 3 more wins, but they were VERY rare. I suppose if you know how to, one could beat a lot of models if you know their weaknesses. I own a CXG Ad Star chess which I can ocasionally beat on lower levels (about the same strength as S9) also Mephisto Acacdemy and Vancouver 16 bit - No way will I ever beat these 2. But I occasionally play the Fidelity Chess voice/Sensory Voice and Sensory 8 and Mini sensory which are about even with me and fairly enjoyable to play until either I go wrong or they play daft endings as they are apt to. Going back to the chess club I even managed to beat an IM (!) now that was a psychological experience .... at simul, but he had to tell me !!!
So yes the impossible is sometimes possible but not normal.

Terry


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: Steve B on April 20, 2009, 03:33PM


on 1239997069, chubbyupchuck wrote:

Anyone else have a story about their first victory against their first silicon opponent?

Chubby


I can still recall vividly the day i brought home my first chess computer
it was during the Xmas Season 1977
the Chess Challenger
it was hard to play a normal game with it because the computer had the ranks and files reversed
i won that first game (not a great accomplishment because it was very weak)
however i recall being amazed that a machine i could buy and bring home and play at any time of the day or night...could play a game of chess
now some 30+ years later i am not ashamed to admit that none of the amazement with these marvels has worn off on me

Best Regards
Steve B


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: chubbyupchuck on May 12, 2009, 02:27PM

Terry, Paul,

A month later and another red letter day. Having methodically worked my way up through the levels, with two or three hiccups on the way I beat my Chess Partner 4000 on its highest level for the first time this evening!

In the intervening month I have also joined you in the collectors club, making my first dedicated chess computer purchase in a decade. I thought I might move on from Chess Partner to a Mephisto brick. I await delivery of a Mephisto 2 or 3 (I'm not sure which) from Germany.

I chose this unit because it should provide me a little step up in opponent strength, it is a cheap first step into the Mephisto machines and I think it can be used to evaluate the strength of other machines. Which brings me to my question...

I am interested in working out just how strong (weak?) my Chess Partner 4000 is. With a little help from Google translation I found a description of how this might be done here...

http://www.schachcomputer.info/html/aktivschach_elo_liste.html

However, this necessitates that I invest in at least one more opponent for my Chess Partner. I was wondering if anyone knew of accepted approaches that make use of the many free PC chess engines?

Cheers

Chubby


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: Robert Weck on May 13, 2009, 12:21AM

[quote author=chubbyupchuck link=board=1;threadid=1798;start=0#msg12198 date=1242163668]
However, this necessitates that I invest in at least one more opponent for my Chess Partner. I was wondering if anyone knew of accepted approaches that make use of the many free PC chess engines?
[/quote]
A Chess Partner 4000 will never ever have a chance against a modern PC engine! There should be around 2000(!) ELO difference between them!

In our list the CP 3000 has 728 ELO. It has 46 games played, which is not much, but can give a first impression.

The CP 4000 should not be much stronger (if it is at all!)

Even a Mephisto I should have at least 400 points more...


best regards,
Robert


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: chubbyupchuck on May 13, 2009, 12:56AM

Robert,

I agree that both the CP 4000 (and I) are weak. However, I was wondering if there were accepted means of hobbling modern engines in order to arrive at accepted, although admittedly low, ratings. I know that Tom used Fritz 1 ply to arrive at a rough estimate, and I was wondering whether this idea could / had been extended, perhaps using something similar to the profiles in Chessmaster's "The King" engine?

Clearly this would require that the engines used are fundamentally constrained by search depth rather than search time in order to remove the impact of variations in the hardware the engine is run on.

Thinking about it this might cause difficulties with dedicated units that ponder on their opponent's time, as they would be given more time when playing an opponent running on weak hardware.

Perhaps using an emulation of an old hardware platform might be a better approach as the performance of the emulated hardware is typically constrained to the known level of the original machine?

Interesting

Chubby


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Title: Re:Red letter day
Post by: chubbyupchuck on May 19, 2009, 11:39AM

I have been giving a bit more thought to using chess software as a means of simplifying the process of evaluating the playing strength of dedicated units.

I think it will be necessary to have a processor that performs to a known standard. Using DosBox (www.dosbox.com) it is possible to set up an x86 emulator on most platforms (including Windows/MacOs/Linux) with a known processor throughput.

I have managed to install Windows 3.1 and Chessmaster 4000 in an instance of DosBox. According to the latest SSDF list (http://ssdf.bosjo.net/rlwww092.txt) Chessmaster 4000 plays with a strength of 2192 on a 486 50MHz or 486-DX2 66MHz. I think this should make it strong enough to take on most dedicated units.

With a bit of trial and error with a Dhrystone benchmark (http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/dhrystone%20results.htm) I found that setting a DosBox to evaluate 24,000 instructions per millisecond delivered an integer performance roughly equivalent to that of a 486-DX2 66MHz. I chose this test as it is simple and I suspect chess engine performance is constrained by processor integer performance.

My 2GHz Core2 Duo laptop runs DosBox at this rate without breaking a sweat (50% CPU).

So I offer this up as a possible standard platform, on which to base tests. My thinking is that the ability to use Chessmaster's profiles might permit us to control the performance of the opponent in a manner that is not hardware dependent, and permit people without large dedicated unit collections to contribute to the grading of the units they do have.

All thoughts welcome.


Chubby.



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