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Print Page Chess Computer Community
    General Category => Discussions about Chess Computers => Message started by: Alain Zanchetta on October 29, 2005, 09:46AM
	

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Title: Oldies
Post by: alainza on October 29, 2005, 09:46AM

Hi,

I started today to read the old Europe Echecs I bought a few months ago (whole collection between 1970 and 1990) :
  • The first dedicated computer's appearance is an advertising for the CC3 in January, 1978
  • then in May 1978, there was an ad for the Compuchess Cominda and a small test of this machine
  • and in September 1978, another article about the CC10 and the Boris
  • the CC7 appears in an ad in august 1979

  • Here is the first color ad for the CC10 :
    http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/EE1978_CCX.JPG (http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/EE1978_CCX.JPG)

    In a "news" section in June 1975, they mention the use of an electronic board in a tournament to display the game of the leaders !

    And of course, I have a question : in a test, the author says that the Novag MKI has the same program than the Compuchess. Can anybody confirm ?

    Thanks,
    Best,
    Alain


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Ismenio on October 29, 2005, 02:32PM

Thanks for sharing that ad Alain! Was that address on the coupon to some Fidelity office/distributor in France (did they even have one?) or an electronic store?

Thanks,

Ismenio


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on October 29, 2005, 10:51PM

Hi Ismenio,
[quote author=Ismenio link=board=1;threadid=545;start=0#msg4199 date=1130621540]
Was that address on the coupon to some Fidelity office/distributor in France (did they even have one?) or an electronic store?
[/quote]

it was their distributor : Rexton

best,
Alain


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Mike Watters on October 30, 2005, 05:34AM

Hi Alain

You should get a great deal of pleasure out of reading those old chess magazines. Information from them about chess computers should certainly help to make the Timeline as accurate as possible. So please keep the references coming. :)

I was not sure that I had heard the Compuchess I called the Compuchess Cominda before. Was this a name specific to the French release?

The electronic board for displaying tournament matches is a very early example I think.

Alain I cannot confirm the programmer of the Compuchess. The information I have on the early programmers (up to the beginning of 1980) is :-

Ron Nelson - Fidelity and Toytronic
David Levy - Novag and TEC
David Slate (& Larry Atkin) - Boris, Boris Diplomat, MGS
Peter Jennings - Commodore Chessmate
Dan & Kathe Spracklen - Sargon 2.5

Compuchess? Multitech/Conic Master ?

I have seen a reference from David Levy that the Boris program was pirated in another machine, but I do not know which one. If the Novag Chess Champion and the Compuchess have the same program then it is David Levy's.

Best regards
Mike


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on October 30, 2005, 07:47AM

Hi Mike,

[quote author=Mike Watters link=board=1;threadid=545;start=0#msg4209 date=1130679255]
Information from them about chess computers should certainly help to make the Timeline as accurate as possible. So please keep the references coming. :)
[/quote]
well, as Europe Echecs did not talk about CC1, these article will only give us the "later bound" of computer releases : for example, I can only confirm that the Compuchess was already available in may 1978.
[quote]
I was not sure that I had heard the Compuchess I called the Compuchess Cominda before. Was this a name specific to the French release?
[/quote]
I don't know. I had never heard about this computer before I bought one two years ago :-[ The seller called it Compuchess Cominda. Here are two ads for it : the first one calls the computer only "Compuchess" but the second one talks about the "Compuchess Cominda" (right part of the page).
http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess1.jpg (http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess1.jpg)
http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess2.jpg (http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess2.jpg)

[quote]
Alain I cannot confirm the programmer of the Compuchess.
[/quote]
I wish I did not exchanged mine :-[ I exchanged it against a CC3 but now regret it. The Compuchess was in perfect shape which is definitely not the case of the CC3.... so I am very often tempted to buy both another CC3 and a Compuchess !

May be I should check the documentation ? anyway, the keys seem to be the same.

Best,
Alain


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Mike Watters on October 31, 2005, 12:19AM

[quote][size=2]I don't know. I had never heard about this computer before I bought one two years ago :-[ The seller called it Compuchess Cominda. Here are two ads for it : the first one calls the computer only "Compuchess" but the second one talks about the "Compuchess Cominda" (right part of the page).
http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess1.jpg (http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess1.jpg)
http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess2.jpg (http://alain.zanchetta.free.fr/pubs/Compuchess2.jpg)[/size]

[/quote]
Alain

The Compuchess Cominda name may have been a marketing name in France? It is a name that does not appear on the machine or in the manual. It is also a word that seems to have no meaning in English.

It is an interesting point that you make about the key layout and functions of the Compuchess and Novag Mk I being the same. With the reference you found in Europe Echecs, it is good enough for me to believe that the Compuchess program is David Levy's.

There was a relevant Ebay auction yesterday. A Compuchess I had been upgraded to a Compuchess II, according to the seller, and the documentation for both was included in the sale.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8713187925&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEDW%3AIT&rd=1

Unfortunately Josef Zwinger was prepared to pay more for it, so I cannot throw any further light on the subject for now. Perhaps I shall ask him for a copy of the information when he gets it?

All the best
Mike


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Ismenio on October 31, 2005, 11:21AM

Does anybody know what the differences are between the two versions? I don't understand the "3 additional games" thing ??? (stealing a quote from Christian "probably the problem is between my ears!" ;) )

I see that the other manual has the picture of a board and pieces. AFAIK the first one didn't come with any board.

Ismenio


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Mike Watters on October 31, 2005, 01:30PM

[quote author=Ismenio link=board=1;threadid=545;start=0#msg4224 date=1130786517]
[size=2]Does anybody know what the differences are between the two versions? I don't understand the "3 additional games" thing ??? (stealing a quote from Christian "probably the problem is between my ears!" ;) )

I see that the other manual has the picture of a board and pieces. AFAIK the first one didn't come with any board.

Ismenio[/size]

[/quote]Ismenio

The differences are spelt out in the second advertisement Alain posted. Unfortunately my French translating is nearly as bad as my German. Particularly when my daughter has taken her French dictionaries off to Uni. :-\

Both the upgrade manual and Compuchess I box show a board but I don't think the board came with either chess computer.

Mike


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on October 31, 2005, 02:19PM

Hi Ismenio,
[quote author=Ismenio link=board=1;threadid=545;start=0#msg4224 date=1130786517]
Does anybody know what the differences are between the two versions?
[/quote]
From the doc I posted yesterday :
- faster thinking time, especialy at levels 5 and 6
- better game strategy
- 1500 programmed positions with various difficulty levels that can be played instead of complete games
- the so called "Fabulous" game can be played in two variants : the queen can be played as a knight or all major pieces can be played as a knight.

May be I have something more detailed somewhere. I'll check tomorrow.

Best,
Alain


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Mike Watters on November 10, 2005, 10:07AM

[quote]
And of course, I have a question : in a test, the author says that the Novag MKI has the same program than the Compuchess. Can anybody confirm ?

Thanks,
Best,
Alain

[/quote]Alain

Today I tested the Compuchess I, Novag Chess Champion Mk I and Videomaster Chess Champion alongside one another. The Videomaster looks the same as the Novag apart from the names and English/German lettering, oh yes, and the go-fast stripe on the Novag. :) I had thought they were exactly the same technically but that did not prove to be true.

The Videomaster runs at twice the speed of the Compuchess I and Mark I. They appear to have very similar programs though. For instance all three followed this sequence of moves playing black on Level 2 :-

1 e4 e5
2 Nf3 Qf6
3 Bc4 b5
4 Bxb5 a6
5 Bc4 d5
6 Bxd5 c6
7 Bc4 Bg4

The Compuchess I and Novag Mk I run at the same speed and to 1.e4 sometimes reply Nf6, whereas the Videomaster always replied e5. Could the Videomaster be the equivalent of Compuchess II. There is nothing in the manual about the extra features though.

Anyway this test definitely supports your theory.

All the best
Mike


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on November 10, 2005, 12:49PM

Thanks Mike,

your test is very interesting...
Do you have the compuchess II manual ? I have it in French (but not the computer) and could post the procedure to play their "fabulous" chess. May be the Videomaster could accept the same commands ?

Best,

Alain


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Mike Watters on November 10, 2005, 01:15PM

[quote author=Alain Zanchetta link=board=1;threadid=545;start=0#msg4385 date=1131655780]
Thanks Mike,

your test is very interesting...
Do you have the compuchess II manual ? I have it in French (but not the computer) and could post the procedure to play their "fabulous" chess. May be the Videomaster could accept the same commands ?

Best,

Alain

[/quote]Alain I do not hold out much hope as there is no mention in the Videochess manual or on the box. Regretfully Josef Zwinger beat me to the Compuchess II manual etc. Please let me have the instructions and I'll give it a try anyway.

It was uncanny how all three machines played the same really bad moves.

Best regards
Mike


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on November 11, 2005, 06:10AM

Knights game
In this variant, the queen, the bishops and the rooks are replaced by knights. So each side has 8 pawns, 1 king and 7 knights.

In order to play that game, program the computer the following way :

1. On/Off being on Off
2. Plug the power supply
3. Put On/Off on On
4. Put Run/Reset on Run
=> "L" or 4 dots (....)
5. Enter the difficulty level (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6)
=> "bP"
6. Press "E"
=> 4 blinking dots
7. Enter white's move, e.g. e2-e4
=> E2E4
8. Press "Play", etc...


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on November 11, 2005, 06:14AM

Queen of Amazons Game
In this variant, it is possible to convert the queen in a knight.

In order to play that game, program the computer the following way :
1. On/Off being on Off
2. Plug the power supply
3. Put On/Off on On
4. Put Run/Reset on Run
=> "L" or 4 dots (....)
5. Enter the difficulty level (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6)
=> "bP"
6. Press "F"
=> 4 blinking dots
7. ...


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Mike Watters on November 11, 2005, 06:49AM

Sorry Alain no response from the Videomaster. I tried for the Mode E and F in your instructions but there was nothing there, the normal level number just kept flashing until I turned the machine off. For good measure I looked for Modes D, G and H and there was nothing there either.

This reminds me a little of looking for cheat modes or hidden parts of video games. Has anyone ever found a undocumented function on a chess computer, turned on by a certain key combination? ???

All the best
Mike


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: alainza on November 11, 2005, 07:19AM

Thanks anyway for having tried Mike !

About the undocumented functions, no idea... but for the cheat mode, I think the CC1 had one, no ? (something like 1.Ng5 e5 2.Qxf7# ;) )

Best,
Alain


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Title: Re:Oldies
Post by: Robert Weck on November 14, 2005, 02:20AM

[quote author=Mike Watters link=board=1;threadid=545;start=0#msg4402 date=1131720592]
This reminds me a little of looking for cheat modes or hidden parts of video games. Has anyone ever found a undocumented function on a chess computer, turned on by a certain key combination? ???
[/quote]
Well known, but i think, they are undocumented: On some Schröder-machines (Risc I/II, Milano and MM V (MM IV?)) you can check the version by pressing "MEM" and "INFO".

On the Dominator: keep the Knight- and Pawn-key pressed and switch it on. In the display, you should now be able to read "TEST" and the version-number!
And you can test the keys and the LEDs for function!


Robert



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