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  Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
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Larry71
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« on: December 29, 2006, 09:56PM »
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  I only got my Obsidian about a week ago, so I'm sort of
new with it too, still getting the hang of it.
  I also find it's a nifty machine, good quality and suited for
travel. I like the low power consumption compared to the
old battery munching SuperConny. Regarding playing
strength, I'm finding it to be pretty ordinary on it's 5sec
level, but it starts to show it's 1970 (selective search) rating
as you give it maybe 15secs/move. I'm also impatient when
it comes to waiting for the moves, but 15secs is ok with me.
BTW you may not be aware that the Obsidian has a bug in
it's time controls. If you use the "average time" mode, it
makes it's moves quicker and quicker, resulting in poor play,
until it moves more or less instantly. The solution is to use the tournament levels. This bug was fixed in the Citrine.
    I started a mini match with RS2250XL, but the latter
seems to have developed an intermittent fault. What an
annoyance! From the games I've played, they seem to be
pretty well evenly matched. To be sure, the Obsidian is
a dream to operate compared to the RS, which requires
you to put way too much pressure on the squares to make
them register.
  all the best and a happy new year to all
    Larry
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marsalone
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2006, 07:43AM »
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Hey everybody,

I just want to post a followup to my original post here since I received the Obsidian a few days ago and have been playing it a lot.

First although the box shows plastic pieces on the photo, they are indeed wooden. When I first opened the shipping box and saw the plastic pieces in the photo, my heart sank. Before removing the shrinkwrap I called ICD and asked the woman on phone about it and she said that although their website says wood/plastic for the item material, the Obsidian's only come with the plastic pieces.

So after being torn for a minute or two on whether just to pack it back up immediately and head to the Post Office or to open it up and check it out, I decided the latter and took my chances.

The results were very nice. First the board did come with some nice small well detailed wooden pieces. Nice quality that blows away the standard Saitek chessmen. The overall presentation and accoutrements are exceptionally handsome from the wooden chessmen to the leather pouch for the men to the nice carrying case for the board, it was a classy Park Avenue affair.

The board itself is very nice and aeshetically pleasing to the eye and the touch. And the wooden pieces look great on the black and white board (no more garish Saitek silver and black or gold and black). The only things that seemed a little low rent was the membrane that covers all of the function buttons on the right side of the computer. It seemed like it would be ready to peel off for you in a heartbeat if you recited some Yates and flashed it some bedroom eyes. Also the LCD that everyone has been bashing is indeed a problem. It is hard to read because of the viewing angle. I'm going to read through the manual to see if there is a way to adjust the LCD contrast as this would definately fix the problem. As is, you really need to have your eyes straight over the LCD to read it. Other than that, though which isn't really a major problem in my book, it has been great. Normally I only look at the screen when setting levels at the beginning of the game.

As far as strength goes, I can't really comment. I'm about a 1500 or 1600 player on a good day after I've amped myself up on ephedrine, Omega 3, and quadruple espressos. I'm just looking for the machine to give me a stiff game at 5 to 10 seconds per move for the computer. I hate waiting for the computer to make a move. When I get good enough to have to wait more than 30 or 45 seconds per move to get a competitive game out of the computer, I'll pony up and get a stronger machine. Kind of like being part of the Marsalone rewards program. Right now it is tough for me at one or two seconds per move so I have a way to go before I outgrow it.

Overall I am very happy with the computer and if I can adjust the LCD contrast, it will be absolutely a perfect machine for me.

Ciao,
Daniel
« Last Edit: December 29, 2006, 07:45AM by marsalone » Report to moderator Logged
Meca
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 02:41PM »
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Well, I'll play my games 1 h/game, perhaps you could do the test in  other time-game, 
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Robert Weck
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 05:36AM »
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Hi Larry,


Quote from: Larry71 on December 20, 2006, 05:19AM   

  I'm still getting used to the Obsidian's level settings. I've found that it has an 'average time' setting and a 'tournament'
setting. On it's average time setting it does'nt play too good
at all, and I'd say it's because it does'nt allocate it's time
correctly, taking a similar time per move.

You're right; the avg. time levels of the Obsidian/Emerald/Star Ruby are buggy! With increasing number of moves, the computer plays faster, until it answers immediately, no matter, what avg. level! (but SteveB reports them to work correct on the Citrine!)

you should use corresponding tournament levels instead: for example 30sec. avg. (AT6) -> 40moves/20mins (TR6)

Btw.: The Diamond I/Sapphire I has the same bug (was removed with Diamond II/Sapphire II and Star Diamond Sapphire)

Quote:

When software programs play against each other there
does not have to be an allowance for operator time spent,
whereas with dedicated's there does. I played a game
Obsidian versus RS2250XL and the Obsidian claimed a win
on time.

but what's the matter, when the Obs. claims a win? you can simply continue the game... 


ignoring the flag regards,
Robert
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Larry71
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 05:19AM »
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It will be interesting to hear your results between the RS2250  and the Obsidian.  I would expect the RS2250 to win but chess computers are always full of surprises 
--------------------------------------------------------------
  I just got my Obsidian this morning, and I have an RS2250XL,
so I'll play some games between the two and let you know how
they go.
  I'm still getting used to the Obsidian's level settings. I've found that it has an 'average time' setting and a 'tournament'
setting. On it's average time setting it does'nt play too good
at all, and I'd say it's because it does'nt allocate it's time
correctly, taking a similar time per move. On the tournament
setting it seems a lot stronger because it spends vastly
differing times depending on how complex the position is.
    When software programs play against each other there
does not have to be an allowance for operator time spent,
whereas with dedicated's there does. I played a game
Obsidian versus RS2250XL and the Obsidian claimed a win
on time. The way to correct this, as I see it, is to give the
Obsidian an extra 5 seconds/move. This way both comps
meet the time control and the Obsidian's results improve
dramatically. It just now beat Mach3, although a single game
means zip.
    Watch this space.
    Larry
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Robert Weck
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2006, 12:59AM »
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Hi Nick,


Quote from: spacious_mind on December 15, 2006, 04:06PM   

According to wiki Obsidian is rated at ELO 2000 and Emerald at ELO 1870.  What I am saying is that it is much more likely judging from the few games I have played with it sofar that the Karpov 2294 would be closer to the Emerald ELO at 1870 than the Obsidian ELO of 2000.

Don't take these values to be absolutely exact! The possible fluctuations are still very big as there have been too less games played. It could be that the Obsidian could come down to 1900 and the Emerald to 2000! (just an example!)

Quote:


Now this makes you wonder how Excalibur got away with advertizing it as a 2294.  This must have misled a lot of people when it was sold in the stores.

The Emerald classic plus was also advertised by Novag with 2294 ELO! Its brothers had slightly different values according to lower/higher CPU speeds.

Every chess computer manufacturer exaggerates with the ELO's...


best regards,
Robert
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Meca
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2006, 11:10PM »
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Quote from: marsalone on December 15, 2006, 05:48PM   

Just one more question before I pull the trigger. Does the Osidian still come with wooden pieces? I see that some photos of it at a few of the online shops show it with black and white plastic pieces and at others it looks like a wooden set comes with it.


I think yes. I've see it often in ebay and into electronic stores with the wooden chess set.
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2006, 05:48PM »
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Hey everybody,

Just one more question before I pull the trigger. Does the Osidian still come with wooden pieces? I see that some photos of it at a few of the online shops show it with black and white plastic pieces and at others it looks like a wooden set comes with it.

Also how is the Saitek Mephisto Talking Chess Academy? Is the voice thing just a gimmick or is it a beneficial feature. I like the fact that it might announce it's moves and that If you hit the info button it would tell you what move it is thinking about making but I don't know if the voice is just for the canned excercises or what.

If only the Citrine ran on batteries and could play black from the bottom......

Peace Out,
Daniel
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2006, 04:06PM »
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Hi Robert


Quote from: Robert Weck on December 15, 2006, 05:07AM   

But i assume, that Emerald is the same program as Obsidian, Star Ruby or Emerald classic plus; maybe less levels and slightly slower CPU? ("plus" means often more levels at Novag)


According to wiki Obsidian is rated at ELO 2000 and Emerald at ELO 1870.  What I am saying is that it is much more likely judging from the few games I have played with it sofar that the Karpov 2294 would be closer to the Emerald ELO at 1870 than the Obsidian ELO of 2000.

It would be interesting to play back the moves of the 2 example games I posted with a Ruby, Obsidian and Emerald to see how they respond.


Quote:

P.S.: You should be aware, that you need many games, to get an idea of the real strength of a program; the PC-engine community speaks of about 50 games!


Arghh i think we discussed this before Robert    Yes of course I am aware of this.  But that is easier said than done in 2hr/40 games   in 30 sec move games much more realistic to achieve.  But I am sure when you play your games you start to get a feel for the machines.  So based on my few games I would bet you an online beer (non alcoholic of course  ) that after tests the Karpov will be around ELO 1850 - 1900 

Now this makes you wonder how Excalibur got away with advertizing it as a 2294.  This must have misled a lot of people when it was sold in the stores.

Best regards

Nick
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Robert Weck
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2006, 05:07AM »
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Hi Nick,


Quote from: spacious_mind on December 15, 2006, 04:14AM   


I am saying that it is a weaker program than Obsidian or Ruby..  More likely the same program as the Novag Emerald. 

But i assume, that Emerald is the same program as Obsidian, Star Ruby or Emerald classic plus; maybe less levels and slightly slower CPU? ("plus" means often more levels at Novag)

IIRC the Emerald has 20 MHz? (and its CPU could be an older one and therefore somewhat slower)

Jade II, Zircon II, Turquoise, Emerald(?), Emerald classic plus, Amber, Star Ruby, Obsidian and Citrine (did i forget one? ) have all the same program (maybe with some slight changes), only the CPUs and the opening libraries should vary!

Would be interesting, if we could add the Karpov 2294 to this list! (but i strongly assume it!)

Quote:

It will be interesting to hear your results between the RS2250  and the Obsidian.  I would expect the RS2250 to win

me too!


Robert

P.S.: You should be aware, that you need many games, to get an idea of the real strength of a program; the PC-engine community speaks of about 50 games! 
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2006, 04:14AM »
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Hi Meca:

I am saying that it is a weaker program than Obsidian or Ruby..  More likely the same program as the Novag Emerald. 

It will be interesting to hear your results between the RS2250  and the Obsidian.  I would expect the RS2250 to win but chess computers are always full of surprises 

best regards
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2006, 02:26AM »
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Quote:

It would be interesting to play the RS2200 against the Obsidian.


Next week I'll do some games Obsidian- RS2250 I'll tell you news. But, I understand to you, I have seen that 2 games lost and it seems that the Karpov program is weak or there are bugs.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2006, 02:33AM by Meca » Report to moderator Logged
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2006, 10:08PM »
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Karpov 2294 is a pretty computer, but I am not sure about it's playing strength.  I was very excited when I bought it but after playing 1 game against it in a 2hr/40 game I never tried to play it again and left the machine feeling disapoined.  It just seemed to play a very weak game.  Here is the game

http://spacious-mind.tripod.com/viewer22/karpov2294.htm

But recently I played a few 2hr/40 games with it and the results were:

RS2200 3.1/2
Karpov 1/2

Roma II 1
Karpov 3

The results against Roma II raised my expectations again a little.  So I might take it out of the box again someday and play a few more games against it 

Here is another game it played against the RS2200:

http://spacious-mind.tripod.com/viewer22/rs2200x.htm

It would be interesting to play the RS2200 against the Obsidian.

rgds

Nick
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2006, 01:23PM »
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Yes, it's true, I have seen Obsidian to overcome bad positions with a nice play   
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2006, 11:13AM »
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I do not know the Mephisto Master but I enjoyed the Obsidian Game style.

It plays a lot of unusual options.

Here is a test game 2mn per move for whose who have java installed
http://electronicchess.free.fr/parties/obsidian2d.html
And this one at 1mn per move. Very different answer to similar closed opening position from my side.
http://electronicchess.free.fr/parties/obsidian.html
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2006, 07:47AM »
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Quote from: marsalone on December 14, 2006, 06:26AM   


I'll tell you what though. I think that Meca's Karpov 2294 is calling my name. It's like an Obsidian with faux woodgrain like a 1976 Ford LTD Station Wagon. That looks kind of cooler than the Novag version.

Yes, in my opinion the wooden pieces do not fit to the plastic look of the Obsidian!

Btw: The Karpov 2294 is the same as the Novag Emerald classic plus (has the same woodgrain casing as the Karpov 2294)

And yes, they are all out of production!


Robert
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2006, 06:26AM »
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Thanks for the responses.

Tony you make the pieces sound nice. Looking at Meca's site and photos it looks like the Novag Obsidian is a nicer board than the Mephisto Master/Milano Pro. From Meca's pictures it does look like you would need to lean over the board and straight down on the LCD to read it. But that might not be so bad for me. I'm a set it and forget it kind of guy.

I'll tell you what though. I think that Meca's Karpov 2294 is calling my name. It's like an Obsidian with faux woodgrain like a 1976 Ford LTD Station Wagon. That looks kind of cooler than the Novag version.

Meca, do they use the same program or is it just the same case and pieces... I think I want the Karpov. I take it that they are out of production?

Ciao,
Daniel
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2006, 04:21AM »
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obsidian comes with wooden pieces and a small magnet in them. airbrushed satin laquer on them and its a 100% improvement. i think master has more options. as for strength, i haven't played them against each other yet. still doing the diamond vs. obsidian tests at various time levels. the ads rate master higher and some about even. take ads with a grain of salt. i do my own testing.
tony
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2006, 03:50AM »
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Quote from: Meca on December 14, 2006, 02:29AM   

I don't like Obsidian because the display is not easy to read, you have put your head just over it

the same with my Emerald classic plus!

But the wooden pieces are nice; they have strong magnets, so they can be used even with magnet-sensor boards as Monte Carlo, Academy, Corona and so on!

Don't know, if it's the same with Obsidian's pieces...


magnetic regards,
Robert
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Re:Obsidian or Mephisto Master Chess
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2006, 02:29AM »
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I don't like Obsidian because the display is not easy to read, you have put your head just over it, and the book opennings is poor. On the other hand, it plays hard.

You can see the obsidian here:
http://www.meca-web.es/museo/novagobsidian/novagobsidian.htm

Look the photo 7, look the display, that's I don't like

About the plastics chess sets, don´t worry very much, you can use the chess set  you like it more.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2006, 02:39AM by Meca » Report to moderator Logged
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