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  Chess program progress
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   Author  Topic: Chess program progress  (Read 760 times)
Kostea
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Re:Chess program progress
« on: April 16, 2009, 11:51PM »
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peh010101, you had to ask.

Chess computer manufacturers instead of making one step forward, they made 3 steps backwards. Their current flagship models are weaker than the models their had not too long ago in the past.

I keep reading opinions that once the PCs showed up, that killed the dedicated chess computer market. I don't fully agree with that.

The PCs came on the market around 1984. I'm talking about the home use PCs such as the IBM PC junior. They had no better CPUs than the dedicated chess computers, and no good chess software programs if any. And they were more expensive. The great majority of people did not buy PCs until around maybe 1997 when the Internet began to become more popular. In fact I know people who did not have a PC until around 2000 when 300-400 US $ cheap ones like the 'eMachines' were released. And they bought them mainly for word processing, e-mail, and Internet chat/games. I'm talking about the ordinary people, and not about the hobbyist or wealthy ones. The vast majority of people had no computers at home for a long time after they were released, while some of those people had a dedicated chess computer of some sort. And others like myself were using Atari, Commodore, Sinclair Spectrum, and so on, to play games including chess.

The PC chess software was weaker than some of the best dedicated chess computers until about year 2000. So no one can say that between 1984 and 2000, the chess computer manufacturers did not have time to adapt to this 'not a new kid in the block anymore' PC competition.

Even if the PCs would have had a meteoric rise in popularity in just one year, like someone flipped a switch and boom!, the PC won and the chess computer lost, what kept the chess companies from using the 'if you can't beat them, join them' philosophy and release products that had a serial interface to hook up to the PCs starting back in 1984. A DGT board style with a chess computer inside. I would have been thrilled to have one back in 1984. Serial interfaces have been on the market since Adam and Eve, and there is no reason for not being present on dedicated computers of middle or advanced class. A lot of companies made money just by making accessories for the PCs. I'm not saying that the chess computer should have become at that point an accessory to the PCs. But they could have worked together having a symbiotic relationship. These days USB, Bluetooth, and WI-FI are in fashion, but you can't find them in 99.9 % of chess computers. Complain all you want and you still won't get any useful chess toys. It's like whispering into a comatose person's ears 'Wake up, the dream is over'. Computer chess companies shouldn't blame it on PCs, they shot themselves in their leg a long time ago.

Sometimes I got so worked up over this matter that makes me start thinking about making my own chess computer.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to design the electronic hardware if you happen to have some electronics knowledge. I'm not saying that's easy, but it can be done.
The only things to overcome are getting a good chess engine to work with the CPU of choice, and making an appealing outer case, be it plastic or wood. I'm no master carpenter, and I've got no plastic molding machine, so I will have to settle on an existing chess computer, and just do a little heart transplant. I guarantee that the pacient will wake up and run a marathon or two in a week time.

So these are the bad news for the chess industry. The good news is that I got blisters on my fingers typing this post.

peh010101, sorry I did not answer your question, but I just had to vent a little 
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peh010101
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Chess program progress
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2009, 03:02PM »
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Hi

I often wonder how far computer programs have moved forward in the last 10-15 years. If we take the Mephisto Berlin pro running around 20Mhz graded in the region of 2240. It seems generally agreed that by doubleing the processor speed you add 80-100 elo. On this basis the Mephisto Berlin Pro would be graded around 2900 up there with the latest pc programs. The pc programs have the added advantage of larger memory and  the  advantage of greater data transfer rates. I may be applying simplistic arguments but it would be very interesting to see some of the older programs running on modern day processors.

Paul
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