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  Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
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   Author  Topic: Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)  (Read 1939 times)
Overtom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« on: February 2, 2006, 07:03AM »
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Quote from: Tommy on January 31, 2006, 02:52AM   

I have some good news with regard to the ease of use of Winboard.  Winboard has the reputation of being difficult to set up because it requires users to edit ini files.  There is a project to improve Winboard called Winboard X, and I have recently got my self involved by helping with the development of Winboard X.  I have written an engine manager which is now integrated with Winboard and should make life a lot easier for users when installing and updating engines.  The version of Winboard X which has Engman integrated has not been released yet, but will proably be released in the next few weeks. 

That is very good news indeed! I don't so much mind the fact that I have to edit ini files. What throws me is the fact that the manuals that should tell you how to edit them are not very clear. But alas, clear manuals seem to be the exception in computing.

Well anyway, soon I hope I'll be able to play with your fine program Kanguruh through an improved version of Winboard.

Quote:

I liked your Java chess board.  Definately a good start to a ches program.  Keep at it, because you will get better.  It took me serveral trys before I managed to a chess program working properly.  Each time you write a chess program you learn what you did wrong and that serves as motivation to write a new one.  For many chess programmers, their chess program becomes a life time hobby.
Cheers,
Tom.

I stopped writing the program because I was fearing I was not on the right path. The board of TomChess is a 144-element array of (long) integers. But I think I should have used a type that enabled easier use of more basic operations like right-shift, left-shift and the like. But one day I may feel courageous enough to re-start the project. I would be quite content if it can beat me which is not as hard as it may sound since I'm a very poor chess player

with best regards,

tom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2006, 02:52AM »
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Quote from: Overtom on January 28, 2006, 06:35PM   

Even if it can play your chess game, you'd better not send it to The Netherlands: I haven't used the computer for five years or so, and it may not be before I have any grandchildren before I awake this sleeping beauty .


Well, if you ever change your mind, let me know.


Quote:

By the way, did you buy the game only because you collect chess games? Or did you expect it would play on the color computer? To be honest, I think the graphics on your Coco (as it seems to have been called) are a definite improvement compared to the clumsy model 1 stuff.


Yes, definately an improvement in the graphics, but you can certainly see a family resemblence.  When I placed a bid on Z-Chess, I knew that it would not work on my TRS80 CoCo.  I often purchase the software  before I get the hardware required to run the software, because sometimes its harder to get the chess software than the hardware.  In the case of the TRS80 model 1,  on ebay one shows up every few weeks, but I have not seen one here with disk drives plus all the right bits to get it working in the past six months.  Doesn't worry me too much, I was the only bidder for Z-Chess, so I got it fairly cheaply. 


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I recently bought the PB CC compiler. I think the language is very fast and powerful. But the graphics seem not to be its greatest asset. So that's why I asked if you managed to make a graphical interface. I programmed a simple interface in Java(http://overtom.nl/EngTomChess.html, but I got stuck in the tedious work of making a move generator. I very much liked the character of your Kanguruh. On the Internet, I had seen the games played against your dedicated chess computers. But I assumed Kanguruh was your pseudonym and the games had been played against a human (the final Turing test ). However, since I am very bad at installing programs with Winboard, I have not played a lot with your Kanguruh - alas


I have some good news with regard to the ease of use of Winboard.  Winboard has the reputation of being difficult to set up because it requires users to edit ini files.  There is a project to improve Winboard called Winboard X, and I have recently got my self involved by helping with the development of Winboard X.  I have written an engine manager which is now integrated with Winboard and should make life a lot easier for users when installing and updating engines.  The version of Winboard X which has Engman integrated has not been released yet, but will proably be released in the next few weeks. 

I liked your Java chess board.  Definately a good start to a ches program.  Keep at it, because you will get better.  It took me serveral trys before I managed to a chess program working properly.  Each time you write a chess program you learn what you did wrong and that serves as motivation to write a new one.  For many chess programmers, their chess program becomes a life time hobby.

Cheers,
Tom.
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 06:35PM »
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Hi Tommy,

I still own a TRS-80 model 4P, which was a beauty in the pre-PC era, but here at home it was only used by my daughters, who used it for years to play games I'd made for them. It looks like this:



Even if it can play your chess game, you'd better not send it to The Netherlands: I haven't used the computer for five years or so, and it may not be before I have any grandchildren before I awake this sleeping beauty .

By the way, did you buy the game only because you collect chess games? Or did you expect it would play on the color computer? To be honest, I think the graphics on your Coco (as it seems to have been called) are a definite improvement compared to the clumsy model 1 stuff.

I recently bought the PB CC compiler. I think the language is very fast and powerful. But the graphics seem not to be its greatest asset. So that's why I asked if you managed to make a graphical interface. I programmed a simple interface in Java(http://overtom.nl/EngTomChess.html, but I got stuck in the tedious work of making a move generator. I very much liked the character of your Kanguruh. On the Internet, I had seen the games played against your dedicated chess computers. But I assumed Kanguruh was your pseudonym and the games had been played against a human (the final Turing test ). However, since I am very bad at installing programs with Winboard, I have not played a lot with your Kanguruh - alas

Best regards,

tom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 04:48AM »
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G'day Tom!


Quote from: Overtom on January 27, 2006, 04:40AM   

Having read your message, I rushed upstairs to check my hardware ... only to find out that I've given all three my 5.25-inch TRS-80 diskdrives away. After all they're about the size of the lucheon box that the average contruction worker uses to carry his daily victuals. So in the space vacated I can now store at least a dozen portable chess computers.

By the way, you would still need a so-called "expansion interface" to get your diskdives working.


Sounds like its not worth the effort.  I'm not sure if this 26 year old disk still works.  I bought it from ebay and the seller was not able to test it either.  I would be more interested in sending the disk to someone with the hardware for them to test.



Quote:

And even then the graphics would be disappointing. I remember the TRS80 games usually came in boxes with pictures that promised at least technicolor, if not cinemascope, and were invariably a bit of a let-down. See for yourself:


Those graphics are a shocker.  You couldn't really use it to play chess with, you are better off setting up your own chess board and use that to play.  I have Microchess 2.0 on my TRS80 Colour Computer 2, and as you can see from the photo, the graphics resemble the one in your photo of Microchess 1.5.




Quote:

By the way, good to see you here! I liked the style of play of your chess program Kanguruh. Did you ever make a graphical interface for it, or is that almost impossible with the PB CC compiler?


Thanks for taking an interest in Kanguruh.  It is possible to program a GUI in PB CC, but that would be considered a form of mental torture with all the system calls you would need to make.  Kanguruh was designed to work in Winboard or Arena GUI, so therefore I didn't have to write my own GUI.  This is a good way to do it, because Winboard is a standard protocol, this means its easy to set up Engine vs Engine games and automate tournaments.  Kanguruh talks to Winboard using a Windows pipe, and then comunicating via this pipe using the Winboard/Xboard protocol.  If you are interested in code for PB or FreeBASIC thats talks to Winboard using a pipe, then let me know and I will send you the code.

If I was to write my own GUI, and I have considered it, I would probably do it in VB6 and set up a pipe to Kanguruh and communicate using the Winboard protocol.  Of course, this would also mean my GUI would work with other chess engines that support Winboard.

Cheers,
Tom. 
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2006, 04:40AM »
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Hi Tommy,

Having read your message, I rushed upstairs to check my hardware ... only to find out that I've given all three my 5.25-inch TRS-80 diskdrives away. After all they're about the size of the lucheon box that the average contruction worker uses to carry his daily victuals. So in the space vacated I can now store at least a dozen portable chess computers.

By the way, you would still need a so-called "expansion interface" to get your diskdives working.

And even then the graphics would be disappointing. I remember the TRS80 games usually came in boxes with pictures that promised at least technicolor, if not cinemascope, and were invariably a bit of a let-down. See for yourself:



By the way, good to see you here! I liked the style of play of your chess program Kanguruh. Did you ever make a graphical interface for it, or is that almost impossible with the PB CC compiler?

Best regards,

tom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2006, 03:37AM »
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I have Chess software for the TRS80 model 1 called Zchess.  Unfortunately I do not have a TRS-80 model 1, and it seems difficult to find one in Australia  that comes with a 5.25inch disk drive. 

 


"Of course, Z-chess will solve mate in two problems" - Whoa!  Must be a strong program!

According to the instructions, Zchess will think 6 ply (3 moves) ahead in an average of 30 minutes.

Cheers,
Tom.
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2006, 05:03AM »
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Hi Ismenio,

Quote from: Ismenio on January 25, 2006, 06:59PM   

I've never played with a model 100 but I remember seeing them in the 80 Micro magazine ( http://www.interbears.com/80-micro.htm ) and I wanted one so bad!!!

Did you have any chess program for that model?

Ismenio

There seems to be a chess program for the model 100, which is to be found at http://www.club100.org/library/libgam.html, but I never installed it. I presume it would only take a lot of time and I would end up with a very user-unfriendly affair.

Mind I acquired the model 100 quite recently, at a time when PCs and chess computers were infintely more user-friendly than a twenty-year-old program for the model 100. In the late eighties when the model 100 was being produced, I was as eager to possess one as you, but I never had the financial means.

But I liked cramming a program with my complete school administration (including the data) into 30K of memory.

Best regards,

tom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2006, 06:59PM »
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Hi Tom,

Thanks for the links. Enjoyed reading the entries, as always.

I've never played with a model 100 but I remember seeing them in the 80 Micro magazine ( http://www.interbears.com/80-micro.htm ) and I wanted one so bad!!!

Did you have any chess program for that model?

Ismenio
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2006, 03:36AM »
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Quote from: Ismenio on January 23, 2006, 06:12AM   

.......
Alain, thanks for the tip on the .NET as well. I'm getting the full package since I was signed as an MSDN developer at work   ( not that I have time to code! )
.......
Couple years ago I was playing with a TRS80 (model III) emulator and I would love to revisit those days!

I wonder if the dotnet Visual Basic is as slow as the non-dotnet version is reputed to be. On the Internet I read the advise to replace some VB DLLs by PowerBasic DLLs because of the speed.

As far as TRS80 is concerned, the model I was my first computer too (http://overtom.nl/weblog/29DEC03.html). I gave it to a nephew who learnt so much from it to become a system administrator, or whatever this is called in English, and who now hosts a mirror of my site (overtom.pcintelligence.nl).

The old model I is probably lost forever. My nephew was not as emotional about it as I am, and I don't have room for it anyway. I still own a model 4P and  model 100 (http://overtom.nl/weblog/13JAN04.html), which is supposed to be the oldest notebook computer ever made:

                             

Best regards,

tom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2006, 06:12AM »
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Hi All!

Still catching up with you guys but thanks the great posts!
Tommy, thanks for sharing that code! Makes me want to go back and write a program as I wanted to do once 
The only thing I did was to port an open code to MUMPS since there was nothing on that language (that I could ever find) at the time.

Alain, thanks for the tip on the .NET as well. I'm getting the full package since I was signed as an MSDN developer at work   ( not that I have time to code! )

I also like vintage computers, though I don't have time/space for them. I have a friend who collects them. I still want to get a TRS80 since that was the first computer I worked on and I had Sargon II running there. Does anyone know where I could get a copy of it? (image disk)
Couple years ago I was playing with a TRS80 (model III) emulator and I would love to revisit those days!

I give you guys a lot of credit for writing your own program. This hobby is very interesting. We collect the computers, we hack them, we fix them and we write our own programs!! (I'm using "we" here collectively )

Best to all!

Ismenio
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2006, 04:26AM »
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Hi Tom Mc (Tommy) 

Firstly many thanks for your engines (and also excellent utilities!). For me it is great they are written in BASIC (as few Winboard engines use this language) and shows what can be achieved. 

When I first started my own program I played DeepBASIC and looked through the source code though with limited experience found I couldn't understand it! 

This thread has I think modified my own ambition in this area (or perhaps the timescale  ). My goal has been to write a program (irrespective how weak) that could be made compatible with winboard or uci maybe with the help of a friendly proper programmer (similar perhaps to what you did with MiniMax?). In preparation I even have some great logos ready! 

It looks like my effort to date has been focused on the 'wrong' Basic. I will check out your BASIC link (thanks, and  also to Alain!) though given where I'm at (and still very novice) I suspect it would make sense for me to carry on with what I am now familiar with.


Quote:

I have been focusing my attention in last six months into collecting vintage chess software like Sargon II for VIC 20, Chessmaster 2000 for Amiga, Colossus Chess for Commodore 64, Microchess for TRS80 and more.  Not sure if you guys are interested in Vintage software?



Most definitely,  - I think I had just about all the chess programs released for the ZX81 but my favourite was White Knight Mk11 for the BBc Computer, written by Martin Bryant and a forerunner of Colossus Chess. Amazing graphics for the time, unrivalled features and good strength (IIRC 1983 Champion of somewhere/thing). Hard to believe it was produced in 32k. 
For the Amiga my chess program of choice was ChessPlayer 2150 (I think by by Chris Whittington) as long as the sound was not activated! I still have these but not fired them up in a long time, I hope they still boot up!

Best wishes

Chris
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2006, 11:11PM »
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You can also try Visual Basic .NET which is free in its "Express" Edition :

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/vb/

Alain
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2006, 01:53PM »
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Hi ergundel 


Quote:


When manipulating strings, True Basic is 20 times faster than JustBasic. When manipulating numbers, True Basic is 50 times faster. I wrote a chess program in True Basic that generally gets to about 3 to 4 plies in normal time limits, so perhaps the same program in JustBasic will get to 2 plies. Probably not fast enough to beat your Chess Challenger though.



Thanks for your feedback, If you're right and I am only likely to get to 2 ply I suppose I can console myself with the fact at at 1 ply I'm halfway there!  or else I'll  !!

I don't suppose the early Chess Challengers can be searching much deeper than this? - I WILL beat the CC3 and CC10!

Steely determined / wildly optimistic regards

Chris
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2006, 01:42PM »
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Hi (Over) Tom 


Quote:

I couldn't agree more with you about how satisfying it is to make a working program. I don't want to discourage you, but I found the move generator the most tedious part to do  I actually never finished that part.

But I'm almost sure if you have made a program that plays a very poor game even if you give it a minute per move. you'll turn to a faster compiler!

Anyway, good luck!



Thanks for your feedback and encouragement - My software and I will plod on! 

Best wishes

Chris
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2006, 06:05AM »
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On the subject of BASIC programming languages, I would like to recommend FreeBASIC - http://www.freebasic.net .  I have played with this a little and found it to be quite good.  It's not quite as fast as PowerBASIC, but it is certainly not slow. 

I've tested OverToms bubble sort code with PowerBASIC and as I suspected, for 2000 records it was instantaneous, I was unable to measure the time it took to sort them because it all ways returned zero seconds.  So I bumped up the number of records to be sorted to 20,000 and got an average time of 2.4 seconds.  I then optimised Tom's code for better performance and got the sort time down to 1.6 seconds for 20,000 records. 

Here is the optimised code for PowerBASIC.  As you can see I have changed all variables to 32bit data types.  32Bit variables are the fastest because you are using 32bit generated code on a 32bit operating system using a 32bit processor.  I have also optimised the bubble sort algorithm that takes advantage of the fact that each time you scan through the sort list, the record with the highest value always sinks to the bottom.  So, therefore you don't need to scan all the way to the bottom for each subsequent scan.

FUNCTION PBMAIN () AS LONG
    REM on JustBasic: 57 seconds
    DIM a(20000) AS LONG
    DIM unsorted AS LONG
    DIM i AS LONG
    DIM r AS LONG
    DIM i1 AS LONG
    DIM t1 AS SINGLE
    DIM t2 AS SINGLE

    FOR i=1 TO 20000
        a(i) = RND(0,5000)
    NEXT

    t1=TIMER

    FOR i1=1 TO 19999
        FOR i=1 TO 20000-i1
            IF a(i)>a(i+1) THEN
                r=a(i)
                a(i)=a(i+1)
                a(i+1)=r
            END IF
        NEXT
    NEXT

    t2=TIMER

    PRINT "finished, time="; t2-t1

    WAITKEY$

END FUNCTION
 

Here is the code converted to FreeBASIC.  FreeBASIC was a little slower than PowerBASIC averaging 1.9 seconds for 20,000 records.

declare sub MAIN

call main

sub MAIN

    DIM a(20000) AS integer
    DIM unsorted AS integer
    DIM i AS integer
    DIM r AS integer
    DIM i1 AS integer
    DIM t1 AS SINGLE
    DIM t2 AS SINGLE
   
   
    FOR i=1 TO 20000
        a(i) = RND(1)*5000
    NEXT
   
    t1=TIMER
   
    FOR i1=1 TO 19999
        FOR i=1 TO 20000-i1
            IF a(i)>a(i+1) THEN
                r=a(i)
                a(i)=a(i+1)
                a(i+1)=r
            END IF
        NEXT
    NEXT
   
    t2=TIMER
   
    PRINT "finished, time="; t2-t1
   
    sleep
   
END sub
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2006, 05:04AM »
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Quote from: Mike Watters on January 20, 2006, 04:02PM   

Tommy

Is it possible not to be interested in Sargon II? 

Christian has been looking for a copy for his Vic20. I have the book but not the software.

Ismenio have you heard from Christian for a while? He came out of hibernation for the auction on that Bavaria board, I told you about, a week ago.

I liked the website Tommy, particularly the idea of pitting all your machines against your own program. Even if it's far too strong.


Thanks, Kanguruh has a slight processor advantage over my chess computers.   Kanguruh most likely would not win against my best dedicated computers if it didn't have a massive speed advantage.  But, endgame knowledge seems poor in all my chess computers, not one of them can correctly play k vs KP. 


I have just received my Scisys Turbo 16K and played a test game against Kanguruh.  Kanguruh won the game easily.

[White "Scisys Turbo 16K"]
[Black "Kanguruh v1.91"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "40/2400"]
[Annotator "6... -0.12"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. g3 b5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O c5 6. Nc3 b4 7. Na4 cxd4 8.
Nxd4 Bxg2 9. Kxg2 e5 10. Nf5 d5 11. Bg5 Qd7 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. b3 Rg8 14.
Kh1 Nc6 15. Qd3 Rg5 16. Ne3 d4 17. Nc4 Qh3 18. Qf3 Rc8 19. Qxf6 Rh5 20.
Nd6+ Bxd6 21. Qh4 Rxh4 22. gxh4 e4 23. f4 exf3 24. Rf2 Bg3 25. Raf1 Ne5 26.
Kg1 Bxf2+ 27. Rxf2 Rxc2 28. Nc3 Rc1+ 29. Nd1 Rxd1+ 30. Rf1 Rxf1#
0-1

Cheers,
Tom
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2006, 04:02PM »
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Tommy

Is it possible not to be interested in Sargon II? 

Christian has been looking for a copy for his Vic20. I have the book but not the software.

Ismenio have you heard from Christian for a while? He came out of hibernation for the auction on that Bavaria board, I told you about, a week ago.

I liked the website Tommy, particularly the idea of pitting all your machines against your own program. Even if it's far too strong.

All the best
Mike

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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2006, 03:15AM »
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Hi everyone!

Looks like you discovered my web site.

This is my first post here, but I have actually registered here over six months ago!  I'm already familiar with some of the members web sites here, especially Overtoms and Ismenio's, which I have already book marked.  I also know Steve Blincoe from the CCC forum.

My dedicated computer chess collection is what I would call a humble collection, and I only occasionally buy a chess computer  from ebay.  In fact I purchased a chess computer this week from ebay which I pick up from the post office tomorrow (Saitek Turbo 16K).  This my first purchase of a chess computer  in about 6 months. Instead,  I have been focusing my attention in last six months into collecting vintage chess software like Sargon II for VIC 20, Chessmaster 2000 for Amiga, Colossus Chess for Commodore 64, Microchess for TRS80 and more.  Not sure if you guys are interested in Vintage software?

Here is a photo of my Sargon II running on a Vic20.  Sargon was winner of the 1978 World Micro Computer chess Championship.




Interesting fact:  Sargon II averages 3 ply in 1 minute.  CPU 6502 @ 1Mhz.


Cheers,
Tom.
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2006, 01:42PM »
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The speed of JustBasic (as well as Liberty Basic) is an old story. JustBasic is an interpreter written on another interpreter (SmallTalk), and incorporates probably the slowest possible number type for it's variables: infinite precision. That's kind of cool if you want to calculate the value of PI to 1000 digits, but is extremely inefficient for normal stuff, like incrementing variables, or adding the values of chess pieces.

When manipulating strings, True Basic is 20 times faster than JustBasic. When manipulating numbers, True Basic is 50 times faster. I wrote a chess program in True Basic that generally gets to about 3 to 4 plies in normal time limits, so perhaps the same program in JustBasic will get to 2 plies. Probably not fast enough to beat your Chess Challenger though.
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Re:Tom's chess computer collection (Australia)
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2006, 08:42AM »
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Hi Chris,


Quote from: Chris on January 16, 2006, 11:05AM   

Hi Tom 

Many thanks for this test which is very interesting (your program took 46 seconds on my computer! - I think there is a timer function in JB but I've not explored it as yet). I've followed your link to Power Basic which looks impressive (though i don't think free?)

What I like about JB is that it is user friendly for the inexperienced programmer. I suspect you are a much better programmer than I, and you are right my program is littered with Ifs and gotos and is not well structured. My newbie error was also to start coding without giving prior thought to program design! 

I had not appreciated the marked difference in speed between PB and JB, though for me this is not important. My goal is 'simply' to get something working which is stable that plays recognisable chess. This will be immensely satisfying for me and also a real challenge. It doesn't have to be very good and won't be...just as long as it works!  ... the only benchmark I have is that I want it eventually to be able to beat my CC3! (or if I'm feeling ambitious, my CC10 ! )

In terms of the program to date, after 7 months at it - I have about 1500 lines of 'messy' code but something that observes all chess rules (except so far for underpromotion and 50  move rule). Ok so it currently only looks 1 ply ahead but at least that 1 ply now includes only legal moves! 

Best wishes


Chris



Later, I duly timed the Power Basic program and found out the difference was even greater: PB was more than 100 times faster than JB.

I couldn't agree more with you about how satisfying it is to make a working program. I don't want to discourage you, but I found the move generator the most tedious part to do I actually never finished that part.

But I'm almost sure if you have made a program that plays a very poor game even if you give it a minute per move. you'll turn to a faster compiler!

Anyway, good luck!

tom
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