24/02/2015

The Chessman II

by Rob on

Yesterday evening I had to pick something from one of the closets in my bedroom. A box on the bottom of the closet suddenly grapped my attention…

Smiling I realized it was my old chess computer, the Chessman II. Good memories about that computer. I bought that computer in 1986, the same year it was published to the market. And it was for that time a very big investment for me to buy it. I practised a lot on it in the past.

I picked up the box and started to wonder if it would still work. After all the machine was 29 years old. I placed 6 penlight batteries and to my surprise some leds turned on and a loud “pling” sounded. It looked like the chess computer was still fully functional.

When I placed all the pieces on the board, I noticed one black pawn was missing. For now I am using a pawn from another chess set I own. But I will try to find another (second-hand) Chessman II to complete all the chess pieces again. If that is not succesful I will buy a set of small Staunton pieces (those are not that expensive).

As said, the chess computer is fully functional, although some of the sensors in the chess board are reacting not very smoothly anymore. They still work and that is what counts.

I can remember from way back that the first three levels were easy. If I didn’t make any mistakes, I would win from the chess computer.
The next three levels were harder. I really had to watch what I was doing.
And in the highest level I had met my master. The computer was too strong for me back then.

The thing is when playing chess to a human, you will take advantage of mistakes and of things that are overlooked. A well programmed and good functioning chess computer doesn’t make mistakes and it doesn’t overlook things on the board. And that makes it a very though opponent. And what makes it even worse, chess computers are very fast and it can be annoying that you need a lot more time (and still make mistakes).

It is kinda sad that the age of the chess computers is gone. They had to make place to chess applications and apps for all kind of modern devices. Maybe it is because of that it is very nice to have a fully operational chess computer of almost 30 years old.

Anyway, when I have time I will try and see how good I am doing now against the Chessman II. Starting on the lowest level and slowly up. It will be fun.


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