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It bothers me that the Mephisto Master chess computer is the strongest dedicated computer you can get anymore. I have one and I'm disappointed in its play even on its highest levels, I win more than I should. I have an old Novag Sapphire that beats it most of the time. If you do any searches for the Mephisto Berlin Pro, or Montreaux or the RISC 2500, not to mention the TASC computer you won't find them anywhere and if you do it will cost a fortune. This tells me that any company that wanted to build a true master level (stronger than Mephisto Master) chess computer, they would likely sell quite a few. The Mephisto Master isn't anywhere near master level. It might make a low expert, but I doubt it. Processors and software have advanced enough over the last 10 years that a 2400 plus dedicated computer should be no big problem.
Hardware just ain't the way to go anymore, it seems - though I do own a nice Novag Super Expert with magnetic reed relay activating pieces. Computers are ubiquitous and great software is very, very cheap. I think the day of the dinosaurs (dedicated chess hardware) is gone.
Also you can get strong chess apps on yor phone these days. There is not really a market for the classic chess computers anymore. That's probably why the ones you do find are expensive.
Dedicated chess computers have lost much of their utility these days so I'm not surprised that the offerings are relatively few. I would expect that they'd be all very strong though, so I am with you there. My Zire 21 is old but running current free chess apps it is a little monster, so I wonder what the advantage is making weak hardware. Maybe my old and slow hardware did play a more convincing lower level game--I don't know.
Nowadays, people can get a game from their phones, pdas, laptops. All very portable like the old dedicateds.
I love dedicated computers and miss the era. Being away from chess for a decade, I returned to see that software had taken over.
The old Mephisto quality cannot be beat. So much so, is the opinion of some, that Ruud Martin worked on the module to be able to play the highest levels of computer chess on them. Have you seen his website? Phoenix Chess Systems. The module is expensive (1999 Euros) but plays top level chess through the Mephisto Exlusive wooden boards (he's also come out with a new board). This tells me that people still love playing on a dedicated computer. I dislike playing on my laptop, though I don't think I will ever encounter your problem of being able to win more games than I lose against a dedicated computer. My interest in obtaining the Resurrection system for my Mephisto exclusive is to see the beauty of such high level chess, and running games through it. If not mistaken, Ruud is a club level player, so it wasn't about beating a level this high, but for the beauty and enjoyment of such incredibly high chess.
By the way, those you mentioned are expensive as they are so well made...not the cheap, brittle plastic common today.
Dedicated computers have a place in chess. For tournament training nothing beats sitting before a chess board with chess pieces. I use the Grandmaster Excalibur with a USCF size board and pieces. It's just like playing a real game. If you play against a two dimensional computer screen the eye is trained to see the board differently and when you play a live game with a chess board and pieces you will often miss something or find that you can't look as far ahead.
I love the dedicated chess computers. It's probably a nostagic thing going back to when I got my Fidelity chess Challenger 10 way back in 1979. Since those heady days I have found that some models are harder to defeat even when they have a lower rating, and this is mainly due to their style of play. Richard Langs' Novag programs are always challenging.
A simple technique to create a more challenging game is to play a dubious opening such as the crab, or the creepy crawly etc., or in extreme cases just sacrifice a piece. I have often just given the computer extra moves by playing moves such as 1...Nf6, 2...Ng8.
Maybe why some higher rated dedicated machines don't play a challenging games is due to the fact that these programs were originally written for the much faster processors in PCs. I believe the Mephisto Master is an old version of Fritz and runs at much slower speeds than originally intended.
I'm new to Chess.com, so I've just starting exploring as time allows. This thread caught my interest as you seem to share the pleasure I've had with my dedicated chess computer when I can't play a person. I have a Saitek Chess Academy (doesn't say Mephisto, so came out after Saitek acquired them). It recently developed a problem that is making it an ornament .. the sensors on G5 through G8 aren't working. Otherwise it's in perfect condition and have always enjoyed it. I'd like to get it fixed if that's possible, but haven't had any luck finding anyone to do it .. or some guidance on how to do it myself, if possible. Any ideas?
If it uses Reed switches beneath the squares they are known to go bad. Do some Google research on your computer and see if that's the case. If so, then you can fix your board with relative ease. New switches can be found in online electronics stores and they are very cheap. All you have to do is clip the old ones and solder the new ones onto the existing leads. If you are not handy at this sort of thing then a general electronics repair place can do this for you. Good luck.
I'm with you 100%
I have a solution though. I'm sure there's a few folks on chess.com that are geeky enough to replace the chip in one of those bad boys with something worth playing. A DIY for the rest of us. Kickstart it, 10 bucks a pop.
Thanks very much! I'll take a look. It would be nice to get it going again.
When I play a long match (45+ minutes) on my PC I set up my chessboard and play with it, like playing with an electronic board.
I have chessmaster for nintendo ds. It's a dedicated chess computer while the cartridge is in it. I understand it's top playing strength is only around 2200 though, unlike chessmaster on pc which is 2650. The little nintendo handheld game should be strong enough for masters to have a good game against.
strong dedicated chess computers may make a comeback soon as computers are all moving to solid state again now the technology is so incredibly fast. the good old days just may come back but 1000000 fold :)
I certainly hope so. There is nothing like the feel of the chess pieces in your hand.
I love playing on dedicated units as well. I am going to try and win a wood mephisto on ebay. Are the cartridges upgradable? In other words, can I replace an Amsterdam with a Vancouver for instance? Maybe I should just get a Resurrection.
FM, I'm not sure about the cartridges. It may take you awhile to find one since nobody is making chess computers anymore (except for the big expensive wooden USB ones0. I was looking recently and there weren't that many for sale. A lot of very old ones and a lot of Radio Shack ones.
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