The Ghost In The Chess Machine

The Ghost In The Chess Machine

A-Jenery
Oct 22, 2007, 12:00 AM |
13 | Fun & Trivia

 

In the very early 1990's I landed myself a job as an electronic games demonstrator in a well known London store for a company that held a concession there at the time. 
Both a chess and electronic gadget addict, I was in for a mild surprise when on my first day I encountered the now legendery Chesster Phantom 6126 chess computer playing against itself - and moving for itself, right there on the counter as shoppers from all over the world looked on and babbled in mild amusement and disbelief. 
The rest of that first day was partly spent reading through the in-box instruction mannual, which is how I discovered the no doubt obvious secret of the magnetic armature controlled by a small computerised motor that was doing all the fancy work.  As a serious chess computer it wasn't maybe the strongest, with a rating of maximum 1800 I think, or as I recall, but it still managed to give a good game and would hold its own against average players.  But this was a minor defecit, considering what was happenning right there and then infront of everyone, and needless to say a fair number of units were sold. 

All I knew was, that I had to have one!  I couldn't afford the all-out purchase price, even with commission earnings, but luckilly managed a monthly payment arrangement with the concession holder.  I will never forget playing against it; often in the dead of night with just a side-light on, which sometimes produced a very eerie effect to say the least.  I no longer have the Phantom, but it was fun playing against it at the time.  The image is from a scan of an old polaroid. 

 


More from A-Jenery
A Short History of Computer Chess

A Short History of Computer Chess

It can happen to any chess player...

It can happen to any chess player...