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Reflections On Chess Computers...and Chess Engines

Mar 7, 2013, 2:25 PM 0

When I was  younger man and earning the great game of chess in my Home town of KC MO. there was a great place where I learned a lot about chess and life (The Chess House) The Chess House was originally owned by the late great Jack Winters (A fantastic gambit expert, a bit of a rougue and a excellent blitz player and odds chess players and smoker and gambler at chess.....Later on Don Oswald (R.I.P) bought the Chess House from Don Oswald and at some point closed the Main street location and moved it to his home in a quiet suburb in town. On many occasions we would talk about chess and life and strong and not so strong players would drop by and play chess or talk and I would hang out and soak in all of their tales and watch their play and sometimes play them. The bookstore was moved into his downstairs and the large area was full of books and sets and chess equipment.....it was there that I first saw one of the original "chess computers" Fidelity 4 or 5 I don't recall......later on Mephisto and Saitek arrived at the chess house and myself and other chess players would spend hours playing or watching Don Oswald demonstrate the merits of each individual machine to prospective customers as they came by. The original prices were quite high for a young teenager like I was then but many people came in and promply bought one of the machines to play them at home....soon Oswald could not keep them in stock fast enough! Soon there were tons of new machines on the market, Fidelity, Saitek, Mephisto, Novag, etc....which one was the best? Players of the day myself included used to have heated debates about the merits or this machine over that machine as far as overall strength. Many chess players did not believe in using chess computers at all then and many today still have a aversion to using them in the present day. Back then you had players that swore Saitek or Fidelity or Mephisto was the best....I myself fell in love with the Novag series and saved and saved and finally bought a Novag constellation expert (Wood) that I kept for many years and played a quite strong game of 2100-2200 level chess until I sold it on ebay a while back for a good sum of money....my model had a electronic clock attachment and other nice options and was great for tournament preparation and not overly strong like many of todays chess computers and chess engines......Today we have come such a long way it seems......we have gone from that first fidelity computer series to Deep Blue to Chessmaster and Fritz and Now to the current era where there are literally hundreds and thousands of chess computers software, hardware options....GUI's UCI's Houdini vs Rybka  Hiarcs 13 or Junior 13? Deep Fritz or  Shredder? Arena vs Fritz? Chessbase vs Chess Assistant? The possiblities are endless and that is why I thing we have entered some new "Golden Age" of chess  with the Computer programmers and the bright minds of design pushing the ancient game forward....It is truly a great time to be a chessplayer and there will be many innovations and suprises in store for all of us in the days weeks months and years ahead as technology pushes chess ever more forward!!

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