Chess computers...Does anyone use them anymore?

Rubicon0367
I also have the Kasparov Astral that on paper out specs the Saitek/RadioShack however the Kasparov takes 4 AA batteries, not 6 C sized - another curiosity.
Ekrabin

The company Saitek made them both

 

Rubicon0367
Ok, thanks. I thought maybe Saitek had sold the rights and tooling to RadioShack to manufacture their own version.

Were Systema and Millennium both the same company? Some of their units share the same shell and appear to have the same algorithm just differing options.

I am aware Spacious Minds has an interesting website on retro chess computers - where can I find information on who owned who and who rebadged what?
sound67

The most extensive information on all manufacturers and their models (and which models contained the same engines) can be found on a German homepage:

https://www.schach-computer.info/wiki/index.php/Hersteller

Rubicon0367
Thank you. Systema is not listed but still immensely interesting.
Ekrabin

I wish I kept the chess life magazines from the 1980's for the dedicated computer ads, and their claims lol. The US Chess Federation made alot of money selling them.

sound67
Rubicon0367 hat geschrieben:
Thank you. Systema is not listed but still immensely interesting.

From the Spacious Mind homepage it appears that they only re-branded other computers, like e.g. the Systema Challenge, aka the Krypton Challenge: http://www.spacious-mind.com/html/challenge.html - which, in turn, was a 100% clone of the CXG Sphinx Legend (https://www.schach-computer.info/wiki/index.php?title=CXG_Sphinx_Legend).

One of the major characteristic in the product policies of all big brands (Saitek, Fidelity, Mephisto, Excalibur) was the the "self-cannibalization" - using the same engine over and over and over in "different" computers, sometimes for DECADES (e.g. Ron Nelson's original engine for Fidelity's Chess Challenger 8 of 1980 was reused until the mid-2000s by Excalibur). 

I think this lack of real development by the late 1990s also contributed to the demise of dedicated chess computers.

Ekrabin

I can say for a fact that mephisto dedicated computers did not use the same Richard Lang program year after year

sound67

That's true for the "flagship" machines, but not of the medium range. After Saitek took over Mephisto, there was no development anymore.

Ekrabin

Yes sound67 I was referring to the heyday of 1985-1991

Rubicon0367
On Millennium’s website under ChessGenius Pro tab
https://computerchess.com/chessgenius-pro/
Under “The Software ChessGenius” tab, it talks about the Exclusive (for some reason) and mentions Richard Lang’s ChessGenius engine attaining a tournament win in 1994.

So is Millennium using an old engine unmodified in its new range of computers?
sound67
Rubicon0367 hat geschrieben:
On Millennium’s website under ChessGenius Pro tab
https://computerchess.com/chessgenius-pro/
Under “The Software ChessGenius” tab, it talks about the Exclusive (for some reason) and mentions Richard Lang’s ChessGenius engine attaining a tournament win in 1994.

So is Millennium using an old engine unmodified in its new range of computers?

Could well be Lang's 1994 PC engine "Genius", adapted to an ARM CPU. The levels are different though. 

Rubicon0367
“Rubicon0367 hat geschrieben:
Some might argue that Millennium were and are flogging a dead horse. It is hard to imagine they are making huge profits on the venture.


Sound67: A German blog by an actual vendor for chess material is making the same point (you can translate it with deepl): https://schach.computer/the-king-performance-schachcomputer/ “

I used Google Translate in the end.

It has been a learning curve and I thank the contributors for deepening my understanding of my retro chess computer collection.

Thank you.
Rubicon0367
Sound67:
Could well be Lang's 1994 PC engine "Genius", adapted to an ARM CPU. The levels are different though.

It just took me by surprise. The article is right though, the general public isn’t going to know or care.

Thanks to you especially Sound67 for enlightening me on this fascinating topic.
1_a31-0

yes 

Ekrabin

I will speculate that the Millennium dedicated computers are using old parts left over from the past 

Rubicon0367
They could advertise their computers are good for the environment if they were.

Joking aside, design wise, I do not understand the need for them to use the now outdated piezo buzzer on their King Performance when we are in the age of affordable micro speakers - of which the latter would create a much warmer lower toned sound.
Rubicon0367

I'll just drop these two links here:

Chess House does a quick review of the Millennium King Performance.  Notice the absence of the piezo buzzer heard in earlier videos.   https://youtu.be/W3b5v1hOW8I

In case anyone is interested, an old video from John Batholomew (IM) who demonstrates his Excalibur chess computer he used early in his chess journey.  In the video, for the sakes of brevity, he uses an easy level which does not really do the computer justice.    https://youtu.be/b59-NaWOmtg

sound67

It looks like a promising machine, and you can easily replace the fairly dull pieces with any other set, since it's pressure-sensitive. I'm still a bit disappointed that they didn't upgrade the hardware (CPU).

Rubicon0367
sound67 wrote:

It looks like a promising machine, and you can easily replace the fairly dull pieces with any other set, since it's pressure-sensitive. I'm still a bit disappointed that they didn't upgrade the hardware (CPU).

 

Indeed, I should be able to use the nice chess set I bought originally for the Citrine assuming the scale is approximately the same.

For my meagre playing ability I do not anticipate the CPU being an issue.  I think the "more human-like play" would be more important to me.  It is a promise that is often made and seldom delivered convincingly.

I am not that keen on the brass plate they have on the nearside of the board  but that is more to do with association with stuff I have seen and owned having brass plating being cheap and tacky.  I am also perplexed about the choice of the USB-B socket on the back as even Casio and Yamaha have learned to leave those behind.  Neither of those two things are deal breakers though.

The problem is I already own chess computers with pressure sensitive boards that are strong enough to defeat me.  I am still interested though because it can actually play 960 with castling rights but mostly I am interested because it is Millennium and the brand has special relevance for me.  I'll keep my eye on the reviews for now.