Cool ebay find

TakeThisPawn

A pocket chess computer. I think it was made in 1989. Still works great.

"Your CXG Sphinx Chess Card is an ideal opponent. It is ready to play you at any time, as often as you like, at whatever level of skill you choose. Its small size makes it especially suitable for use on a journey in conjunction with a traveling chess set.

The CXG Sphinx Chess Card has 64 different levels. On level 1 it takes an average of 5 seconds per move. On higher levels it takes more time and its playing strength is correspondingly increased; the average for level 64 is 20 to 25 seconds per move.

The CXG Sphinx Chess Card lets you Setup and Verify positions. It also you to save a game, which it will keep in memory until the next time you switch on again




Difster

That's pretty cool! I don't suppose it's got a very strong chess engine in it, but still, it would be nice to have around.

sound67

No, it's not very strong: CXG reused an old programme by David Levy and Mark Taylor [Levy didn't actually program any of it himself, but acted as advisor]. CXG were very "versatile" in using a few engines over and over in different models. This one rates ELO 929! wink.png

TakeThisPawn
@sound67 Interesting. Thanks for the info. How do you know so much about it? I tried to find info online and only got that quote in the op. I actually thought it would be like a portable dgt board but it’s really just a cheap disk set and you have to input all the moves. It was made 30 years ago. I only paid 10 bucks for it. So it makes sense.

I’ve noticed most of these vintage chess computers are pretty cheap. Im guessing chess collectors aren’t interested in them maybe because they were so mass produced or the engine is so weak.
sound67

The ones made from plastic are cheap, even the stronger ones [I just spotted a Mephisto Chess Challenger tuned to 32MHz, which is rated about ELO 2100 yesterday for under US$40]. The ones made from wood sometimes fetch premium prices, especially latter-day Mephisto boards with the Richard Lang engine still used today in the Millennium Chess Genius (Pro) micro chess computers. Those are often sold well above US$1,000. My old Fidelity Elite A/S Budapest is being sold by a vendor for US$1,450, which I find excessive. Even the weakest engines packed into wooden boards, like the Mephisto ESB III, usually sell for US$300 and more.

I grew up with these machines, as no one in my family and none of my friends played chess while I was learning the fundamentals. In fact, at the moment, I'm trying to re-collect some of the books on vintage chess computers from the time when I started out [around 1979). wink.png



m_connors

Cool. Never thought of checking eBay for anything like that.

Killingfloor

I am currently selling my Saitek Electronic Chess - Kasparov Executive on eBay for $45. It has a strong engine and is in very good condition.

chessroboto

Congrats. I own one, too. The novelty is in the fact that you have a chess computer “the size of a credit card.” Other novelties are chess computer/calculator and LCD chess computer/keychain, two practical items geeked out by technology. 

EDIT: Added pics of other novelties



TakeThisPawn

Do you happen to have an instructional manual? No idea how to work the damn thing.

chessroboto

I found mine online. A quick search will lead you to a PDF that you can download and print.

TakeThisPawn

Thanks. Cool collection there you have. 

chessroboto

Know this: the LCD of chess computers are the first to break. I do not know how, but the screens with the full boards do not last regardless if they’re made by Excalibur or Saitek. Fortunately the LCD with just letters and numbers like the screen on the chess calculator, which I actually use at work, are more impervious.

TakeThisPawn

How strong is the engine on the chess calculator?

TakeThisPawn

John bartholomews first opponent was a chess computer and it still works fine.

 

chessroboto
sound67 wrote:

In fact, at the moment, I'm trying to re-collect some of the books on vintage chess computers from the time when I started out [around 1979).

What information are in these types of books on dedicated chess computers? A part of me feels that they were glorified product catalogs.

I got this book because it has a full listing of its program although there are no pieces for bishops due to the limits of the technology in the 70s.  This was the only way to get homebrew freeware at the time: print the source code and sell them in books or magazines.

Eventually the academe would publish the latest coding techniques for a decade into the Advances in Computer Chess series (damn expensive):

bonebroth

ah the days when chess first went wrong

chessroboto
TakeThisPawn wrote:

John bartholomews first opponent was a chess computer and it still works fine.

The LCD screen does not have the whole 8x8 board, so it is tougher and industry-perfected by the time the chess computer was manufactured. 

The issue with sensory chess computers is the board itself. The adhesive under the printed board will eventually fail and you might notice less sensitivity when pressing down on the squares, especially the e4-e5-d4-d5 squares.

chessroboto
TakeThisPawn wrote:

How strong is the engine on the chess calculator?

1300 USCF

http://www.spacious-mind.com/html/calculator_chess.html

TakeThisPawn

Wow you guys really know your chess computers. Thanks for all the info.

chessroboto

No, the Internet knows our chess computers really well. I can only speak for a handful out of personal experience. There are some hard-core chess computer collectors out there. Would you like to live like this:

https://youtu.be/ksbjQzsybGw

Literally every space in his home is used to store his collection.