Fidelity Chess Challenger Computer program ?

Clarsen

Is there a web implementation of the Fidelity Chess Challenger?

If not, is there any software code available?

I ask because had a Fidelity Chess Challenger in 1979, and used it frequently until it bugged out in 1984 and got tossed. Sadly I dont know the version, as there were at least ten, from ELO 800- >2000 probably at that time. But, still I imagine that many of us had a FCC too,and wonder after playing for years, where it stands in terms of strength. Memory can fool us. It would be fun to play it again.

I do not need more stuff though. Also not interested in reasons why this should not be done, is dumb, or could just be accomplished by getting a used device. Thats not the point. Yes it is still possible to purchase the device, used on eBay. But realistically, you played against a program- Ron Nelsons software built partly on Altair I gather. It stands nearly toe to toe with Steve Wozniak's Apple I in terms of technical advance. I would imagine that the logic was also the basis of other evolutions of product in other devices, and those implentations are also of interest. You can imagine the logic lives as a phylogeny of life, a tree of code, one derived from another, until Stockfish for example, each more impressive than the last.

The Fidelity Chess Challenger device had no idea where the pieces were on the board, except via history. That is, there are no unique chip sensors in each piece. That was the myth and magic. You could believe you were playing against a device that "knew" where they were, almost human. But it had a history that it held in memory. So, if you made a wrong move, or even en passant, it would frequently ERR and you would have to stop. The move tree would then have a flaw and couldn't proceed programmaticaly. Nonetheless despite the flaws it was groundbreaking, the first commercial device of its kind, and beatable by regular players. I liked it a lot.

Today I seek the ghost of this machine. The first modern program with legitimate skills. The physical embodiment of the device was nice, but realistically the software program, as implemented on the web somewhere, would be awesome historically, and widely distributable to the world. I cannot find any version of it online however, without getting into a mess of emulators, forums, and backporting old drivers on new hardware. It's a morass to figure out. It seems insurmountable. But there are better coders than I out there. The spirit must have been captured, and archived somewhere. So I open the question here.

This call is an open post to port the programs FCC1-10, and X, to Javascript, wherever they may be. Sadly I might not be able to do it myself, and am considering organizing an effort to do so publically. It could then be dropped into a web portal, and playable by anyone. If there is a link to that, and it exists already as a code repo, or a binary, then even better. The logic could be rewritten. While fixing the flaws would be another level of effort, and would ruin the historic nature of it, thats part of the gestalt of this effort.

What's out there? How can it be moved forward? Can Fidelity Chess Challenger 1-10 be placed in a web page? Are there other historic ones that were derived from FCC that are available?

Thanks!

thebioguy

I believe the later Fidelity systems (1980 and beyond) were using the Sargon program written by Kathe and Dan Spraklen. The original Sargon was written in assembly, so I don't think a simple port would be possible.

Clarsen

Interesting, thanks !!

TracySMiller

There is a wonderful emulator called CB Emu which emulates hundreds of the old dedicated chess computers of the 70's through the 90's. Included are pretty much all of the many Fidelity units. Created by Franz Huber. You can get it here: https://fhub.jimdofree.com/. If you have any questions about how to use it, feel free to ask. I've played with dozens of these chess computers, and it's fantastic fun.

EscherehcsE
TracySMiller wrote:

There is a wonderful emulator called CB Emu which emulates hundreds of the old dedicated chess computers of the 70's through the 90's. Included are pretty much all of the many Fidelity units. Created by Franz Huber. You can get it here: https://fhub.jimdofree.com/. If you have any questions about how to use it, feel free to ask. I've played with dozens of these chess computers, and it's fantastic fun.

I agree, the CB-Emu emulator is very nice. While on that web site, readers might also want to check out the Chess-DOS-VirtualMachine, which has 10 classic chess programs from the days of DOS. (OK, you might as well download the Tasc-Emu emulator while you're at it. :-))