In the days before everyone had computers, if you wanted to play chess, your only option was to play with another person. In the late 1970's Fidelity introduced a series of electronic computer chess games. These early models played rather poorly, but I knew people who bought them just to be able to play and practice whenever they wanted. I managed to borrow a few of these so that I could get a feel for how well they played.
Although the early machines did not play well, things started to improve in the 1980s. There was a golden age of dedicated chess computers that went from 1983 to about 1993. In 1984, I purchased the Novag Super Constellation electronic chess game for what I think was $200, which was quite a bit of money in 1984. The U.S. Chess Federation had given it a rating of 2018, which is better than at least 90% of all adult tournament players. Any rating between 2000 and 2199 is considered to be the skill level of "Expert" and a higher rating of 2200 is considered to be "Master."
Although I am currently rated 2016, at the time I bought the
Novag Super Constellation I was rated just a little over 1700. In a few months, I would reach a rating of 1800 which is considered to be "Class A." Nevertheless, what I remember about the Novag Super Constellation is that it played better than me, which is surprising since it only contains an 8-bit processor running at just 4 MHZ. That is not very fast compared to modern 64-bit processors with multiple cores running at gigahertz speeds.
Over time, I bought a couple of better chess-playing computers and I have fond memories of practicing with all of them. I sold all these machines when I got a desktop computer in the mid-'90s, but I kind of regret it because they all were fun to play with it.
This became an issue when I was researching these old chess-playing computers where I saw many online claims that these computers were not as good as the ratings that had been assigned to them. For example, I saw the claim that the Novag Super Constellation was only about 1750 strength, and two other computers that I owned rated 2100 and 2265 were also claimed to be weaker than their advertised ratings. None of these claims match my experience, since all of the computers played better than I did.
I was so curious about this that I wanted to get my hands on one of the old chess computers, assuming that one can be found, however unlikely, and see how it compares to my current chess ability. Fortunately, I found software that allows me to emulate dozens of old chess computers on my Windows PC.
In my first game against the emulated Novag Super Constellation on level 1, the lowest level, I was able to win by only the slimmest of margins. I tried the same thing on the Fidelity Designer 2100, a slightly better machine, and I lost. I have no doubt that the other computer I owned, the stronger Fidelity Designer 2265, would stomp me like it used to when I played it 30 years ago. I will confirm this eventually.
So I tested a variety of chess computers with a somewhat difficult chess problem..
Based upon my testing, this is how long various chess computers take to solve this chess problem...
It is noteworthy that the Super Constellation solved the problem in roughly 2 minutes, which is within tournament time controls. I am disappointed in Chessmaster on the Super Nintendo because it failed to achieve this. It is running on a similar processor, and it is a port of Chessmaster 2000 written by Dave Kittinger, who also wrote the Super Constellation program!
* The second version of the Constellation 3.6 solves this problem on its top two tournament levels, but the first version moves too quickly to see the answer. It can only solve the problem on its infinite level, even though it takes about the same amount of time to see the solution. The second ROM set is based upon the Novag Expert program.Super Constellation game #1.
Nevertheless, reaching 3000 took a great deal of effort.
The site presents chess problems that have difficulty proportional to your current puzzle rating. I have reached a point where I am almost as likely to fail as I am to succeed. I find that I am not analyzing as well as I should so I am trying to make myself focus deeper. The casual puzzle solver will look for what the "trick" is in the position and make a move without thinking about it too hard. However, I can no longer just make cursory judgments.
A chess master in Salt Lake City that I know has been in the 3070 to 3100 range. I would like to catch up with him.
It would drive me crazy not knowing what my opponent has. I would have to play the odds, but if I always did that then I would be predictable.
I know banning Karjakin from playing in FIDE events is currently for 6 months. I don't like that he will be unable to play in the candidates tournament. Organizations who set up international events should not be involved with politics. After all, isn't this the 21st century?
[White "Bill Starr"]
[Black "John Coffey"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. d4 dxe4 5. Ne5 Nxe5 6. dxe5 Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 Bg4+
8. Be2 Bxe2+ 9. Kxe2 O-O-O 10. Be3 e6 11. Nd2 f5 12. exf6 Nxf6 13. Bg5 Be7 14.
Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nxe4 Rhg8 16. g3 f5 17. Nd2 e5 18. c4 e4 19. f3 Bf6 20. Rab1
exf3+ 21. Nxf3 Rge8+ 22. Kf2 Bd4+ 23. Nxd4 Rxd4 24. Rhe1 Rd2+ 25. Kg1 Rxe1+ 26.
Rxe1 Rxb2 27. Re5 Rxa2 28. Rxc5+ Kd7 29. Rxf5 h6 30. Rf7+ Kc8 31. Rf6 Ra6 32.
Rxa6 bxa6 33. Kf1 Kd7 34. h4 a5 35. Ke1 h5 36. Kd1 Kc6 37. Kc2 Kc5 38. Kc3 a4
39. g4 hxg4 40. h5 g3 41. h6 g2 42. h7 g1=Q 43. h8=Q Qa1+ 44. Kc2 Qxh8 45. Kb1
Qc3 46. Ka2 a3 47. Kb1 Qb2# 0-1
[Site "Columbus Chess Club"]
[Date "Mar 10, 2022"]
[White "John Coffey"]
[Black "John Tasca"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 cxd4 6. Qxd4?! exd5 7. Bg5 Be6 8.
e4 Nc6 9. Bb5 Be7 10. e5 Nd7 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. O-O O-O 14. Rfe1
Rfc8 15. b4 a6 16. Rac1 Rc7 17. Na4 Rb8 18. Nc5 Nxc5 19. Rxc5 Qd7 20. Rec1 Bg4
21. Nd2 Kf8 22. Nb3 Qe8 23. Na5 Bd7 24. Qc3 Rbc8 25. a4 h6 26. b5 axb5 27. axb5