This is going to be a lot less interesting than one might hope, sorry to say.
The "fun" part was figuring out how to set this up on my TV so that I could take cool simultaneous screen shots. See, I've got a wide screen and it lets me view two channels at the same time. That way I could take side by side pictures of both boards. I nearly had a solution that would have only required purchasing an RF to coax adaptor when I realized that, of course, my wife had the camera in Florida with her and the kids this week. This led me to the solution I used, which was far less elegant, but didn't involve having to leave my house and purchase anything. Basically, I used one RF switch box hooked up to a VCR hooked up to a monitor. The consoles hooked to the RF switch by going through a multi-channel switcher that I had stopped using once I had gotten a decent S-Video switch box. Unfortunately the multi-channel was only good if there was only one system on at a time. The two systems generated a lot of interference for each other that caused both boards to look like a good, old-fashioned RF interference moiré-lined mess. I couldn't look at it very long; made me feel a little sick, this partially contributed to not putting both of the systems through all of their paces.
Okay, on with the vs.
As far as I can tell, the Fairchild chess program Schach only has one skill level. The trouble here is that even if someone had put the instructions online, they'd be in German, wouldn't they? Anyway, I've never found them online so the point is moot. I did discover another feature of the Fairchild; if you're in the middle of a move that you're not sure what to do, you can have it make "the best move" for you. Just thought that was cool.
The Fairchild program doesn't seem to have an option for playing either side. You play White. Period. Atari has the option of switching the board up so that it plays white. So that's what I did. Consequently, Atari always gets the first move.
On Fairchild's only skill level it can beat Atari at its lowest skill level: the beginner game on game 8. It isn't a very exciting game and Fairchild doesn't win because it makes great moves, but only because Atari seems to play "safe" as one would expect from a beginner mode.
Fairchild "stalemates" with Atari on its game 1. In fact, both players beat each other down to a King, Rook, opposite Bishops and five blocked pawns each before getting caught in the stalemate.
Now when I say "stalemates" I mean a situation sets up where both programs make the same set of 6 or so moves, over and over and over again. It's like a feedback loop that neither one of them can break out of. If either one of them were programmed to be creative at this point it wouldn't have been so bad, but both wouldn't budge from their attempts to convert the board based on the one plan each of them had. It was very frustrating and dull to watch. After three iterations of it I finally had to go in and kick Atari's ass with some unconventional "human" moves. (I drew it out of its pattern by aggressively moving my king around, killing pawns and talking smack; something Fairchild wasn't programmed to do)
Anyway, after that little experiment I was left with no energy or enthusiasm to continue the experiment. It's just not that fun to be the lackey that sits there, switching between programs and duplicating each machine's move. It's like playing chess by myself but having no say in what moves are made. Dull, dull, dull.
The machines are still set up for play. I may do one more game between Atari game 2 and Fairchild's one and only. I foresee a victory for Atari.
Next entry we're going to try comparing Atari's Basic Programming with Odyssey^2's Computer Intro.