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Video Chess level 7

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I have to wonder, has anyone ever played a full game of Video Chess on level 7? If so, how many of these freaks are there and how long did their games last?

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Atari Video Chess moves pieces around the board somewhat arbitrarily at the higher levels, in a fashion not bound by any normal rules of chess. It is thus not possible to really play a game in the normal sense.

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Atari Video Chess moves pieces around the board somewhat arbitrarily at the higher levels, in a fashion not bound by any normal rules of chess. It is thus not possible to really play a game in the normal sense.

How does the game generally differ from ordinary chess at those levels?

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Atari Video Chess moves pieces around the board somewhat arbitrarily at the higher levels, in a fashion not bound by any normal rules of chess. It is thus not possible to really play a game in the normal sense.

How does the game generally differ from ordinary chess at those levels?

 

It's pretty well known that Video Chess can make some illegal moves in the higher levels. Or rather, pieces get put in the wrong place whenever the board gets re-drawn. So it really throws everything off :lol:

 

There have been some threads in the past about how long a game on level 7 would be.. like this one maybe http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11002

 

Actually I just looked at that thread and at the end it pointed to another one which looks like it actually has a complete game. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php...d=1#post2653328

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Thanks for the links, NE146, cool stuff, but I was really wondering about human players trying to beat the VCS on level 7; are there any accounts of that?

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Thanks for the links, NE146, cool stuff, but I was really wondering about human players trying to beat the VCS on level 7; are there any accounts of that?

 

What would be the point? Make a move, come back 12 hours later, and find out that some of the pieces are no longer where they're supposed to be. Even if one were to reset after each turn all the pieces except the last one the computer seems to have chosen for its "move", the move may well have been chosen based upon incorrect positions for some of the pieces and may not make any sense (or even be legal, for that matter) with the pieces in their correct spots. Simply put, although the computer may spend more time "thinking" at higher levels, it is less capable of playing a coherent game.

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What would be the point? Make a move, come back 12 hours later, and find out that some of the pieces are no longer where they're supposed to be

lol :D

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I wonder if, with a powerful enough PC and a hacked emulator if you could make the 2600 emulator run Chess at a faster speed than the real hardware? It wouldn't accomplish anything except faster plays from the 2600 of course, but I've heard people complain about the 2600 being too slow to play against at higher levels.

 

What is the highest level at which Video Chess is known to play an actual playable game? Just curious. I'm not a chess player, so the 2600 can probably beat me on level 1 anyway.

 

Has anybody written a better chess engine for the 2600 or fixed the original one?

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Has anybody written a better chess engine for the 2600 or fixed the original one?

Hmmm, there's an interesting idea for a new homebrew project. How about a SuperChip 32K chess game? I bet the algorithm could be improved considerably. :)

 

..Al

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Has anybody written a better chess engine for the 2600 or fixed the original one?

Hmmm, there's an interesting idea for a new homebrew project. How about a SuperChip 32K chess game? I bet the algorithm could be improved considerably. :)

 

..Al

I always thought something like a chess or card game would be good for a begginer to start with. I really have no idea if that would be an easier project then a normal shooter/action/etc.. just seems like it would be :?

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Hmmm, there's an interesting idea for a new homebrew project. How about a SuperChip 32K chess game? I bet the algorithm could be improved considerably. :)

 

I'm sure that adding some extra RAM and ROM would allow for a better chess game, but one would have to spend hundreds of hours of effort to still, at best, turn the 2600 into a rather mediocre chess player. When Atari's chess cartridge made its debut, it was cheaper than any other chess-playing machine on the market. Today, there are programs available free that are far better than anything the 2600 could dream of accomplishing even with a 70MHz ARM as a coprocessor.

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Yeah, I poked around with a better Chess a year or two ago, but didn't make much progress. More RAM would have been handy to let the VCS look further ahead when making moves. The biggest advantage I saw would be making the cart bankswitched and storing a 1-4k Opening Book in the extra ROM space - this would help the VCS get to a good early position instead of making haphazard moves at the start.

 

I think it would be a niche project that could benefit from a little redesign and expansion. Throwing a SuperChip and 32k at it probably approaches the Land of Diminishing Returns.

 

EDIT: There COULD be other neat features that would make it a worthwhile purhcase though - even if the chess engine is not so hot, I could imagine a VCS joystick-port network that would let two players battle it out, and it would be theoretically possible to route that online through a PC such that we'd have an online VCS board game.

 

Hmmm.... :ponder: ;)

Edited by Hornpipe2

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I'm sure that adding some extra RAM and ROM would allow for a better chess game, but one would have to spend hundreds of hours of effort to still, at best, turn the 2600 into a rather mediocre chess player. When Atari's chess cartridge made its debut, it was cheaper than any other chess-playing machine on the market. Today, there are programs available free that are far better than anything the 2600 could dream of accomplishing even with a 70MHz ARM as a coprocessor.

Yeah, I agree. It would be an interesting exercise perhaps for a chess fanatic who also happens to be a programmer as well as an Atari 2600 fan. But I doubt it would get much play given the multitude of other chess options, all of which would likely play a more challenging game. :)

 

..Al

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What is the highest level at which Video Chess is known to play an actual playable game? Just curious. I'm not a chess player, so the 2600 can probably beat me on level 1 anyway.

 

I believe it is level 5. (6 and 7 are bugged. 8, in Atari's infinite wisdom, is actually the easiest level)

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Being that chess games are available free, then there should be some kind of easy way to get a good algorithm to implement into a 2600 game.

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Being that chess games are available free, then there should be some kind of easy way to get a good algorithm to implement into a 2600 game.

 

Any good algorithm will require much more code, and much larger data tables, than would fit in 4K or even 64K. Further, a modern PC is over 1,000 times as fast as the 2600; a move that takes a second on the PC would take many minutes, if not hours, on the 2600.

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I used to play Video Chess quite often as a kid and it usually kicked my ass at anything over the first few levels. For a casual chess player, it's more than adequate even today. It does play a rather flat by-the-book style of chess. It doesn't make many bold or risky moves. I'd like to see some logs of people's games with it. I used to play it with a real chess board in sync for added clarity due to the low-contrast graphics and so I could study the board between moves.

Edited by mos6507

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It's been said before but it bears saying again. For what it is, 2600 Chess is actually a pretty amazing achievement. I mean it's amazing it even exists in the first place, and that it actually does as well as it does. :)

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Atari had no plans to release a chess game, but there was a picture on the heavy-sixer box. And some guy sued atari for product misrepresentation, so atari had to make the game.

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you can set the frame rate on stella in the video options, you can speed up some games from 60 fps to 300 fps. And your chess program will 'think' somewhat faster I would guess.

 

you can also play some games in slow-motion to great effect too by going down to 20 fps..! great fun!

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I don't think they had to make the chess game. When they settled the lawsuit they figured they would never make a chess game but ended up doing so a few years later. They talk about it in "Stella at 20."

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I was really wondering about human players trying to beat the VCS on level 7; are there any accounts of that?

 

I once played a full game against VCS on level 7 and won in 40 moves. The full game can be seen below (I played the white pieces). The VCS played strongly but conservatively. I didn't seize an advantage in material until move 35.

 

This game took place over the course of about a month in 1983. A typical day went like this:

  • Turn on TV in the morning. Atari still thinking.
  • Go to school all day.
  • Come home and check again. Atari has made a move. If I'm in check, it's buzzing and flashing.
  • Update my physical chess board and turn off TV.
  • Consider my next move for an hour or two.
  • Make my move and turn off TV for the night.

Usually it took the VCS longer than the advertised 10 hours for level 7. Sometimes it was shorter if there were a limited number of moves (i.e. Atari in check). On those days I could get two moves in.

 

I did not experience the bug where multiple pieces were moved on the same turn. I vaguely remember that happening to me once on level 6 though.

 

atari7.gif

 

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bb5 Nf6

4. O-O d6

5. Re1 Bg4

6. c3 Be7

7. d4 O-O

8. Qd3 Bxf3

9. Qxf3 Nd7

10. Qg4 a5

11. f4 Nf6

12. Qf3 Nd7

13. a4 Bf6

14. g4 exd4

15. g5 Be7

16. Bxc6 bxc6

17. cxd4 Re8

18. Nc3 Rb8

19. Ne2 c5

20. b3 cxd4

21. Nxd4 c6

22. Be3... (if 22. Nxc6, Qb6+ wins the knight)

22. ...Qc7

23. Nf5 Rxb3

24. Nxg7 Reb8 (if Kxg7, 25. Bd4+ wins the rook on b3)

25. Nf5 Nc5

26. Qh5 Bf8

27. Nh6+ Bxh6

28. Qxh6 Nxe4

29. Bd4 f5

30. gxf6 d5

31. Ra2 Qf7

32. Rg2+ Ng3

33. Re7 Rb1+

34. Kf2 Rf1+

35. Kxg3 Qg6+

36. Kh4 Rxf4+

37. Qxf4 Rc8

38. Qh6 Qg5+

39. Rxg5+ Kh8

40. f7#

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