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Video Chess, the First Chess Video Game?

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A discussion of old-school chess engines in a different thread reminded me of this one. Here's a win I had last year over Chessmaster for Game Gear, in which I botched a winning position horrendously but was eventually able to claw my way back to a win:

 

[Date "2018.08.20"]
[White "Game Gear Chessmaster, Level Infinite"]
[Black "the
goldenband"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. h3 e6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Nc3 h6 6. Bh4 c6 7. e3 Bb4 8. Bd3 Qa5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 Qxc3 11. Rb1 O-O 12. Bg3 Re8 13. Bd6 Qa5 14. Qc1 a6 15. Bb4 Qc7 16. Qa3 c5 17. Bc3 c4 18. Be2 Ne4 19. Rb4 b5 20. Bb2 Bb7 21. c3 Nd6 22. Ba1 f6 23. Nh4 e5 24. Nf3 e4 25. Nh4 g5 26. Ng6 Kg7 27. Bh5 Nf7 28. Rfb1 Nb6 29. R1b2 Red8 30. Qa5 Bc8 31. Ne7 Rd6 32. Nxc8 Qxc8 33. f3 f5 34. Qa3 Nd8 35. fxe4 Qe6 36. e5 Rc6 37. Bf3 g4 38. hxg4 fxg4 39. Be2 g3 40. Bf3 Qe7 41. e4 Qh4 42. exd5 Rg6 43. Qa5 Qh2+ 44. Kf1 Qh1+ 45. Ke2 Qxa1 46. Kd2 Qf1 47. Kc2 Nb7 48. Qa3 Na4 49. Rxa4 bxa4 50. Rb7+ Kh8 51. Rb4 Qd3 52. Kb2 Rf8 53. Qa4 Qd2+ 54. Qc2 Qxc2+ 55. Kxc2 Rxf3 56. d6 Rf8 57. Rxc4 Kg8 58. d7 Kf7 59. Rc8 Rgg8 60. Rc6 Ke7 61. e6 Rf2+ 62. Kd3 Rxg2 63. Rc8 Rd8 64. d5 Rxd7 65. exd7 Kxd7 66. Rg8 h5 67. c4 h4 68. Rg7+ Kd6 69. Kd4 Rd2 70. Ke3 Rxa2 71. Kf3 g2 72. Rg6+ Kd7 73. Rg7+ Kd8 74. Rg8+ Ke7 75. Rxg2 Rxg2 76. Kxg2 Kd6 77. Kf3 a5 78. c5+ Kxc5 79. Ke4 Kd6 80. Kf4 a4 81. Kg4 Kxd5 82. Kh4 a3 83. Kg3 a2 84. Kf4 a1=Q 85. Kf3 Qe5 86. Kf2 Qe4 87. Kf1 Qc2 88. Ke1 Ke4 89. Kf1 Kf3 90. Ke1 Qe2#

 

vxbBJ2u.gif

 

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And, earlier that year, a more straightforward crush against NES Chessmaster on Infinite difficulty -- which didn't give me credit for the win, probably because I had to change colors to play as Black:

 

[Date "2018.07.13"]
[White "NES Chessmaster, Level Infinite"]
[Black "thegoldenband"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. c4 e5 2. e3 f5 3. d4 e4 4. Ne2 Nf6 5. Nbc3 Nc6 6. Nf4 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. Be2 a5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 d6 11. Rb1 g5 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. cxd5 Ne7 14. c4 b6 15. f4 Ng6 16. Bh5 Ba6 17. Bxg6 hxg6 18. Qb3 Kg7 19. h3 Rh8 20. Rf2 g4 21. hxg4 Qh4 22. Kf1 Qxg4 23. Kg1 Rh7 24. Qa4 Kf6 25. Rff1 Qg3 26. Be1 Qxe3+ 27. Bf2 Qxf4 28. Rfd1 Rah8 29. Kf1 e3 30. Ke2 exf2 31. Kd3 Re7 32. Kc3 Re3 33. Kb2 f1=Q 34. Rxf1 Qxd4+ 35. Kc1 Rc3 36. Qc2 Rxc2+ 37. Kxc2 Qxc4+ 38. Kb2 Qxf1+ 39. Rxf1 Bxf1 40. g3 Rh3 41. Kc1 Rxg3 42. Kc2 Bc4 43. a4 Bxd5 44. Kd2 Bb3 45. Ke2 Ba4 46. Kd2 Ke5 47. Ke1 Rg2 48. Kf1 Ra2 49. Ke1 Kf4 50. Kf1 Kg3 51. Ke1 Kf3 52. Kf1 Ra1#

 

jFx8grl.gif

 

I've beaten a handful of others between 2014 and last year, specifically New Chessmaster for Game Boy, Battle Chess for NES, Chess for CoCo 1/2, Chess for Sega Genesis (a bootleg cart), and Simple 1500 Series Vol. 9: The Chess for PlayStation. In most cases the engine was weak and I didn't bother to write the game down.

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I love computer chess. I wrote a couple of my own versions back in 1981 (VAX PDP 11/780 in Pascal) and 1984 (Atari 800, 6502).
Anyway, I was thinking about chess on the '2600 and had a bit of a "what if" thought.

That is, use PlusCart (which is internet-enabled) to send moves online to a chess engine (or even a distributed '2600 network) and pull down the reply.
That would be a pretty cool (if cheating) way to have strong chess on the machine.

 

Edited by Andrew Davie
Added mockup 2600 display/Stella

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Video Chess was quite a thing back in the day. Unless you had a PC or something like an Apple IIe to run Sargon of course. For a home console it's a splendid attempt to learn with. It gave me a decent enjoyable scrub level game at lower levels. I used a real chess set to look at while waiting on the VCS to move.

 

I have a couple of dedicated chess computers with pressure sensitive boards from the 80s which I enjoy playing on from time to time. Nothing quite like playing with actual pieces. I even have a backgammon computer which I've hardly ever used.

Edited by davyK

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14 hours ago, thegoldenband said:

And, earlier that year, a more straightforward crush against NES Chessmaster on Infinite difficulty -- which didn't give me credit for the win, probably because I had to change colors to play as Black:

 

[Date "2018.07.13"]
[White "NES Chessmaster, Level Infinite"]
[Black "thegoldenband"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. c4 e5 2. e3 f5 3. d4 e4 4. Ne2 Nf6 5. Nbc3 Nc6 6. Nf4 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. Be2 a5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 d6 11. Rb1 g5 12. Nd5 Nxd5 13. cxd5 Ne7 14. c4 b6 15. f4 Ng6 16. Bh5 Ba6 17. Bxg6 hxg6 18. Qb3 Kg7 19. h3 Rh8 20. Rf2 g4 21. hxg4 Qh4 22. Kf1 Qxg4 23. Kg1 Rh7 24. Qa4 Kf6 25. Rff1 Qg3 26. Be1 Qxe3+ 27. Bf2 Qxf4 28. Rfd1 Rah8 29. Kf1 e3 30. Ke2 exf2 31. Kd3 Re7 32. Kc3 Re3 33. Kb2 f1=Q 34. Rxf1 Qxd4+ 35. Kc1 Rc3 36. Qc2 Rxc2+ 37. Kxc2 Qxc4+ 38. Kb2 Qxf1+ 39. Rxf1 Bxf1 40. g3 Rh3 41. Kc1 Rxg3 42. Kc2 Bc4 43. a4 Bxd5 44. Kd2 Bb3 45. Ke2 Ba4 46. Kd2 Ke5 47. Ke1 Rg2 48. Kf1 Ra2 49. Ke1 Kf4 50. Kf1 Kg3 51. Ke1 Kf3 52. Kf1 Ra1#

 

jFx8grl.gif

 

I've beaten a handful of others between 2014 and last year, specifically New Chessmaster for Game Boy, Battle Chess for NES, Chess for CoCo 1/2, Chess for Sega Genesis (a bootleg cart), and Simple 1500 Series Vol. 9: The Chess for PlayStation. In most cases the engine was weak and I didn't bother to write the game down.

Very cool, you are a very advanced Chess player likely a chessmaster or close! :)

 

The Chessmaster engine is quite powerful - Chessmaster 2000 on home computers and on the 4 Mhz PC in the 80's play pretty close to 2000 on the advanced levels.

 

Peter jennings Micro Chess is faily weak for a strong player, I would give it an 1100 rating max. 

 

Battle Chess is also fairly weak which is surprising in light of the advanced gameplay animation.

 

Video Chess is more impressive and somewhat between these, plays similar to the 1977 Fidelity Chess Challenger, around 1400 at the higher levels - most Chess players will not beat Video Chess.

 

3 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

I love computer chess. I wrote a couple of my own versions back in 1981 (VAX PDP 11/780 in Pascal) and 1984 (Atari 800, 6502).
Anyway, I was thinking about chess on the '2600 and had a bit of a "what if" thought.

That is, use PlusCart (which is internet-enabled) to send moves online to a chess engine (or even a distributed '2600 network) and pull down the reply.
That would be a pretty cool (if cheating) way to have strong chess on the machine.

 

This is interesting, you could set up a Modern "Turk" with this design like IBM did with DeepBlue; fake Chess computer can be inside the machine or networked, doesn't matter -

 

The Design allows the current Chess champ to engage in unfair network play against an entire [hidden] team of former Chess masters all equipped with the latest Chess  computers. 

 

"If cheating" - IBM dismantled the system immediately afterwards once the stock soared so that no one could examine exactly how the DeepBlue SuperComputer had passed the turing test; the latest advances in computer Chess mechanics have been lost, or they cheated. 

 

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There was a hack of Video Chess where the dark blue squares were made black. Looked better on a big screen, easier on the eyes!

 

I can't find it and was wondering if someone knew where I can download it.

 

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