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Radio Shack matches
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:42 am    Post subject: Radio Shack matches Reply with quote

Greetings,

I have recently rekindled my old passion for playing on my dedicated units. I mostly have Radio Shack sets, since that's what I first started playing on back in the late 80's/early 90's in college, and what I could afford back then. Nostalgia reigns supreme. I have since bought a few other units, namely an Excalibur Grandmaster and King Arthur. I also have an old Fidelity Excellence, but it doesn't work anymore.

Anyway, my first chess computer was the Radio Shack Fast Response 1650. I still like mine, even though I can beat it usually (I'm rated 1315, but haven't played in many years). There's something about that form factor that I just like, and it's a nice unit for beginners. Having a separate storage for the pieces, and the battery compartment at the top of the board allowed for it to be nice and thin. Easy to carry from place to place (for its day).

I decided to play these Radio Shack units of mine against each other. Not long matches, so I know there's not much of statistical significance, but I wanted to get a general idea of their strength. I played the games on levels where they took around 20-30 seconds per move, which is about all I can stand.

First up was the RS1650 Fast Response vs. the RS 1850. After six games, the RS1850 had scored 5.0 points (+4-0=2). I think I can safely say the RS1850 is a stronger computer. In one of those draws the RS1650 actually had a clearly winning position of K,R + 3 pawns vs. just K&R, but couldn't figure out how to win and let the RS1850 get a threefold-rep draw. The RS1650, in addition to playing atrocious endgames, also had a clearly inferior opening book.

So then I matched up the RS1850 against the RS Mega 2050X. This match was even more lopsided than the previous one. The 2050X won all five games. Four of the five were crushing types of wins, overwhelming the poor RS1850 tactically. I was very impressed with the little Mega 2050X.

Next up, the Mega 2050X vs. my RS Master 2200X. The first game, with the Mega 2050X with the white pieces, was actually an upset win. It was a tight struggle, with the 2050X managing to play an unbalanced endgame very nicely. I'm getting ready to start the next game.
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Steve B
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Forum

There are many threads here pertaining to the Radio Shack Brand of Dedicated Chess Computers you might be interested in reading

try out the search engine and have a look

RS Regards
Steve
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TracySMiller
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Joined: 13 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Game two went to the Master 2200X, but game three was a tense draw. So, all tied up after three games.

I'm getting one of those Novag Citrine's. I can't wait to play with it!
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think after I test all my units (I'll have ten after my RS Master Chess and Novag Citrine arrive), to get a good idea of their relative strength, I'm going to arrange a series of knockout matches, with longer time controls and more games. That should be a lot of fun.
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Harvey Williamson
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TracySMiller wrote:
I think after I test all my units (I'll have ten after my RS Master Chess and Novag Citrine arrive), to get a good idea of their relative strength, I'm going to arrange a series of knockout matches, with longer time controls and more games. That should be a lot of fun.


Hi Tracy,

It would be nice if you could post some of the games here so we could play through them.

Best Wishes,
Harvey
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It would be nice if you could post some of the games here so we could play through them.


I definitely will once I get to the knockout matches. These early games are just to get a general idea of their relative strength and get accustomed to all the options/controls of each unit.
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Master 2200X wins this match 4.5-1.5. I'm going to take a break from the big boys now and try to find the relative strength of my RS Companion Chess. I think I'm going to start out by playing it against my RS 1650 Fast Response.

I have a little problem, though. The manual for the RS Companion SUCKS. In the level section, it mentions it has 64 levels, and says that the higher the level, the stronger the computer plays, and that on the lower levels it limits itself by searching fewer plies, etc. But it doesn't tell you which levels do that, so I'm kind of unsure how to match it up with the RS 1650 Fast Response, which only has nine levels, all pretty much based on time/move.
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that was an exercise in frustration. The RS Chess Companion is a pretty horrible little unit. The pieces are not magnetized, and the pieces slide all over the board at the tiniest disturbance. You have to press VERY hard to get your move registered. I tried about 20 different levels trying to find a level that was roughly 30 seconds per move, and that was next to impossible. It was apparent that it had NO opening book at all. It's pretty much the worst computer chess unit I've ever owned. I can't stand to play it anymore. I'm pretty sure its strength is less than the RS Fast Response 1650, so I'm going to put it away, never to be seen again.

In any case, my RS Master Chess has arrived, so I'm going to pit it against the RS Mega 2050X. Should be an interesting test. The RS Master Chess is SO similar to the Mega 2050X, at least in outward apperance and its buttons, options, etc. Should be very easy to play them against one another.
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RS Master Chess won the first game vs. RS Mega 2050X. It was a tight struggle, with one of those Rook and Bishop endgames that RS Master Chess seemed to play a little better. I don't know if any of you other Radio Shack owners have noticed this, but the RS Mega 2050X seemed to play many more moves instantly than the RS Master Chess, even though I had them both set at the same level and both set to Ponder. I'll play at least six games, like I did with the other matches.

My Novag Citrine should arrive this Saturday. I also ordered one of those RS 1900L chess units. I'm looking forward to testing those.

So far, of the units I've tested, my list of strongest to weakest is:

RS Master Chess 2200X
RS Mega 2050X
RS 1850
RS 1650

It'll be interesting to see where the RS Master Chess will fit into this list.
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I figured out that issue with the Mega 2050X moving so much more quickly. Turns out I had it set to a Sudden Death level. Oops. So scratch that first game between it and RS Master Chess.

The RS Master Chess is actually called ChessMaster on the unit itself, but the manual identifies it as Master Chess Computer. I wonder what happened there. In any case, I think I'm going to start calling it the RS ChessMaster, to more easily differentiate it from my RS Master 2200X.
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7Chessfan7
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:07 am    Post subject: Radio Shack Chess Computers. Reply with quote

Hello Tracy. Wonderful to discover that there are at least 2 members (myself included) on this website who love the RS chess computers. You are probably aware that most RS chess computers were actually manufactured by Saitek for RS although the Tandy Corporation did make some RS chess computers in the early years of dedicated chess computers. My favorite RS chess computer of them all is the RS Chess Champion 2150 chess computer which came out in 1988 and was programmed I believe by Julio Kaplan. I love its' huge 100,000 half-move opening library and library game storage feature. Sadly, its production run was only about a year or less than a year because Saitek replaced it with the RS Chess Champion 2150L the same year, but the RS CC 2150L has a reduced opening library size of 17,000 or 17,500 half-moves and has no library game storage feature. The RS CC 2150L was programmed I think by Frans Morsch. The RS Chess Companion, although it may be a very weak chess computer, is probably a good chess computer for beginning players. I guess you probably are aware that the RS Master 2200X chess computer is a clone of the Saitek GK2000 chess computer..................Best Wishes, Mike.
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it's a strange little obsession. Mainly nostalgia, I guess. When I was in college in the late 80's, early 90's, I got my first one, a RS1650 Fast Response. Later, I would also get a RS 2150, but I don't know if it was the first one or the later 2150L. I remember it had the big LCD screen which was fantastic, and I enjoyed watching the graphical representation of the moves it was considering. I eventually sold it, as I was a starving recent college graduate, and needed the money. I wish I still had that one.

I may eventually get one of those RS 2250XL units, as I heard those are the strongest of the Radio Shack units. I don't have the money for one of the nice Mephisto units or Revelation units. If anyone wants to lend one to me, I'll test it for you! Believe me, it was a stretch to get a Novag Citrine, but I wanted one so badly, because I read you could attach it to a PC running Arena and run different engines in it.
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7Chessfan7
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:11 am    Post subject: Radio Shack Chess Computers. Reply with quote

My first Radio Shack chess computer was a Christmas present from my parents in 1986 and was the RS 1850 Version ''A'' chess computer. I could defeat it easily on its' tournament level 4 but back then when I was only an average chess player when I set it to level 5 it played tougher and I could not defeat it. I had it in a box for years and when I pulled it out of the box years later the plastic lid on the piece storage compartment had warped and the battery contacts in the battery compartment had gotten rusty so I threw the chess computer out. I was sad to see recently that a RS CC 2150L chess computer was sold on Ebay for $17 which is a ridiculously low price for that model chess computer because even though the RS CC 2150L is only about 1750 ELO strength and there are still many of that model chess computer available on Ebay, the price that that chess computer was sold for was way too low. Just to let you know-regarding the RS Champion 2250 XL chess computer, I have owned at one time or another, no less than 3 RS Champion 2250XL chess computers and sadly all 3 of them turned out to be ''lemons''. All three of them failed within a very short time after I purchased them, so you should be very leery of purchasing the RS Champion 2250XL chess computer.
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TracySMiller
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice about the RS 2250XL. I may hold off getting one, then. I doubt it would be too much stronger than the Master Chess 2200X anyway. My Novag Citrine arrived today. I'm having fun with my new little toy. It is SO strong. I can't wait to test it against my RS units. I may upgrade its crappy little pieces, though, with the ones from ChessBaron.
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7Chessfan7
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just purchased a set of the the enhanced Novag Citrine chess pieces from Chess Baron Canada which were priced much lower than the same set of Enhanced Citrine chess pieces on Chess Baron U.S.A and lower priced than the same set of chess pieces available from Chess Baron UK. Interestingly, the Enhanced Citrine chess pieces on Chess Baron Canada are listed as double-weighted whereas the same set of chess pieces are listed as triple-weighted on Chess Baron U.S.A. The regular Novag Citrine chess pieces are great for plastic table-top chess computers like the RS CC 2150 because they fit the size of the squares on plastic chess computer chess boards so well, but the Citrine board squares dwarf the regular Citrine chess pieces. Another interesting thing is that apparently the first generation of Citrine chess boards were made of a soft imitation wood material which could become dented unfortunately. Novag supposedly corrected that problem in the third generation of Citrine chess boards.
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