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Best dedicated buys by brand
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Reinfeld
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Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 338
Full Name: Reinfeld
Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:15 am    Post subject: Best dedicated buys by brand Reply with quote

Just another variation on a favorite topic regarding best bang for the buck.

My esoteric list excludes handhelds - a personal choice. Rarer brands (CXG, Krypton) are excluded (I yearn for a Tiger Grenadier). Also excluding Millennium, because I don't have one yet. Nothing special about the order.

1. Mephisto Explorer Pro

I like it because (a) it's nice and strong (2056 active), b) the design is slick, with pleasant piece storage and a backlit LED screen (so nice). It tends to go for 100 USD or so, and it's worth it. More fun than the slightly boring Challenger or the viable (but somewhat rare) GK 2100.

2. Novag Obsidian

Again, reasonably strong (2013), portable and pleasant to play due to the nice big board and wooden pieces. Affordable, available, and the best design on this list.

3. Fidelity Excellence

Not quite as strong as the others, but an historic titan, readily available for less than 100 USD, and a tireless playing partner. Slightly more fun than Designer 2000.

4. Excalibur Igor

What else? The tackiest player on this list, as well as the most unorthodox in style, and super easy to find. This thing is a crazy uncle. You stow it away out of embarrassment, and play it when no one's looking.

5. Radio Shack 2250 XL

I realize this gigantic board breaks the category a bit since it's not so common, but I'm amazed that when it crops up, it remains so cheap. I know others such as the Partner 1680X are out there with their fans, but this machine is a great and unique player.

Have at it.

- R.
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Scally
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Joined: 05 Jun 2016
Posts: 203
Full Name: Alan Cooper
Location: Bermondsey, London

PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Reinfeld,

Interesting topic for me as I was looking to Branch out a bit more. my collection can be viewed by clicking on ‘My Chess Computers’ in Blue below (in all my posts)

All 5 of your recommendations are currently on eBay, the Radio Shack was harder to find, but variations on the description find one.

I bought an Explorer Pro at a £29.99 ‘buy it now’ price. There’s another for substantially more in France.

Thanks for your recommendations ...


Al.
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kosterix
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Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Best dedicated buys by brand Reply with quote

Reinfeld wrote:


4. Excalibur Igor

What else? The tackiest player on this list, as well as the most unorthodox in style, and super easy to find. This thing is a crazy uncle.

- R.

What is tacky? http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tacky
can you tell a bit more about its play style, perhaps some examples?
TIA
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spacious_mind
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Joined: 01 Aug 2007
Posts: 2899
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Best dedicated buys by brand Reply with quote

kosterix wrote:
Reinfeld wrote:


4. Excalibur Igor

What else? The tackiest player on this list, as well as the most unorthodox in style, and super easy to find. This thing is a crazy uncle.

- R.

What is tacky? http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tacky
can you tell a bit more about its play style, perhaps some examples?
TIA


It sort of means made from cheaper plastic. But Igor is not a bad computer for the average player.

Regards
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Reinfeld
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Joined: 17 Feb 2011
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Full Name: Reinfeld
Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kosterix:

Quote:
What is tacky? http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tacky
can you tell a bit more about its play style, perhaps some examples?


Ha! "Tacky" refers to bad taste - like a cheap suit, or crap beer, or the low-quality imitation of a cool toy or a cool car. Excalibur machines consciously aimed at the toy market - with the sole exception of the Grandmaster, which I didn't include on this list. The GM has the Igor program, but it's harder to find.

Nick:

Quote:
It sort of means made from cheaper plastic. But Igor is not a bad computer for the average player.


Right on both points. Igor is a cheap machine. The housing is cheap. The materials are cheap. The pieces are cheap. It is a *silly* machine. It's the caveman relative you didn't invite to the party. It's slightly embarrassing to play it. It's like wolfing down a cheeseburger when no one's looking.

Yet as Nick suggests, Igor is strong - strong in a crude way. I can't point to specific moves. That's just my impression.

Igor is aggressive. Less aggressive than Morsch, more aggressive than Kaplan or Lang, dumber than Schroder and the Spracklens, less romantic than Kittinger. It knows a few openings (3,000). It does not surrender, nor does it commit suicide. Faced with adversity, Igor will go for even trades and hope to hang on for dreary endgames none of the machines in the 1800ish class know how to play.

- R.
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Fernando
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Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Posts: 1912
Location: Santiago de Chile

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, these factors are important to evaluate comps according to the love or esteem I have for them.

first, the esthetic side of them. Are they beautiful, well made, with good materiel?
second, how many times they leave me to beat them. A machine that tends to slaughter me becomes very soon a personal enemy which I have in jail for years.
So, taking into account those factors, my most beloved machines are:
Champion chess Challenger.
Centennial, very similar, is the second.
Alexandra, the third

Anything else is serving a time in jail

From Alcatraz regards
Fern
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Larry
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Joined: 01 Aug 2007
Posts: 1734
Location: Gosford, NSW Australia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fernando wrote:

So, taking into account those factors, my most beloved machines are:
Champion chess Challenger.
Centennial, very similar, is the second.
Alexandra, the third


The Champion brings back memories. The year was 1981 when a friend
of mine, now deceased, bought one new. He was a computer programmer
and hooked on chess. He traded his week's paycheck for the Champion,
as so many others did. The Champion was quiet starwarsy in those
days, with the eerie monotone voice. I also liked chess but I stopped
short of paying that price (circa $500) at a time when I was raising a
family. Other seniors here on the forum will also remember the
exhorbitant prices chess comps were commanding, that's at least part
of the reason we buy them now. They seem cheap.
One negative feature of the Champion was that you could not avoid
the annoying voice introduction whenever you powered it up. Another
minus is that there is no 15sec/move level. To me,
the Champion, in spite of being lower rated, is actually harder to beat
than the later and higher rated Septennial.
L
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SirDave
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Joined: 09 Sep 2010
Posts: 595
Location: Southern California USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's interesting how different our tastes can be. I sold off my Mephisto Explorer Pro, Novag Obsidian and RS X2250. Didn't like the design of the Explorer Pro. The X2250 was just clunky -having to use your finger to make the moves was just wrong. The Obsidian was a good looking board, but the variation of responses to Openings seemed very limited.
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Fernando
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Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Posts: 1912
Location: Santiago de Chile

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry wrote:
Fernando wrote:

So, taking into account those factors, my most beloved machines are:
Champion chess Challenger.
Centennial, very similar, is the second.
Alexandra, the third


The Champion brings back memories. The year was 1981 when a friend
of mine, now deceased, bought one new. He was a computer programmer
and hooked on chess. He traded his week's paycheck for the Champion,
as so many others did. The Champion was quiet starwarsy in those
days, with the eerie monotone voice. I also liked chess but I stopped
short of paying that price (circa $500) at a time when I was raising a
family. Other seniors here on the forum will also remember the
exhorbitant prices chess comps were commanding, that's at least part
of the reason we buy them now. They seem cheap.
One negative feature of the Champion was that you could not avoid
the annoying voice introduction whenever you powered it up. Another
minus is that there is no 15sec/move level. To me,
the Champion, in spite of being lower rated, is actually harder to beat
than the later and higher rated Septennial.
L



They were expensive machines, yes. My first Fidelity was the famous CC7, which in order to buy I was compelled to ask the assistance of a friend. Later came Champion and that was also very expensive, in fact, more than CC7 and with good reason. I was in those times more or less even with Champion in strength, now I can defeat it every time, BUT, as you say, it is not an easy task as happens with every Spracklen program.
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steffen
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Joined: 27 Sep 2015
Posts: 237

PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Chess King
Master --> one of the 1st Richard Lang chess computers.

2. CXG
Sphinx 40 Plus --> nice wooden and a bit rare Morsch.

3. Data Cash Systems

Compuchess II --> the 1st chess computer with 2 additonal different games.

4. Excalibur
New York Times de Luxe --> beautiful handheld chess computer with artificial leather case, plays already reasonable chess. Elegant.

5. Fidelity
Grandmaster Voice --> Large wooden board with the handmade intarsia chess squares.
Mach IV Designer --> I love its playing style. I also like the wooden Avantgardes, but this Mach IV Designer is really good.

6. Mephisto
III-S Glasgow --> A legend.
TM Turniermaschine (Tournament Machine) London --> The high point of all chess computers.

7. Millennium
Genesis --> The never in series produced one. The only chess computer (including its clones Tiger Grenadier/Sakkara Vega) which has been programmed by Donninger.
Chess Genius Exclusive --> Strong and with piece recognition.

8. Novag
Star Sapphire --> the strongest handheld.
Robot Adversary --> the only chess computers showing emotions with quite active playing still. I love self moving chess computers.

9. RFT Erfurt VEB Funkwerk
SC 1 --> East German prototype with Fidelity program. Only 12 made of.
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kosterix
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Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reinfeld wrote:
.. strong - strong in a crude way. I can't point to specific moves.
is aggressive. Less aggressive than Morsch, more aggressive than Kaplan or Lang
It does not surrender, nor does it commit suicide. Faced with adversity, will go for even trades and hope to hang on for dreary endgames none of the machines in the 1800ish class know how to play.

- R.


* Are there any computers that surrender?? How do they indicate surrender, apart from being mated?

* I cannot find any complete igor on the whole ebay earth. It is not super easy to find.

* thsi morsch thing is also nowhere on earth.
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kosterix
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry wrote:
Fernando wrote:

So, taking into account those factors, my most beloved machines are:
Champion chess Challenger.
Centennial, very similar, is the second.
Alexandra, the third


Could you care to upload a video on youtube on these computers? Would love to see them in action.
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Strive for avoiding anything flat that emits light. Love the unhackable chess computer with real pieces and a tactile feel. I do not collect, I live.
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kosterix
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larry wrote:
Fernando wrote:

So, taking into account those factors, my most beloved machines are:
Champion chess Challenger.
Centennial, very similar, is the second.
Alexandra, the third


Could you care to upload a video on youtube on these computers? Would love to see them in action.
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Strive for avoiding anything flat that emits light. Love the unhackable chess computer with real pieces and a tactile feel. I do not collect, I live.
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kosterix
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Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steffen wrote:

5.
Grandmaster Voice --> Large wooden board with the handmade intarsia squares.
Mach IV --> I love its playing style. I also like the wooden Avantgardes, but this Mach IV is really good.

this one?
http://www.ebay.nl/itm/Designer-Series-Chess-Computer-Fidelity-International-By-Franco-Rocco-6102-/182726967030?hash=item2a8b603ef6:g:Q90AAOSwkWNZm1cm
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Strive for avoiding anything flat that emits light. Love the unhackable chess computer with real pieces and a tactile feel. I do not collect, I live.
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steffen
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Joined: 27 Sep 2015
Posts: 237

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kosterix wrote:
steffen wrote:

5.
Grandmaster Voice --> Large wooden board with the handmade intarsia squares.
Mach IV --> I love its playing style. I also like the wooden Avantgardes, but this Mach IV is really good.

this one?
http://www.ebay.nl/itm/Designer-Series-Chess-Computer-Fidelity-International-By-Franco-Rocco-6102-/182726967030?hash=item2a8b603ef6:g:Q90AAOSwkWNZm1cm


No, this one, kosterix:
http://www.chesscomputeruk.com/html/fidelity_designer_2325_master.html
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