My Chess Computers
The mass market
Prehistory       The pioneers       The heroes       The mass market       The good programmes       Checkers, bridge, etc
Advice from the magazine "jeux et stratégie"        Some spare parts        Reparing games        The Tasc Smartboard
Last news
FAQ - Links
- Are you looking for a user manual ? The way to find it on this page.
- Are you looking for some price quotation ? The Ebay price archive is on
- Are you looking for technical specifications ? Take a visit to the wiki Schachcomputer (in German)
- Do you have a question ? The chesscomputer forum
Why this site ?
   I had a small collection of electronic chess games. It was a rolling collection: I was selling my games to buy and try other ones. I only kept very few of these games.
The mass market (since 1983)
   In the end of the 80s, Mephisto produced the most powerful programs and the most beautiful sensory chess boards. But these machines using luxury hardware were extremely expensive and were not competitive with the growing PC performances. In the mid 80s, most of the sales were done for low price computer chess sold most of the time around christmas.
- Chess Traveller
- Graduate Chess
ADX Design
- Stratege
Applied Concepts Inc
- Boris
- Boris Diplomat
- Great Game Machine Sargon 2.5 & Morphy
- Morphy Encore
- Odin Encore
- Steinitz Edition 4
AVE Micro Systems
- Sargon 2.5 Auto Response Board
CXG / CGL / Schneider
- Alicante
- Chess 3000
- Chess Mate
- Chessmaster MK5
- Computachess II
- Computachess Travel Sensory
- Granada
- Madrid
- Portachess
- Portachess II
- Sensor Computachess
- Seville
- Ambassador
- Escorter
- Monarch
- Alexandra the Great
- Chess Station
- Electronic Backgammon
- Grandmaster
- King Arthur
- Mirage
- Phantom Force
- Saber IV
- Touch Chess II
Fidelity Electronics
- Backgammon Challenger
- Bridge Challenger
- Bridge Challenger III
- Champion Sensory Challenger
- Checker Challenger
- Chess Challenger Voice
- Chess Challenger 3
- Chess Challenger 7
- Chess Challenger 9
- Chess Challenger 10
- Chesster Challenger
- Dame Challenger
- Designer 1500
- Designer 2000
- Designer display
- Eldorado
- Elite A/S
- Excel 68000
- Excel Display
- Excel Mach III
- Excellence
- Gambit
- Gin & Cribbage Challenger
- Marauder
- Micro Backgammon Challenger
- Micro Chess Challenger
- Mini Sensory Chess Challenger
- Par Excellence
- Reversi Sensory Challenger
- Sensory Chess Challenger 6
- Sensory Chess Challenger 8
- Super Nine
- Tiny Chess
- The classic CC8
- Ultimate Chess Challenge
- Voice Sensory Chess Challenger
Gakken, Lansay
- Computer Chess Game
Hegener & Glaser / Mephisto
- Mephisto
- Mephisto 2
- Mephisto Almeria
- Mephisto Berlin
- Mephisto Berlin Professional
- Mephisto Europa
- Mephisto Europa A
- Mephisto Europa A (Schachschule)
- Mephisto Genius 99
- Mephisto Junior
- Mephisto London
- Mephisto Lyon
- Mephisto Manhattan
- Mephisto Marco Polo
- Mephisto Milano
- Mephisto Mini
- Mephisto Mobil
- Mephisto Mobil LCD / MM-3000
- Mephisto Modena
- Mephisto Mondial II
- Mephisto Monte Carlo IV
- Mephisto Montreal 68000
- Mephisto MM I
- Mephisto MM II
- mephisto MM IV
- Mephisto MM IV / MM V turbo
- mephisto MM V
- Mephisto MM VI
- Mephisto Polgar
- Mephisto Portorose 68020
- Mephisto Risc II
- Mephisto Roma II
- Mephisto Vancouver
- My First Mephisto
- Schachcomputer 64
- Micro Chess
- Pioneer
- Chess King Pocket Micro
- Chess Pro
- Chesslight
- ChessManLight
- ChessMan Pro
- LCD Computer Chess
- Travel Chess Explorer
- Computer Chess
- Othello
Micro Games USA
- Backgammon 2
Millennium 2000 GmbH
- Chess & Games
- Karpov Schachpartner
- Orion 4 in 1
- Orion 6 in 1
- Orion Intelligent Chess
Milton Bradley
- Milton
- 2robot
- Agate
- Agate Plus
- Amber
- Amethyst
- Aquamarine Premier
- Beluga
- Chess Champion MK I
- Chess Champion MK II
- Chess Champion Super System III
- Chess Partner 2000
- Chess Printer
- Chinese Chess
- Citrine
- Condor
- Constellation 3.6 MHz
- Constellation Expert
- Diablo 68000
- coral
- Emerald Classic
- Escort
- Graphite (Pack Initation)
- Granite
- Jade
- Jasper
- Jasper Special
- Mentor 16
- Mentor Junior
- Micro Chess
- Micro II
- Obsidian
- Onyx
- Opal
- Opal II
- Piccolo
- Play with Mickey
- Presto
- Primo
- Ruby
- Sapphire
- Sapphire 2
- Secondo
- Solo
- Star Opal
- Star Sapphire
- Super Constellation
- Super Expert 6
- Super Expert B
- Super Expert C
- Super VIP
- Supremo
- Topaz
- Tourmaline
- Tourmaline Plus
- Turquoise
- Zircon
- Zircon II
Phoenix Chess System
- Resurrection II
- Chess Traveller
Promedic Manufacturing Inc.
- Chess Master
- Chess Master
- Chess Master Diamond
RadioShack, Tandy, Go, Intertan
- 1450
- 1650
- 1650 fast response
- Super 1680L
- 1850
- 2 in 1 e-Chess and Checkers
- Chess Champion 2150
- Chess Champion 2150L
- Chess Champion 2250xl
- Compact Dames
- Computerized Chess Game
- Electronic Checkers
- Electronic Dames
- Master 2200x
- 4 in 1
- Alchemist
- Aragon
- Atlas
- Blade
- Bravo
- Bridge Shadow
- Calculator Chess
- Capella
- Centurion
- Chess Companion
- Chess Companion III
- Chess Explorer
- Chess Partner 2
- Chess Shadow
- Coach Partner
- Compact Dames
- Conquistador
- Corona
- Dames Traveller
- Electronic Champion Backgammon
- Electronic Checkers
- Electronic Chess partner
- Electronic Chessman
- Electronic Dames
- Elite
- Explorer Pro
- Galileo Analyst C
- GK 2000
- GK 2100
- Handheld Champion Backgammon
- Junior Master Chess
- Kasparov Blitz
- Mephisto Chess Challenger
- Mephisto Chess Trainer
- Mephisto Maestro
- Mephisto Magellan
- Mephisto Master Chess
- Mephisto Senator
- Mephisto Solar Star
- Micro Travel Chess Computer
- MK 12 Trainer
- MK 14 Trainer
- Pocket Checkers
- Pocket Chess
- Pocket Plus
- President
- Pro Bridge 100
- Pro Bridge 200
- Schach-trainer
- Sensor Chess
- Sensor XL
- Sensory Backgammon
- Team Mate
- Talking Chess Trainer
- Travel Mate
- Turbo Advanced Trainer
- Virtuoso
- Astral
- Concord II
- Chess Companion II
- Chess Intercontinental Traveler
- Chess Traveler
- Executive Chess
- Junior Chess
- Kasparov Plus
- Mini Chess
- MK 10
- MK 12
- Pocket Chess
- Pocket Plus
- Sensor Chess
- Rapier
- Superstar 28K
- Superstar 36K
- Turbo 16K
- Travel Mate
- Travel Sensor
- Chess Grand Master
- Chess Marathon
- Electronic Galactic Chess
- Voice Master
- Electronic Computer Othello
- Othello M-II
- Backgammon Master
- 301 XL
- 320 XT
- 325 XL
- 416 XL
- 532 XL
- 540 XT
- Travel Chess
Scisys Travel Sensor

   The Scisys Travel Sensor is a little travel game at low cost published by Scisys in 1982. It only has 4 levels.

   This one was out of order so I was not able to test it.

Tandy 1650

   The Tandy 1650 is from 1983 and it looks like the Scisys Travel Sensor.

   But it's not the same game. The Tandy 1650 includes 8 game levels where the Travel Sensor only has 4.

Scisys Travel Mate

   The Scisys Travelmate was briefly presented in Jeux et Stratégie in 1983: "Small but weak level". It was cheap: around 100$ (75 euros).

   There was only 4 game levels. The highest level was at 45 seconds per move and it played realy badly, see this test game.

Lansay Chess King Pocket Micro

   The Lansay Chess King Pocket Micro is a very rare game "made in UK" but with a French user manual. The hardware is inside a small box. The moves are entered with the keyboard.
    Click on the picture to see a more detailed view of the hardware.
   This game waIt also exists under the brand name CGL (visible here on Luuk Hofman site) and under the name Mephisto Teufelchen (visible here on It's a weak software, see this test game.

Novag Presto

   The Novag presto is from 1984. It's a nice design, not far from the constellations one. It includes a one move take back and position programming functionalities. It is able to solve mate in 2. But it includes a weak software and has only 8 game levels.

   Here is a test game. It has a funny game style, with uncommon moves and only few exchanges. But it remains weak from the start until the end.

Scisys Rapier

   The Scisys Rapier is a rare game. The box is copyrighted 1985 and the user manual 1984. It is the same period as the 4Ko software from Kaare Danielsen (Concord II and Chess Companion II) but the Rapier is a lot weaker as it is demonstrated in this test game; despite it was written on the box "new strong 8 level program". The hardware is inside a small box usable as a travel game. Each move has to be typed using the keyboard.
   It is also a polluting game because it only works with a lithium CR2032 battery for 150 hours of game. This game is based on a mono-chip Scisys SX0 44868A 04" (dérived from ?). Click on the picture to see a more detailed view of the hardware.

Novag Solo

   The magazine Jeux et Stratégie n°48 (dec 1987) describe it well: the world record for the small size in chess computers: smaller than a cigarette packet. 900F. Expensive for a weak program..., but it is so cute.

   I often travel with it because it is really small. At the maximum level, it answers after 1 minute and its level is weak. See for instance a test game.

   It's a 2K program on a 8MHz processor with 192 bytes of RAM. It has a take back function of 2 half moves.

Novag Piccolo

   The Novag Piccolo Is a variant of the Novag solo.

   For most of the case, There is a user guide overview printed left to the chessboard. You can see it on the gamebox. But here it's a French release with a simple black cover. The user guide is only in French.

   Here is a test game..

Novag Escort

   The Novag Escort is from 1990. It includes the same software as the Novag Solo.

   It is of course weak, especially in finales or when it can not avoid a losing situation. But I have been surprised to see a so small software playing not so bad.

   Here is a good test game and a more confused game.

Fidelity Micro Chess Challenger

   This Fidelity Micro Chess Challenger (2nd release) was published around 1988 (there is some advertising for the Excellence Voice, the Designer 2000 and the Designer 2100 in the user guide). It has a similar size as the Novag Solo. At the higher level (64), it answers in less than 30s. There is no "take back" function. Here is a test game.

   I made 3 tests Novag Solo against Fidelity Micro Chess Challenger at the higher level. They have a similar gameplay. they are usually able to win some materials, especially when they play white but they have difficulties to finish. In 2 games, they finally entered in a repetitive move cycle (without announcing a draw, they don't know the rule). An exemple of a draw game between the Novag Solo and the Fidelity Micro

   To my mind, I prefer the Novag Solo for the take back function and the tray to store the pieces.

MK 10 (Scisys)

   In Jeux et Strategie n° 48 (1987), it was written about MK 10 (copyrighted 1986): "Same software as the pocket Chess. What is the reason to pay more ?."

   It's a weak software of 5Kb ROM and 80 bytes RAM on a 600MHz processor. Here is a test game.

Kasparov Pocket Chess (Scisys)

   In Jeux et Strategie n° 48 (1987), it was written about Pocket Chess: Really cheap. Nice, practical, but weak.

   The price was really low: less than 300F. its game level, similar to chess challenger 7, was sufficient for beginners (see A test game showing its general level.). But it's not possible to enter a position.

Kasparov Plus (Scisys)

   The Kasparov Plus is from 1987. It's a pocket chess with 8 study problems added. It's also the first game named "Kasparov".

   The game level is weak, because the software is very sensible to the horizon effect: when it will lose one piece, it will play stupid moves to postpone the problem. It's very clear in this test game..

Tandy Chess Computer 1450

   The Tandy Chess Computer 1450 is identical to the Scisys Kasparov Pocket Chess except of course regarding its color.

    Here you have the European release with the user manual in French, Dutch and German.

   It's a weak game and on the manual, you can read only in French: jeu d'echecs pour débutants (Chess game for beginners). Here is A test game.

Kasparov Pocket Chess (Saitek)

   In 1986/1987, the brand name Scisys became Saitek, a subsidiary company.

   Here is the Pocket Chess in a new package. And in jeux et Stratégie n°48 (1987), the brand name was: "Scisys or Saitek or Kasparov Chess Computers". In reality, it includes some minor enhancements easy to identify on this model that has the old Scisys Owner's Manual and an addendum that indicates the différences: new timing of the game levels (including a mat research one) and under promotion made possible. Here is a test game.

Kasparov Pocket Plus (Scisys)

   This Pocket Plus was bought in 1988 but was copyrighted 1987. The 2 games "pocket chess" and "pocket plus" were available at the same time and compared on the Saitek catalogue: The pocket plus has more functions: 1450 ELO for the pocket plus against 1400; shows what move it is thinking about; position evaluation; an opening library of 250 moves.

   The most visible difference is the red label on top of the game.

Kasparov Pocket Plus (Saitek)

   This Pocket Plus looks like the previous one but in reality, it is a bit younger than the other one: On the box side, you can read Saitek instead of Scisys.

   Except this small détail, I think that these games are identical.

Kasparov Pocket Plus Trainer (Saitek)

   This Pocket Plus Trainer is from 1990. The box includes a French and an English book. The user manual is the same as the one from the Scisys but there is the same addendum as the Saitek Pocket Chess: new timing of the game levels (including a mat research one) and under promotion made possible. The same book is available with the MK 12 Trainer.

   Here is a test game.

Kasparov Sensor Chess (Saitek)

   This Sensor Chess is from 1991 but it's a weak 8kb software on a 1MHz processor.

   It's probably very similar to the kasparov pocket serie. This game will be later sold as "turbo" release at 2MHz (!). The design will be later reused on many similar games (sensor XL, coach partner, blade etc).

   Here is a test game.

Sensor XL (Saitek)

   The Saitek Sensor XL is from 1995. It is presented with a rating of 1500 ELO but it is in reality a bit weaker.

   Its 64 game levels are sorted with different styles: beginner, problem solving, practice, tactical, fixed deapth search, closed game, aggressive, normal.

    Here is a test game where it defended well.

Travel Chess (Yeno)

   The Yeno Travel Chess is from 1990. It looks like the Saitek Pocket Chess With a more rounded design and smaller chess pieces that makes the game unconfortable to use. The 2 games have 8 game levels but with a different timing.

   Here is a test game.

Granada (Schneider)

   The Schneider Granada is a variant of the CXG / Sphinx Granada published around 1986 in United Kingdom. It's a weak program not able to find a mate in 2. It has 64 levels - that seems to be very similar to the Fidelity Micro Chess (with the "threat signals" and "automatic response" options). But there is a "take back" option in the Granada that does not exist in the Fidelity Micro Chess.

   Here is a test game..

Sphinx Alicante (CXG)

   The CXG Alicante contains the same programme as the Sphinx Granada, but it is around 10% slower. There are also 2 leds less: "thinking" and "thread" are missing. There is also no button to cut the sound off. The original user manual is missing but the Granada or the Stratege one are usable. This test game is very similar to the one played with the Stratege: the same stupid errors in the begining of the game.

Sphinx Seville (CXG)

   The CXG / Sphinx Seville contains the same program as the Granada, in a smaller chessboard. It has the same 64 levels (with the "threat signals" and "automatic response" options). This game is like new. The pieces are still in the original package.

   It's a very nice design but a very weak software, see this test game at maximum level.

Stratege (Addex design)

   The Stratege is a clone of the CXG / Sphinx Seville.

   In Jeux et Stratégie N°48 (dec 1987),it was written that the Stratege contains the same program as the CXG Crown. The CXG Crown had only 16 levels but it can correspond when "threat signals" and "automatic response" options are removed. The same magazine Jeux et Stratégie n°48 (dec 1987) described the CXG Crown well: "the black sheep of the CXG family. Not interesting due to its weak level."Indeed, in this test game at level maximum, it lost in less than 20 moves.

Kasparov Electronic Chess Partner (Saitek)

   The Satiek Kasparov Electronic Chess Partner is from 1988. It was a low price device. It included a 8K software rated 1450 ELO by Saitek. It included a take back function on 6 half moves. The moves were indicated by red leds. It's still today a good game for beginers, more confortable to use than the games available today. But if you try it a lot, you will perhaps find some weaknesses in the algorithm like in this test game.

Fidelity Electronics Tiny Chess

   A small game "made in Hong Kong" published in 1989 by Fidelity Electronics. It contains a 4Kb ROM / 128b RAM programme on a 8MHz processor without opening library, with take back on 1 move and a mate in 2 capability.

   Here is a test game.

Mephisto Mini

   The Mephisto Mini is identical to the Fidelity Tiny Chess. A variant "Mephisto Supermini" was published in 1993, with the memory doubled (mate in 4, 2000 moves opening library, 4 moves take back). The design was very similar (see the picture from the Bielski family website. On the cover, the black bishop was replaced by a red knight.

   Here is a test game.

Fidelity Marauder Chess Challenger

   The Fidelity Marauder Chess Challenger is a game made in Hong Kong that includes the same software as the Fidelity Tiny Chess. It is based on a Mitsubishi Single Chip M50743 (processor compatible 6502, with 4Kb of memory) at 8MHz.

   The user manual clearly looks like a Mephisto one and this game also exists under the name Mephisto Junior or "My First Mephisto"

   Here is a test game.

My First Mephisto

   "My First Mephisto" looks like the Fidelity Marauder. However, it includes a more complicated user guide based on a step by step chess course. There is nothing in it like a place to find a description of each button. This game has a little problem: There are 3 white bishops and no King! I marked the head in black to ease the game.

   This game has little timing problems. Sometime, a move is very long (and the easiest to do is to force the move by pressing play).

   Here is a test game.

Calculator Chess (Saitek, 1992)
Schachcomputer 64 (Mephisto)

   This calculator includes a very small chess programme of 2Ko size. It plays not so bad, even if it is a weak program. I like the chess board (with very small pieces) hidden under the calculator. So I always kept this electronic chess computer in my professional office. And after 10 years, only one colleague identified something curious. A variant was also produced by Mephisto under the name "Schachcomputer 64" but there was no hidden chessboard under it. A test game showing its general level.

In fact, I currently have 2 Saitek Calculators + 1 Mephisto. For sale, you have here the Mephisto (in box) + the Saitek Calculator.

Fidelity Eldorado Chess Challenger

   This Fidelity Eldorado Chess Challenger was produced in 1990. But it's a low cost game and it contains a variant of the first Chess Challenger from the beginning of the 80s.

   Here is a test game. It looks like the first Chess Challenger that used to display "I lose" just before the final move.

Secondo (Novag)

   The Novag Secondo is from 1988. It is a small travel game (10x20 cm). The moves are made by pushing the pieces.

   It includes one of the first release of the small Novag software of 4Kb ROM and 256 bytes RAM on a 8MHz processor. There are only 16 different game levels. It's a quite weak software. Here is a test game.

Secondo Nathan (Novag)

   In France, the game producer Nathan integrated the Novag Secondo inside a box called "jeu d'échecs electronique de voyage" with an introduction booklet.

   "Jeux Nathan" is printed on the game but it's really a standard Novag Secondo. Here is a test game.

Condor (Novag)

   The Novag Condor is from 1990. It is similar to the Novag Crystal, except its nice white colour.

   It includes the small Novag software of 4Kb ROM and 256 bytes RAM on a 8MHz processor. There are only 16 different game levels. It's a quite weak software. Here is a test game.

Mentor Junior (Novag)

   The Novag Mentor Junior is a very rare game, only distributed in France. It has nothing to do with the Novag Mentor. But it's identical to the Novag Crystal / Novag Condor. it's just another name because the box includes a small book to learn chess.

   IHere is a test game.

Coral (Novag)

   The Novag Coral is from 1992. Il looks similar to the Novag Condor.

   It includes the same small Novag software of 4Kb ROM and 256 bytes RAM on a 8MHz processor. Here is a test game.

Computer Chess Game (Gakken, 199?)

   This Gakken Computer Chess has no date indicated, but it's probably from the 90s. Gakken was a japanese company that produced several kind of small electronic games. This one is imported in France by Lansay. It includes a 4-bits CPU with 8Kb of Memory. There are only two levels: one agressive and one defensive. Both are allmost identical and very weak. Here is a test game.

Ultimate Chess Challenge (dans une console Atari Lynx)

   Fidelity put its name on this game for the Atari Lynx in 1991. The game style is very similar to the Tiny Chess.

   It's a weak software see this test game.

CXG Sphinx Portachess 2

   This CXG Porta Chess 2 (CXG 223) has a box and a user manual copyrighted 1992. It was bought in 1993. But the user manual is the same as the CXG202. It seems to be a redesign of the old CXG Portachess that you can see in the prehistory page.

   Here is a test game.

CXG Sphinx Madrid

   This CXG Sphinx Madrid is from 1992. It has 16 levels and is able to solve mate in 2 problems. This game was distibuted in France, with a user manual in French, English and Spanish. This game was also available by Tandy under the name Radioshack 1300.

   It's a quite weak software. During this test game at 2 mn per move, it defends not so badly but on Overtom site, you can see a fast game lost in 13 moves.

Novag Opal

   The novag opal was published in 1992. It's a weak programm (4Kb ROM and 256 bytes of RAM on a 8MHz processor, with an opening library of 630 positions).

   The little chessboard is nice. Later, this chessboard will include stronger programs under the name of: Opal Plus, Opal II, Star Opal.A first test game at level 1mn per move was catastrophic. So I made a second test game at level 3mn per move showing better its general level..

Novag Topaz

   The Novag Opal was referenced "Article N°9205", the Novag Topaz was "Article N° 9206". Both contained the same software in a different package. The Topaz is very nice for traveling, with its compact size and its readible magnetic pieces. But the user have to enter the moves by typing coordinates on the keyboard.

   This software corresponds to my real game level (average). I beated it during this test game without cheating; it means without using the take back function.

Novag Onyx

   The novag Onyx was referenced: "Article N° 9207". Once again, it's a software similar to the one included in the Opal and the Topaz.

   The Novag Onyx is a very small game.

   Here is a test game.

Novag Jasper

   The Novag Jasper is a very small travel game. It was produced at the end of the 90s but it incluses a variant of the 4Ko ROM (768 octets RAM) / 8MHz software (already included in the Novag Opal in 1992). It's a weak programme: it plays well most of the time but includes big mistakes. See a test game showing well the software errors and another one where it played better. It has many functionalities including a take back function on 32 half moves. The only missing point is an "info" able to display the next moves analysed, very usefull to learn and progress and available for instance on the Novag Ruby.

Novag Jasper Special

   The Novag Jasper Special is a game that looks identical to the Novag Jasper. It has the same user guide and I replayed this Jasper game. The moves played by the Jasper Special were the same.

   The only difference is probably the availability of small magnetic chess pieces.

Novag Granite

   The Novag Granit is from the year 2000. It was the last very little game published by Novag. But on this game, the moves are entered by moving the pieces on the chessboard and not using the keybard. It's again a variant of the 4Ko ROM (768 octets RAM) / 8MHz software. It's here distributed in partnership with Ravensburger.

   Here is a test game.

Novag Tourmaline

   The Novag Tourmaline is similar to the Novag Jasper in another design. It's also a game for traveling with magnetic pieces, tray for the pieces and a compact size (around 20 x 20 cm). This is not a sensory chess board: the move have to be entered using the keyboard.

   Here is a test game.

Novag Tourmaline Plus

   The Novag Tourmaline plus is a Tourmaline with minor enhancements.

   It remains a 4Kb software and the game level is quite weak.

   Here is a test game.The user guide is a copy - only in English.

Novag "Play with Mickey"

   The Novag "Play with Mickey" - "Ordinateur de jeux Mickey" looks like a Tourmaline but the content is very different. There are 4 games: Chess, Checkers, TicTacToe and Bingo.

   The chess game has only two game levels - one beginner and one advanced.

   Here is a test game at advanced level.

Novag Amethyst

   The Novag Amethyst is again another variant of the 4Kb software of Novag, published in 1994.

   It's again a travel chess but the moves are indicated by pushing the pieces on the chessboard. This game is a best seller with its low cost and travel packaging.

   Here are two variants of a test game. Globally it played well but you can also see its main weaknesses: bishop blocked and no reaction against a h pawn attack.

Novag Aquamarine premier

   The Novag Aquamarine is from 1996. It includes the same software as the Jasper and the Tourmaline. But it's a game packaged for beginners, with a 150 pages book from Eric Birmingham and Pierre Nolot: "Initation au jeu d'échecs". This book is illustrated with a lot of humour by Pierre Bretagnolle, who often worked for the magazine Europe Echecs.

   Here is a test game.

Novag Agate

   The novag Agate is from 1996. It includes a 16k / 8MHz software with an opening library of 8500 moves and 64 game levels, probably a variant of the 16k / 8Mhz software of the Novag VIP (1987), Primo (1988) and Mentor 16 (1989). The software is weak (1450 ELO ?) and looks similar to the 4K / 8MHz software of the opal / topaz except for the opening library. Here is a test game. Later was produced a "Novag Agate plus" but it did not look different except he had 128 game levels. This Novag Agate works well but is damaged (spots near the display). So it's a small price.

Novag Agate Plus

   The novag Agate Plus is from the year 2000. it looks like the Novag Agate except it has 128 levels. Some are very unusual. For instance, there is a level where the Novag plays as long as its opponent.

   Here is a test game.

Novag Opal II

   The Novag Opal II is from 1996. It includes probably the same software as the Novag Agate because it is referenced 9601 and the Novag Agate is referenced 9602.

   It plays a very passive game without making major mistakes. Here is a test game.

Chess Companion (Saitek)

   The Saitek Chess Companion (1994) has nothing in common with the Scisys Chess Companion II (1983). It includes a small 2Kb software (+ 288x4 bits of RAM). This is the ancestor of the 4 Kb software that will later be used for the Saitek "small level small price" serie (see the Elite here under). The 64 levels are not well balanced. There is no detail in the manual but I made some tests (average time in the middle of the game): level B1 to B8: around 1mn per move, level from C1 to C8: from 10 mn to 1 H per move, level from D1 to D8: from 5 to 10 heures par move. This game looks like a prototype with a very weak level. Here is a catastrophic test game at 10 mn per move. Then I tried another test game at one hour per move: not so much better.

Chess Partner 2 (Saitek)

   The Saitek Kasparov Chess Partner 2 is a variant of the Saitek Chess Companion. It has exactly the same user guide.

   It has the same game levels. Here is a test game at level B8 (around 1 mn per move). The game level is weak. It's a game for beginners.

Solar Star (Mephisto)

   The mephisto Solar Star (1996) includes a software clearly derived from the chess partner 2. But it has 128 game levels: 64 "turbo mode" with batteries and 64 weaker with solar cell power. The Solar mode works well outside during cloudy days. In any case, it's a game for beginners, but in solar mode at the weaker level, it really plays badly. Here is a game in turbo mode and a game in solar mode at the maximum level.

Kasparov Elite (Saitek)

   The following 4 games are including variants of a small programme "for beginners" from Saitek: 4Kb / 4 MHz / (développed by Ulf Türke ?). This programme with some enhancement is now sold in packages like the Mephisto Chess Trainer.

   This Kasparov Elite (1996) is the older one, using 4 batteries. The level timing is not well balanced: The first levels are very short; the higher beginner level (d8) is at 30s / move and the advanced levels (g1 to h8) are very long: around 3 hours per move for the h1 level.

   Here is a test game at 30s/move (beginner) and a game at 3 hours per move (advanced).

Coach partner (Saitek)

   The Saitek Coach Partner is also from 1996 mais it just needs 3 batteries. The game levels look identical..

   Here is a test game won in 15 moves at an intermediate level(I16). This is the last level playable with an acceptable response time (less than 2mn).

Kasparov Electronic Chessman

   The Kasparov Electronic Chessman (1996) was the travel release of the Elite, with the "non auto" function removed. It just needs 2 batteries but is still very long at level h1.

Kasparov Travel Mate (Saitek)

   The Kasparov Travelmate includes probably the same software as the Elite and the Chessman, with some minor enhancements, perhaps around the processor speed. This game is also very long at level h1 and it played a very similar game. Here is the test game.

   The documentation is a copy of the Kasparov Aria one, clearly similar.

Kasparov Atlas (Saitek)

   The Kasparov Atlas was sold 150F (22 Euros, $30) in 2000. It has a design similar to the Elite, except a color change, but many details are different: it only needs 2 batteries, it includes 2 new functions "teach mode" and "hint", a button removed: "clock", and only one button for go/stop. The game levels are better designed with some fixed depth levels until 6 half moves and some average levels between 1s and 15 min per move.

   Here is a test game at 2 mn/move. This programme was first sold under the name and colour of the Elite before becoming the Atlas.

Kasparov Junior Master (Saitek)

   The Kasparov Mephisto Junior Master is a Kasparov Atlas variant from the year 2002. It's the "small price game" from Saitek, with funs levels to maintain beginners motivation.

   Here is a test game at 3 mn per move.

Pioneer (Krypton)

   Krypton published several low cost game at the begining of the 90s. Its hardware is based on a motorola chip copyrighted 1993. This game has 72 levels and is probably identical to the Tiger series here under.

Here is a test game.

Micro Chess (Krypton)

   The Krypton Micro Chess includes a software on a 4Kb ROM with 176 o RAM. There are 36 game levels.

   It's a European game with a user guide in German, french and Dutch.

    Here is a test game.

Chess Grand Master (Tiger electronics)

   This low cost game was published in 1998. It has 72 levels. The strongest one is the 72, With an average time of 4 to 5 minutes per move and a mate in 2 solving capability. So the other levels are not usefull. It's a weak programm during opening phase but I found it interesting in middle game.Here is a test game showing its general level..

Voice Master (Tiger electronics)

   This game seems to be a variant of the Tiger Chess Grand Master. It has the same 72 levels and is also from 1998. But it also has a funny and unusual function called "tiger mode". Each move is played with a time countdown (starting at 5s per move) and the software gives some points regarding to the move quality. In case of chessmate, the player can continue a new game at an higher level. This device also includes a French voice.

   It's clearly a game to learn, with several dedicated functions (grand master games, games with reduced material, support by French messages etc). Here is a test game.

Chess Marathon (Tiger electronics)

   I was surprised by this game. It's cheap, It can only find mate in 2 and it is unable to solve most of the classical problems of mid and end games. But here is the story of my first game: I played fast and after some turns found a "nice combination" with a double attack of a rook + knight by one of my right wing pawn. He answered by some chess and I thought it was linked to the horizon effect. I finally took a rook against a pawn ... and its queen attacked my weak right wing. I save my king but lost one tower and 2 pawns. It has an aggressive style (looking similar to the Sargon 2.5) and the player needs to be careful in defense. Here is a test game.

   This game is like new but the battery cover was replaced by a piece of card.

Star Wars Episode 1
Electronic Galactic Chess (Tiger)

   As far as I know, there are only 3 chess computers with pieces and logo in a fantasy style: this Tiger Chess Starwars, the Novag Disney Magic castle and the Mickey's 4in1 computer.

   I think it's the same program as the Tiger Chess Marathon because it has the same instruction manual. It may find only the mate in 2. But it clearly have a nice look, even if everything is plastic. It's also not so easy to play because the pieces are Star Wars Episode 1 figures. If you want some description, the instruction manual is available on Hasbro's site.

Millennium Karpov Schachpartner

   Millennium distributed several low cost chess computers. The Karpov Schachpartner (M126, 1998) was one of the first of this serie (just after the Millennium Schachschule 2000 from 1997). It was presented as "the first chess computer that includes hundreds of great masters games". It plays chess and checkers.
   It's a German release. I do not have the original user manual and I replaced it by the "Orion 2000" that looks very similar. I compared it with the Tiger Chess Marathon that looks similar but these are different programs: the Millennium Karpov Schachpartner is weaker. Here is a test game.

Millennium Chess & Games

   It's clearly a mass market machine:
      - a very small, cheap and pretty machine (it's not a touch screen).
      - a weak chess program (see this test game).
      - it's first of all a chess game but 7 other games (with a weak level) are available: checkers, reversi, 4 in a row, halma variant etc. These games are funny to play.
      - the device also includes 220 champion chess games
      - easy to use for selecting a new game and start to play, but you have to take a look in the instruction manual for the advanced functions.

   Globally, it's a machine for fun, not to become a good chess player. This game was also distributed by Ravensburger under the name Sakkara Spica.

Millennium Orion 4 in 1

   The Orion 4 in 1 is sold around 50 euros and widely distributed in Europe.

   The chess program is weak (see this test game). It also includes checkers, de Halma (simplified) and NIM. It's a mass market product well designed and nice to use.


Millennium Orion 6 in 1

   The Millennium Orion 6 in 1 was published in 2004 and it replaced the 4 in 1. It plays 6 games: Chess, Checkers, Halma, Nim, Reversi and 4 in a row.

   This is a best seller widely distributed for christmas each year. This is a mass market device, cheap, well made and nice to use. Its only default: It really plays badly and can beat only beginers.

   So this is a game to discover chess, a toy for fun but any player who wants to progress a bit will have to use a more sophisticated software. The average player could just test it on very fast games or use it to play checkers.

Millennium Orion Intelligent Chess

   The Orion Intelligent Chess is from 2007 and it replaced the 6 in 1. It plays 8 games: Chess, Checkers, Halma, Nim, Reversi, 4 in a row, Fox and geese, northcote.

   The LCD screen is usefull to better display the moves but this game remains weak.

   Here is a test game.

Saitek 4 in 1

   The electronic 4in1 is a nice game made by Saitek in 1999. It includes four different games: chess, checker, 4 in a row and a Master Mind.

   The chess software has major weaknesses in the opening phase. It usually select weak positions and a club player will have no difficulty to take the advantage. Here are two test games showing well these early weaknesses: game 1 and Game 2.

Yeno 301XL

   Yeno was a French company specialized in importing electronic games from Asia.

   The Yeno 301XL has a nice design but it contains a weak programme, without opening library. It has 16 level of games from 3s to 16 mn per move.

   Here is a test game at 2 minute 30 per move.

Yeno 540XT

   The Yeno 540 XT (1996) is a very popular electronic chess game in France because it was cheap. It includes the same exercise book as the Yeno 416 XL but it is a weaker software, similar to the 320 XT.

   It is easy to beat it but it offers different variants with several game styles. Here are some games at 2mn per move:
      - classic style
      - classic style (other opening)
      - agressive style
      - defensive style

320XT (Yeno)

   The Yeno 320 XT has a design similar to the Yeno 301XL but a different content. It contains an 8 bit programm with 8Kb ROM and 256 bytes RAM, with an opening library of 100 half moves. It could solve mate in 5 but the user manual indicates a required average comutation time of 1 month. I tested it on a mat in 3. On the user manual was written 1 hour and it took around 3 hours.

   The programm looks similar to those of the "Tiger Chess" serie, with 4 game styles (Normal, Agressive, Defensive, Random). Here is a test game.

325XL (Yeno)

   The Yeno 320 XT was followed by the 325 XL that looks very similar. The user guide is allmost identical but there are maybe some little variants in the algorithm.

   This test game shows well its weaknesses in some complex exchange situations.

Chess Pro (Lexibook)

    In 1997, Lexibook bought Yeno. This Lexibook Chess Pro is identical to the Yeno 320 XT/325XL. On the user manual picture, we can see that a first name for the chess pro was "Lexibook 325XL". Lexibook rated this game 1800.

   Here is a test game

Les Echecs avec Mickey (Lexibook)

   This is not a chess computer. However, it's funny to see that Lexibook also published a game to learn chess, with plastic pieces (reused from Yeno) and a French book to learn chess presented by Anatoly Karpov and Mickey Mouse. If a chess computer was included, they would probably have trouble with Millennium (in partnership with Anatoly Karpov) and Novag (in partnership with Disney).

ChessMan Pro (Lexibook)

   The ChessManPro is from 2001. It clearly includes a software derived from the ChessPro. It also has 15 levels in 4 different game styles but the timing is different and it includes a "learning" function that display with a led if the move played is the best for the ChessManPro.

   Here are 2 test games showing its weak level: a weakness in the opening and my classical test game.

Chesslight (Lexibook)

   The Chesslight is also lnown under the name 425XLights (as indicated on the user manual) and LCG3000 (Lexibook reference). It contains the same software as the Chesspro. The design is unusual: the pieces are transparent and the moves are indicated by a big led under each square. On my game, the pieces design is modern and is different from the one visible on the package.

    Here is a test game (similar to the Chessmanpro)

ChessManlight (Lexibook)

   The ChessManLight is a mxture of the Chessmanpro and the Chesslight. Like in the Chesslight, there is a big red led on each square to indicate clearly the moves. This is very useful for beginners - especially children. But the transparent pieces are not easy to identify (pawn/bishop, queen/rook). A beginner should use little pieces in wood to better recognize them.

   Here is a nice test game

Travel Chess Explorer (Lexibook)

   The Travel Chess Explorer is from 2003. It's a simple and robust travel chess. It includes the same programme as the ChessManPro without the "learning" function: there are only 2 leds to indicate "chess" and "draw/mate".

   At the same level, it is also slower than the ChessManPro. The take back works only for 4 half moves.

   Here is a test game showing its weak level.

Kasparov Alchemist (Saitek)

   One of the first release (1998) of this "first price" chess computer from Saitek on a 4.2 MHz processor. It's designed for beginners and casual players. This one includes an "opening coach" function to be trained on 16 different opening lines. A default: it's not possible to enter a position :-( Here is a test game showing its weak level.

Saitek Kasparov Aragon

   The Aragon (4.2 MHz, 1998) is an Alchemist variant that talks a French not allways understandable. For instance, to indicate the end of the game, it said "blanc ma" (white ma) - instead of "blanc matte" and that's probably a misspelling error after an English to French translation.

   There is no led to indiate the moves but the screen is well readable and the coordinates are written on each square. It's a game for beginers but there is no book to learn chess. The game level is weak; see this test game at 3 mn per move. This game will later be replaced by the Mephisto / Saitek Talking Chess Trainer (2003) with minor evolutions.

Saitek Kasparov Blade (with bugs!)

   The Blade is from 1998 and it looks a bit like the coach partner, but with a little display screen and a speach function. The software is probably similar to the one in the Aragon. This game speaks French but this functionality is full of bugs. For instance, he says pawn instead of bishop, knight instead of rook, chessmate instead of chess. This game has also an hardware problem: the h collumn is not working. So it's impossible to perform a full game. Here is a game start.

   This game is rare in French, probbaly because it was removed from the market due to its bad quality. I sell it for 1 euor (+ shipping cost) for the spare parts (box, manual, pieces) or if you want to listen to the bugs.

Mephisto Chess Trainer (Saitek)

   There was several variants of the Alchemist with small differences. The Chess trainer was sold in 2003 for an approximative price of 60 euros.

   This game is clearly targeted for children and beginers with its fun levels - very easy - to keep motivation. The main new function: a little face making comments but there is no more "opening coach" function :-(.

Saitek Kasparov Talking Chess Trainer

   The Saitek Talking Chess trainer (2003) is a variant of the Saitek Aragon here above. Like the Aragon, It speaks a very approximative French.

   It's a nice game. The beginers and the average players will appreciate the take back function on 14 half moves. In my case, I used it in this test game where I had some difficulties to finish.

LCD Computer Chess (Lexibook)

   The Lexibook LCD Computer Chess (CG100) is from 2001 and is identical to the Excalibur LCD Computer Chess. It is manufactured for the European Market, with a user guide in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.

   It's a low cost handheld game, without touch screen. The display is of high quality, it is easy to use and there are all the necessary functions: Position entering, position evaluation, information on the next moves expected, take back, 30 openings learning, 16 great games, exercises with the black king in the middle of the board.

   Here is a test game.

Novag Graphite (Pack Initiation)

   This pack initiation distributed in France in 2003 came from a collaboration between Ravensburger and Novag. It contains a 125 pages book in French well made to learn chess and a "Novag Graphite" chess computer (identical to the Novag Beryl, Star Beryl, Amethyst, Tourmaline): It's a low cost hardware (around 50 euros) with a small software (4Kb ROM and 728 bytes RAM on a 8MHz processor, opening library of 800 half moves). It's not a champion but at 3mn per move, it plays not so badly, see this test game. Unfortunately, there is no led and it is its only default: the moves played by the Novag Graphite are indicated on a small LCD screen with a poor lisibility.

Novag Star Opal

   The Novag Star Opal is from 2005, nine years after the Opal II that looks very similar.

   It's a 16K software, better than the Graphite and a bit better than the Opal II. It is rated around 1550 ELO, a level a club player will reach fast.

    Here is a test game.

2 in 1 e-Chess & Checkers (Tandy)

   A small chess computer published in 2004 by Radioshack. the software is the same as the Excalibur "LCD Chess & Checkers" but using the old design of the 'Excalibur "Talking E-Chess" (that was only playing chess and had talking capabilities).

   The LCD display is clear: the knight looks like a knight. The user manual is sometime not easy to understand. It's an average level program. See for instance a test game.

Mephisto Micro travel Chess Computer

   This travel game with sensitive screen was published in 2004 with a cost of only 40 euros. It has the same package as the Saitek Cosmic but it's not the same device. The Cosmic was more expensive (60 euros) and included 100 game levels including competitions levels, analyse etc. The Micro travel has only 50 game levels including 45 "fun level" and only 5 competitions levels, with the slower at only 15s per move !? A manufacturing default ?

   The piece appearance on screen is not very clear and there is no backlight (this option is only available on the Maestro Travel Chess that costs 105 euros). This is a chess computer to make progress, with a small price. It plays several variants in the openings and defends not so bad. See for instance a test game.

Mephisto Maestro Travel Chess Computer

   This travel game is the top model of Saitek, with a touch screen and an efficient backlight. The pieces display is simple but readable enough.

   The game level is globally a bit weak (1650 ELO) but it may be very different between games. At 2mn per move, here is a bad test game and a better game.

Excalibur Saber IV (model 901E-4)

   The Saber IV is a low cost device manufactured by Excalibur. This release is from 2006 and is distributed in France in low cost shops called GIFI, for the price of 30 euros. It's a French/UK release. The chessboard is quite small (16x16cm). It's not a champion but it is better than the other low cost games, regarding to functionality and game level (around 1700 ELO). The word "Saber IV" only appears in the game manual and the box. The game also exists under the name "deluxe electronic chess". Saber is in fact a young girl, Manga character who owns the sword excalibur. Here is a test game: it defends quite good.

Excalibur Chess Station

   The Chess Station includes a software very similar to the Saber IV one. This is a travel game but it's possible to connect it to a small sensitive chess board, with movements captured by pressing the starting and ending square.Its game level is better than the other low cost software. It's a good game for beginers.

   I made two test games showing well its offensive style in the middle game but also its weaknesses in defense or finale. During this first game, it started well but was trapped by the sacrifice of a white knight followed by Mate in some moves. During this second game, it focused on attack and forgot the defense.

Excalibur Touch Chess II


   The Excalibur Touch Chess II is very small and includes a touch screen. The software is nice but the screen is not readable enough. Here is a test game.

2Robot (Novag)
Price: available in stores (around $ 200) - for instance:
- Europe:
- USA:
and many others.

   The Novag 2robot is a fascinating game without any competitor on the market. It moves its pieces with a robotic arm. Even with such high tech, the selling price remains low.

   It's a game designed for beginners and casual players. At lowest level, a beginner will be motivated because he should be able to beat it. At 3mn per move, I was able to beat it without using the take back option (without cheating). It means it's probably a weak software, rated around 1500/1600 ELO. Here is the test game.

   To conclude, it's a very nice object that will attract the robotic fans, the beginners and the average players. The strongest players should beat it easily but will buy it as a very nice object

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