Ivan the Terrible - picture taken from box
IVAN THE TERRIBLE COMPUTERIZED CHESS GAME THAT TALKS TO YOU!
Your intelligent talking computer chess opponent... when he talks, you will both be amused and probably abused by his 500-word vocabulary. Even though Ivan may sometimes seem to be letting you win, he is probably preparing a crushing attack because he is an expert chess player at his top level. But not to worry, you have the ability to set his level to as low as rank beginner.
WHAT IS OUR TALKING TEACH MODE? Ivan's Talking Teach Mode teaches beginners in a simple, methodical way the fundamentals of chess, ranging from individual-piece moves to game strategies.
New players can choose from five easy-to-follow Teach Modes..... As you are learning, IVAN is explaining how the pieces move; guiding you through every step. It's fun and exciting and it's now available exclusively in IVAN the talking chess set.
Excerpts taken from the Excalibur Ivan the Terrible box.
DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO? ASK FOR A HINT If you do not know which move to make, or you think the computer might have a better idea, you can ask IVAN for a hint. Press the HINT once and the computer will display what it thinks you should do based on its previous search...... Pressing the HINT button twice this will cause the display to show you the score of the position. The score is always displayed from Ivan's point of view. A plus score is good for IVAN and a minus score is good for you. The numbers range from 0.0 to 9.9 where 1.0 means a pawn and 0.5 means a half a pawn value because of superior position.
The values are: pawn = 1; knight = 3; bishop = 3; rook = 5; queen = 9. Position superiority goes from 0.1 to 0.9
Example - 1.75; Ivan thinks you are up in the position by 1.3/4 of a pawn.
Pressing the HINT button one more time will cause IVAN to display the depth of search that was just used to arrive at this move. The left number is the node number and the right number is the ply number. Nodes are legal chess positions that IVAN is examining each move.
Excerpts taken from the Excalibur Ivan the Terrible user manual.
MORE ABOUT EXCALIBUR IGOR ELECTRONIC CHESS COMPUTER
For many years there had been a lot of discussion regarding program authorship due to a lack of documented information on Excalibur Electronics specifically pertaining to their early day migration from distributor and reseller of chess computers to manufacturer. Ron Nelson author of the first chess computer sold to the public in his days at Fidelity Electronics and later the main person at Excalibur Electronics for programming and developing chess computers, in December 2015, began reporting on the history of Excalibur Electronics as well as Fidelity Electronics, attempting to fill in many of the historical gaps.
Ron Nelson reported that Excalibur Ivan the Terrible was developed by him, using a new program that he wrote for the H8 processor which incorporated some new ideas, including the implementation of Attack Bit Map Tables, a concept Nelson had years previously observed on some Spracklen computers at Fidelity Electronics. Nelson learned the ideas behind Attack Bit Map Tables through subsequent interactions with Ken Thompson who explained to Nelson how the Belle Attack Bit Map Tables worked in practice. Nelson went on to write his own Attack Bit Map Tables with additional new ideas that he wanted to try out that are now incorporated in Excalibur Mirage, Excalibur Ivan the Terrible, Excalibur Grandmaster and Excalibur Igor electronic chess computers.
GM Larry Kaufman was engaged as a chess consultant by Excalibur on the advice of Nelson to assist him in fine tuning the chess knowledge of the new H8 chess program that Nelson initially programmed into Excalibur Mirage and later also implemented in his future other H8 processor models, Ivan the Terrible, Grandmaster and Igor.
Excalibur Ivan the Terrible was contracted for manufacturing by Excalibur Electronics to the EWIG Industries Hong Kong Office in Kowloon which is a subsidiary of EWIG Industries Macao Commercial Offshore Limited in Macau whose electronic manufacturing factory is situated in the Guangdong Province of China.