ABOUT FIDELITY LITTLE CHESSTER CHALLENGER I MODEL 6125 - 25 LEVELS
Congratulations! You are the proud owner of LITTLE CHESSTER CHALLENGER -- an excellent chess opponent with a personality all its own. With his vocabulary of over 345 phrases, LITTLE CHESSTER can teach, demonstrate, assist, tease and amuse. Fidelity's state-of-the-art technology provides you with an amazing computerized opponent that plays chess with skill and cunning and the sensory playing surface enables the computer to automatically sense all game moves. Battery operation allows you to play against this chess opponent whenever you desire. The voice feature provides additional features for you to select from and enables the computer to communicate more information to you than conventional models.
IT’S YOU AGAINST THE COMPUTER! 345 PHRASES TO COACH, TEACH, AMUSE AND ABUSE YOU!
There are two versions of Little Chesster that were sold by Fidelity. A 25 level version as displayed here and also a 33 Level version. The 25 Level version was sold in much larger quantities and easier to find as a result of Fidelity also manufacturing the same computer for Radio Shack as model 1900L and for Sharper Image as model SM 470 in a gray housing. It seems likely that the 25 Level computer was manufactured over a longer period of time.
Both the 25 level computer and 33 level computer when opened show dates as early as 1991. With the 25 level computer dates also extending well into the year 1992. The 33 level computer has also shown dates that extend into 1992 but not as far, however samples are too few.
Fidelity brochures are available for the 33 level computer that display it in 1991 and also in 1992. To-date no brochures have been found for the 25 level Fidelity computer which is surprising as the 25 level computer seems to have much larger production volumes. No documentation has been found predating the 25 level over the 33 level or vice versa.
As a result the Spacious-Mind Website has ordered the 25 level Little Chesster with the nomenclature I and the 33 level Little Chesster with the nomenclature II. This ordering is simply based on the lower level and the assumed larger production volumes. This Website does not imply that one or the other version was developed before the other as that knowledge is to-date uncertain as shown in the below example from a different Fidelity computer:
The Fidelity US manufacturing operations starting in 1980 used a wonderful serial number code which allowed you track which computers were manufactured during the week ending with serialization in most cases occurring on a Friday. The model that is shown in the above example shows ten different production batches starting in June 1982 and finishing in March 1984. This production overlaps into 3 consecutive years.
Unfortunately the imported computers from Hong Kong / China and this computer do not have the same oversight. But we must assume that more than one batch was produced over a period of time.
Due to the lack of documented information available, it is currently uncertain which of the two Little Chesster versions was developed first.
FIDELITY LITTLE CHESSTER I MODEL 6125 - 25 LEVEL GAME CHARACTERISTICS
MORE ABOUT FIDELITY LITTLE CHESSTER CHALLENGER I MODEL 6125 - 25 LEVELS
The chess program was written by Dan and Kathe Spracklen, with modification and enhancements made by Ron Nelson to suit the build of the computer. The Little Chesster speech technology, the software implementation, computer design and build are attributed to Ron Nelson. The same speech technology is also used in all other Fidelity Chesster computers.
The idea for a new voice computer started in 1989 when as quoted by Ron Nelson “Kathy Spracklen wanted to develop something along the educational lines for computer chess. So she started creating a script of what could be said during a game of chess.” Nelson received her script and he subsequently presented her idea in a Marketing meeting. During this meeting the idea of a “Wisecracker personality” was decided upon.
Nelson explained “All during the discussion, Teri Everett (the first Chess Challenger sales person hired, after the 1976 Consumer Electronics Show, held in Chicago at the Conrad Hilton Hotel), who is a doodler, showed the impish figure she had doodled on her note pad. It was the graphic we used for Chesster.”
For the voice system Nelson further explained that he flew to meet a Dr. Forrest Mozer who he had met many years previously at the University of California, Berkely during the time when he was first developing the voice used in the early Fidelity Challenger computers. At that time Dr. Mozer had used his equipment to create the ROM subsequently used in the first speaking Challenger computers.
Dr. Mozer at the time of this meeting in 1989, had started his own Company named Sensory, Inc, now managed by his son. Instead of using a chip as previously used in the Challenger series, Dr. Mozer now offered a 65C02 software solution.
For the Little Chesster, Ron Nelson explained that in order to reduce cost the LCD was eliminated and a single chip Micro-controller Unit (MCU) with external Read-Only Memory (ROM) and Random Access Memory (RAM) was used.
As a result of these efforts, Little Chesster became a three chip solution which allowed the use of a single sided Printed Circuit Board for further cost savings.
Excerpts taken from the Fidelity Little Chesster Challenger I user manual and box and Ron Nelson reports available at the Hiarcs Forum for further reading and research.