Manfred Hegener and Florian Glaser started their business in 1969 in order to produce semi conductors. In 1978 they came into contact with programmers Thomas Nitsche and Elmar Henne. In 1980 the Brand “Mephisto” was created and the first German chess computer Mephisto I also nicknamed “Das Brickett (The Brick)” was sold to the German public.
In 1984 Hegener & Glaser managed to add programmer Richard Lang to their Team who in that year with his “Psion” chess computer software had just finished in a shared 1st place with three other competitors in the 1984 World Microcomputer Chess Championship (WMCCC). Theoretically Richard Lang’s “Psion” although equal on points would have won this tournament due to the tougher Swiss pairing, however as four machines finished in equal first place, they all agreed to share the championship. Since Thomas Nitsche and Elmar Henne’s Mephisto III-S Glasgow also competed in this 4th WMCCC, this meant that Hegener & Glaser now had two world champion programmers in their Team. Interestingly, Mephisto III-S Glasgow was a commercial program whereas the other first place finishers where either experimental computers not yet available in the market or as in “Psion’s” case a software program. Hegener & Glaser could therefore claim and advertise their Mephsito III-S Glasgow as the 1984 Commercial World Champion.
Richard Lang’s Mephisto programming at Hegener & Glaser proved to be an extremely successful venture as he went on to win the next six World Microcomputer Chess Championships:
04. 1984 Glasgow Fidelity Elite X, Conchess X, Mephisto III-S Glasgow, Psion
05. 1985 Amsterdam Mephisto Amsterdam
06. 1986 Dallas Mephisto Dallas
07. 1987 Rome Mephisto Roma
08. 1988 Almeria Mephisto Almeria
09. 1989 Portoroz Mephisto Portorose
10. 1990 Lyon Mephisto Lyon
This success made Mephisto the world’s largest and successful manufacturer of dedicated chess computers during the 1980’s.
In 1989 Hegener & Glaser bought their flailing American competitor Fidelity Electronics, but by 1992 Hegener & Glaser themselves were in trouble due to the changing market demand which had switched to the increased mass of cheap but strong personal computer chess software.
Finally in 1994, Hegener & Glaser sold their company to Saitek Ltd. after having suffered some large losses and setbacks in the previous two years, many of which were caused when they had to absorb enormous losses made by Fidelity Electronics in North America which ultimately caused the downfall of both companies.