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About Novag Model 902 Super Forte C (1990) Electronic Chess Computer



NOVAG SUPER FORTE C Electronic Chess Computer -  LCD Display..

NOVAG SUPER FORTE C Electronic Chess Computer -  LCD Display.


The Novag Super Forte C program when switched on displays as standard Level 3 Select 5. Novag Super Forte Version B will display Level 3 Select 3 whereas Novag Super Forte Version A will only display _level 1.




LEVELS: The SUPER FORTE has 65 selectable levels and they are divided into groups to suite every player:

  • 15 Tournament Levels:  Strictly keeping to the time control and will not exceed the time allowed.
  • 1 User Select Level:  You may select any time control that you wish to play with and you may select different controls for White and Black.
  • 8 Sudden Death Levels:  Clocks count down and whichever side that does not complete the game within the time allowed is considered lost and the SUPER FORTE will indicate on the LCD “overstep”.
  • 16 Fixed Time Controls:  Every move must be made within the time allowed for every move e.g. 2 seconds a move means that you will not be allowed to use more than 2 seconds a move.
  • 5 Novice Levels:  The SUPER FORTE will restrict its search so that it will deliberately play weaker to accommodate the beginner.
  • 19 Fixed Depth Levels:  For really deep analysis and the SUPER FORTE will search the number of moves as selected by you up to 19 half moves deep.
  • 1 Infinite Level:  Will force the SUPER FORTE to compute on and on until a mate is found or if there is only one move in the position or if you press GO to terminate the search.

VERIFY key:  This is used to check if the position on the board is exactly the same as that held in the SUPER FORTE’s memory.

SETTING UP A SPECIAL POSITION:  Press the Verify/Setup key twice and you will be in the SETUP mode and you may now clear the board of all the pieces by pressing the CLEAR BOARD key. Now you can set up game positions and problems to suit your imagination.

CHANGE COLOR key:  This key has three functions:

  • When in VERIFY or SETUP modes this changes the color for the entry or verification of the board position.
  • When pressed before the start of a new game (after pressing NEW GAME) this will reverse the board with White playing down the board, therefore please put the White pieces on the top of the board and the Black pieces in front of you.
  • When pressed at any time during a game (except when SUPER FORTE is computing) you will be asked to change sides? You will have to press YES key to confirm that you wish to do so otherwise press NO key to continue your game. WARNING: this will erase all the moves in the game history if you accept the change.

CLEAR BOARD key: This key has three functions:

  • When in SETUP mode this will clear the entire board.
  • When in PRO-OP mode this will delete your special book.
  • When pressed at all other times this will act as a clear entry key.

TRACE FORWARD:  To use this key it is best to first restore the game to the starting position. If you started the game from a special SETUP position then the the restore game key sequence will return you to that position.

HINT key:  Pressing this key:

  • ON YOUR MOVE:  This will show up to 8 half moves ahead the best variation that the SUPER FORTE computed the move previously.
  • WHILE COMPUTING:  The SUPER FORTE will always display the best variation that it has found so far and this will constantly change according to the circumstances. Press this key until the entire variation is displayed.

PLAYER/PLAYER key: When this mode is entered (2 beeps) the SUPER FORTE takes no part in the game unless instructed by GO. A chess game between two parties could then be played or a chess game entered for processing by a personal computer (needs to be connected to an IBM compatible personal computer). All moves are checked for the side to move. This mode may be selected at any time except while the SUPER FORTE is computing.

BEST MOVE/RANDOM key:  Selecting this mode will force the SUPER FORTE to randomly choose between 2 or more moves which are almost equal in their evaluation. Games of great variety may be played using this mode.

TAKE BACK key:   If you make a mistake and wish to retract your move you may press the TAKE BACK key. There is no limit to the number of moves that you retract but you must remember to replace the captured pieces, castling etc. whenever indicated by the SUPER FORTE on the LCD.

FLIP DISPLAY/INFO key:  If the INFO mode is selected you will be able to observe how the SUPER FORTE computes a move with the evaluation changing as it goes deeper into a position. The LCD will display various information retaining each display for a short while before going to the next and cycling through until the best move has been found. To fix a certain display so that it will always show on the LCD press the FLIP DISPLAY key until the information you want is on the LCD. The SUPER FORTE will then use this at all times until you select another display or if you press NEW GAME. Order of display for INFO mode:

  • 1) Time for both sides.
  • 2) Move list.
  • 3) Accumulated time for side to move and time used for this move so far.
  • 4) Best move and evaluation.
  • 5) Depth reached in half moves and iteration count.
  • 6) Number of nodes, variations searched.

STORE GAME key:  Used to store a game into one of the 10 game numbers provided by SUPER FORTE. You may save long games into any game number but this will then leave less room for the other games. If some games stored are too long the remainder of the game numbers will not be available.

RESTORE GAME key:  Used to restore any of the games stored in the 10 locations reserved for this use. Press SET LEVEL and then the key marked RESTORE GAME.

ANALYZE GAMES key:  You may make the SUPER FORTE compute a reply for all the games stored in the 10 memory locations at any level that you wish. If you set a high level you will have to wait a long time before it completes the computation for the stored games. DO NOT set the SUPER FORTE at a level that takes too long or where the depth fixed is too deep (more than 10 half moves) or at INFINITE level. Note that the SUPER FORTE will only analyze the locations that contain games and will ignore the empty ones. NOTE: if you wish to see the moves that were computed for all the 10 game numbers you will have to restore each game number in turn and press FLIP DISPLAY to see the evaluation of the move played by the SUPER FORTE.

REVIEW key:  This feature acts as a tutorial into a game of chess where the SUPER FORTE guides you through the current game in memory and to point out where tactics exist but which were not played. It is well known that in any game of chess the human players tend to miss out on simple tactics always looking out for strategical play or other positional factors which require less analysis. This lazy approach often loses out to a computer whose main preoccupation is with the tactical devices that exist in any position.

GAMBIT BOOK key:  This narrows down the choice that the SUPER FORTE have in deciding which opening to play. This will force the SUPER FORTE to always select the gambit associated with any opening that you wish to play against it. However, if no gambits exist for your selected opening line against it then it will exit the opening book and will play logically from then on.

NEXT BEST key: This feature is for you to check if another good move is playable instead of the one just played. After you have taken back the last move indicated, the SUPER FORTE will immediately begin computing the next best move that is available in the position. If such a move is found it will be played, but if no other move is nearly equal in evaluation, the SUPER FORTE will play the same move again.

TOURNAMENT BOOK key: This narrows down the choice that the SUPER FORTE have in deciding which opening to play. This will force the SUPER FORTE to always select the best variation associated with any opening that you wish to play against it.

TIME CONTROL key:  This special mode will allow you to view all 64 levels with their respective time controls instead of just a level number.

PRO-OP - PROGRAMMABLE OPENING BOOK key: This mode will allow you to program your own openings into the SUPER FORTE.

PRIORITY key:  To make the SUPER FORTE select a preferred line more often you may before entering this opening variation press the PRIORITY key:

  • PRO-OP BOOK/BOTH BOOKS:  You may play in the PRO-OP mode using only your own book but you may also select the SUPER FORTE’s book to supplement your book.
  • PRINT BOOK:  This will print out the entire PRO-OP book if you are connected to a NOVAG CHESS PRINTER.

INTERFACE key:  This mode can be used iw you are connected to an IBM PC XT AT or compatible computers and also have a communications port designated COM1 with a 25 pin connector.

NOTE: All of the above characteristics apply to all SUPTER FORTE’s, versions A, B and C.




Compared to the NOVAG SUPER FORTE B version, the selective move evaluation functions of the NOVAG SUPER FORTE C version was significantly further improved.  More pondering calculations are now performed compared to previous versions.  In addition, a new technique for recursive move evaluation is now integrated into the search in order to prevent missing out on promising variations.

The NOVAG SUPER FORTE C versions positional evaluation improvements are the main differences between it and the previous A and B versions.  For chess programs an increase in positional play results at the same time in a reduction in the tactical qualities. To a certain degree the reduction in the tactical play can be compensated by the reduction of the selective play setting (= lower than 4).

As a result of this change, chess problems with a high tactical content can increase the solving times for the NOVAG SUPER FORTE C version when comparing the time to the previous A and B versions. This phenomenon however should not be mistaken as proof for the fact that the NOVAG SUPER FORTE C version program is lower in play strength. Professional chess programmers consider this increase in positional play knowledge a positive improvement that should provide a significant improvement of the ELO rating strength.

The NOVAG SUPER FORTE C version has all the new functions that were introduced with the NOVAG SUPER FORTE B version with the exception of the VERBOSE function which has been replaced by the numerous new functions added to the SUPER INTERFACE SYSTEM.

  • The degree of selective search can be chosen by the user.
  • User Settable Speed Chess timings are allowed.
  • Verify whilst thinking is allowed.
  • Display of level and degree of selectivity whilst thinking is allowed.
  • Scrolling backwards and forwards through the game whilst computer is thinking without changing computer memory is allowed.
  • Start of Game and End of Game keys may be used to control scrolling.
  • SOUND may be switched on or off while the computer is thinking.
  • INFO may be switched on or off while the computer is thinking.
  • AUTOPLAY may be switched on or off whilst the computer is thinking.
  • Improvements and additions to the SUPER INTERFACE SYSTEM to communicate with an IBM PC or compatible.



SET LEVEL key: To choose the degree of selectivity, you press the SET LEVEL key. When you have pressed the SET LEVEL key the display will read level “nn sel m” where “nn” is the current level selected between 1 and 64 and “m” is the current SELECT (selectivity) setting between 0 and 7. To change the SELECT setting use the “-->” key and the number “m” will increase for each depression until it reaches 7 and then reset to 0 etc.

  • SELECT 1:  Means that on the last ply of the given search the computer will only look at moves which are forcing or better than what has been found so far. This means that when the display shows the computer is doing a 6 ply search, for example, then ALL of the moves of the first 5 plies are searched, but only some of the 6th ply moves are looked at. Naturally captures and checks are then examined deeper.
  • SELECT 2:  Means that on the last 2 plies of the given search the computer will only look at moves which are forcing or better that what has been found so far.
  • SELECT 3:  Means the computer will operate its selective search on the last 3 plies of the given search depth.
  • SELECT 4:, Means the computer will operate its selective search on the last 4 plies of the given search depth.the last 4 plies, etc.
  • SELECT 0:  Means the computer will look at all moves up to the given ply depth. When set for SELECT 0 the computer will not overlook any combination which falls within its current search depth.

Recommended choices are SELECT 3 for time controls of less than 3 minutes per move and SELECT 4 for the time controls of 3 minutes or more per move.

Solve Mate always uses SELECT 0” to make sure no mate is overlooked.

Select level may also be used for Infinite time control. Probably the best setting is SELECT 3 or SELECT 4.

The degree of selectivity may be set independently for Black and White. However, the computer will always assume you wish to have the same level for black and white unless you tell it otherwise.


Excerpts taken from the NOVAG SUPER FORTE C  user manual and user manual addendum.


Information on Novag Model 902 Super Forte C (1990) Electronic Chess Computer
Novag Model 902 Super Forte C (1990) Electronic Chess Computer

Technical Specification

Novag Super Forte C (1990)

Novag Model 902 Super Forte C (1990) Game Control Buttons
Novag Model 902 Super Forte C (1990) Computer Label
Novag Model 902 Super Forte C (1990) User Manual

Control Buttons

Computer Label

User Manual

Spacious Mind


Active 2017

Tourn. 2015

















Novag Industries Ltd.

David Kittinger

2200 USCF



1960 SSDF



Original Price:

Wiki ELO:

Model #:


My Serial #:


Processor OEM

MOS Tech.





8 Bit

6 MHz


96 KB


8 KB

Battery Type:

Not Available

Power Adapter:

9V DC 800 mA -/+


16 Board LEDs

Board Type:

Press Sensory

Overall Size:

Board Size:

9x9 in


Options Select:

Button Select

Play Levels:

64 + User Defined

Opening Book:

32K Half Moves

Take Back:

All Moves

Position Setup:


Position Verify:


Move Analysis:

Display Info:



Solve Mate:

Mate in 19

Save Game:




Search Depth:

28 Ply Max.

Provide Hint:


Teach Mode:

Not Available

Change Sides:


Active Level:

TM Level:


Infinite Level:

Infinite Level


Hardware Specification

Game Features

Matchplay & Test ELO Ratings

Computer Game Rating

Rating Test

Other  Computer Chess Ratings



Spacious Mind

Human Rating


CCR 94


Ply 94








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