It was sometime during February 2007 while competing in the 3rd Online WM at schach-computer.info that I started to wonder about why, with a few exceptions, no one ever writes anything with content about the actual playing abilities of chess computers rated below 1400 Elo.
Even in schach-computer.info/wiki, (Wiki) the best informational resource available for dedicated chess computers, many were shown with an estimated Elo value. In the old SSDF Elo lists which are still available on the internet if you search hard enough, these machines were totally ignored.
It seemed that people rarely published anything concerning their experiences regarding the actual gaming abilities of these chess computers. I posses several of these chess computers and I saw this a big frustration at that time of not being able to find more information about items in my collection. Especially, since so many of the vintage pre 1984 chess computers fell into this “lack-of-game-information” category. What had happened to all those Fidelity Chess Challenger 1 games? Did they ever exist? They all seemed to have disappeared from the face of this planet.
The analogy of waking up at the age of 40 and not knowing that you ever existed the day before, sprang to mind. It was at this point when I finally decided that I had enough and that I would instead of continuously frustrating myself with fruitless internet searches, try to recreate those birth years myself. With this in mind, the idea of playing my own under 1400 Elo was formed.
At some point after sorting through my computers and establishing the tournament groups, I informed members at the Ismenio Chess Computer Community Forum which I frequently visit and very much enjoy about my under 1400 Elo chess tournament plans.
Tom a great collector who runs his own wonderful and enormous chess computer website the “Overtom Chess Computer Museum” immediately pointed out the interest and knowledge value my tournament would provide.
This sentiment was echoed by two other well respected collectors for whom I have the highest regard. Mike, a most knowledgeable collector from England whose chess computer web site Chess Computer UK, I frequent all the time because of his immense historical knowledge on the old manufacturers of the past. You should also go and read his detailed articles on “SciSys” as well as his unique “Timeline” that dates pretty much all the chess computers that have ever been manufactured.
And, then there was Alain from France who is another great collector of dedicated chess computers. Alain’s web site at Zanchetta.net is another fantastic source for information where he keeps a huge collection of user manuals for download.
In fact, Alain supported this U1400 Blue Chess Championship by entering his Mephisto Junior (the hand-held travel version) into Group F of Stage 1. These games were played live on the Chessgate server, which was an excellent way of getting acquainted with another fellow collector.
Encouraged by this interest, I went ahead and announced this tournament to my colleagues and community friends at Schachcomputer.Info where it was also received with the same warm welcome and support from the forum members. Especially from Micha the owner and chief chessguru at Schachcomputer.Info and from Robert who has an encyclopedia stored somewhere in the back of his mind with all kinds of knowledge and facts about our hobby. Hans-Juergen a fellow aficionado for the old under 1400 Elo chess computers was especially helpful and provided me with mountains of information about these old chess computers.
More about Hans-Juergen later in the Under 1400 Green Tournament, which is currently a work-in-progress.