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A true relic: CYBER CHESS

 
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Reinfeld
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Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 338
Full Name: Reinfeld
Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:13 am    Post subject: A true relic: CYBER CHESS Reply with quote

I would post my own images here, but it's not easy to do. Best I can give is this link, which includes one reasonable picture, evidently culled from an antique seller:

http://www.boardgameswiki.com/index.php?title=Cyberchess_%28CYBER%29

As you can see, it looks like a big picture frame. You're supposed to set up a board alongside. To understand the physical playing experience, imagine fiddling around with an oversized, bulky iPad, maybe 12 x 16 and an inch thick; but instead of icons and buttons, you get data cards and cardboard sliders that reveal plastic windows with secret answers.

It strikes me that this is rather rare. I found it some years ago at a garage sale. I've never seen another since. It is a chess "machine," created by an early programmer from California who subsequently tried to apply the concept to early PCs, apparently with limited success. The packaging, still shiny in a very dog-eared original envelope, features a photo-signature endorsement from GM Pal Benko, who holds the machine and looks very slick in '70s shades and wide lapels. The ad copy is a hoot:

Quote:
THE ONLY - USER-SELECTABLE - VARIABLE PLAYING STRENGTH - POPULARLY PRICED - CHESS PLAYING MACHINE


I would describe it as a structured multiple-choice puzzle, similar in concept to meet-the-masters or solitaire-chess-style exercises, but with a bit more thought applied. Moderately fun, actually.

A master game is printed on a card, which slides into a slot on a large frame. Within the frame, a cardboard bar glides over a series of cut-out windows. A chess diagram appears. You set up a board at this point so you can follow the moves.

The display is a basic spreadsheet. The cells give you six move options. You have to pick one. You push a cardboard slider that reveals your score for that move.

Ooohh. You chose badly. You lose points. You rotate a proportion wheel on the side of the frame. A mark on the wheel tells you whether you're winning or losing.

This is where variable playing strength comes in. You choose your own playing level on a scale of 1-4, and you receive corresponding scores. If your score is too high, you increase the level so you don't make it too easy on yourself, which means fewer points for right answers, and bigger penalties for screw-ups. The reverse is true if your score is lousy - you dumb it down until you stay even, thereby getting a clearer idea of your strength.

The game cards provide the source material - like a paper version of a master game module. They come in packets, divided into three degrees of difficulty, maybe 10 games per packet, max (I haven't checked lately). The paperwork gives you the option to write to the company (Cyber Enterprises) and ask for more game packets.

In all my searches for the history of this item, I've found very little. Never seen it on ebay, never found anyone discussing it in forums. What I do find is the U.S. patent filed by Norbert K. Mikun, filed in February 1978.

It would be interesting to know whether any of the programmers (or those who know about programmers) ever encountered Mikun.

- R.
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"You have, let us say, a promising politician, a rising artist that you wish to destroy. Dagger or bomb are archaic and unreliable - but teach him, inoculate him with chess."
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Steve B
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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Full Name: Steve B
Location: New York City USofA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: A true relic: CYBER CHESS Reply with quote

Reinfeld wrote:


In all my searches for the history of this item, I've found very little. Never seen it on ebay, never found anyone discussing it in forums. What I do find is the U.S. patent filed by Norbert K. Mikun, filed in February 1978.


I have one of these

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10261668@N05/859035454/in/set-72157600922175252

there were several paper simulations released for sale over the years:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10261668@N05/858186021/in/set-72157600922175252/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10261668@N05/858189369/in/set-72157600922175252/

a nice collectible paper simulation.. would be the one released which covered each game of the 1972 WC Fischer-Spassky WC Match:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10261668@N05/858175917/in/set-72157600922175252


Cyber Chess does appear on Ebay from time to time
it was a great idea for its time and i bought one as soon as they came out..unfortunately it was released in the very same year that the first commercial dedicated chess computer was released for sale (Fidelity Chess Challenger).. as a result Cyber didnt last very long and soon went out of business.. while the dedicated chess computer went on to fame and glory

Bad Timing Regards
Steve
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Cyberchess
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Joined: 08 Jan 2014
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings forum members!

I happened upon this thread while trying to describe Cyberchess to a chess playing friend that was unaware of this non-electronic marvel.
Back in the summer of '79, a local chess equipment salesman stopped by the chess table area in our park and demonstrated a Cyberchess unit he had for sale. As I related to my chess playing friend, I really wanted to buy the unit from him, but I was a struggling student at the time and was tapped out for cash that week. In December of the same year, I received a Fidelity Chess Challenger 7 unit as a gift. Initially I was overwhelmed by the machine's apparent ability to "think," but once the novelty effect had worn off, I found that the machine's playing ability was much too low for me. In retrospect, I would have been much better off with a Cyberchess unit, but as Steve correctly points out, Cyberchess was completely overshadowed by the emerging micro chess computer market. For a few years to follow, ads were placed in Chess Life magazine for Cyberchess and the related program packs, but most of us (myself included) were only interested in the next model of chess computer to be released and the micro tournaments that promoted them.

It wouldn't be until e-Bay became a popular selling venue (circa 1998) that I was fortunate enough to find a new old stock Cyberchess unit with paperwork, included program packs, etc. I was immediately hooked. I set the unit next to my oversized chess set in my den and pondered my choices for weeks on end. It’s great to have a game in progress while cooking, doing chores around the house, etc. The only problem was the scarcity of new program packs, so I wound up buying a second used unit because the previous owner had purchased several program packs to go with it. Given enough time, I suppose that previously played through programs could be reused since the player will have forgotten the correct moves and will have to deduce them from scratch.

According to the included catalog there are also specialty modules such as endgame program packs, etc., though finding these for sale anywhere could be a real challenge these days.

Since the late 90's, I’ve spent the better part of $1,000 on chess software, but aside from all the great chess playing engines out there, I’ve yet to come across anything as useful for training purposes as Cyberchess. Too bad it wasn’t developed a few years earlier.

John
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teckpro
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Joined: 09 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have every or most of the cyberchess program Packs.

I am willing to sell all packs I have.

Andy
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Steve B
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

teckpro wrote:
I have every or most of the cyberchess program Packs.

I am willing to sell all packs I have.

Andy



Please PM me (send me a Private Message on the forum here) with details

Interested Regards
Steve
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Reinfeld
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Location: Tacoma, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that request for a PM.

- R.
_________________
"You have, let us say, a promising politician, a rising artist that you wish to destroy. Dagger or bomb are archaic and unreliable - but teach him, inoculate him with chess."
– H.G. Wells
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Steve B
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reinfeld wrote:
I second that request for a PM.

- R.


Let The Bidding War Begin Regards
Steve
Razz
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teckpro
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:46 pm    Post subject: cyberchess Reply with quote

I purchased every/all cyberchess Program packs that were available from the manufacture .

Andy
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Steve B
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well after a long wait a Cyber Chess auction finally appears on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-rare-vintage-CYBERCHESS-Cyber-Enterprises-MECHANICAL-CHESS-COMPUTER-/311285387466?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item487a0e10ca

Sadly it has only the basic suite of Program Packets that shipped with all units

Rectal Pluck Regards
Steve
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anchovyd
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Joined: 22 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So this CYBERCHESS thing is really good?

I was curious about it. Purchased a chess computer off of ebay a number of years ago and the seller gave me a little lagniappe. He didn't mention anything about it in the auction but he threw in CYBERCHESS and a whole bunch of packets.

It looked like some complicated way to play solitaire chess so I never really tried to figure out how to set it up and never played it but I did keep it because it just looked like something rare and likely collectible.

After trying to find some information I come back here to my favorite lurking post to find that you guys are saying that it is better than all the new software and chess computers.

I am going to have to try it out tomorrow. Is it really better than just playing over a game solitaire style or reading one of the multiple choice books from Ward or Buckley?

I love you guys,
Chovies Baby Just Chovies
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anchovyd
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anchovy's CYBERCHESS update.

I've read through the instruction and am about to play my first game against the "machine". As for what I have, I have 47 Amateur packs and 6 or 7 Professional packs as well as the Standard pack. I also have the Cyberaters for these packs which are the annotations for each of the move choices for the game pack. The Cyberaters were sold separately from the Program Packs...

I also have the CYBERCHESS Chess Test which is a combination pack and multiple choice test as well as two years of CYBERCHESS Digest.

Most of the articles in the Digest are written by Robert Snyder who wrote Chess for Juniors and was convicted of sexual assault of children. He has an article in each Digest. Not sure if he was paid because in the front CYBERCHESS offers free game packs for authors who submit articles for the Digest. Towards the end the Digest was really thin.

Also in the Digest the publish the sources for the some of the earlier game packs. It looks like just about all of the games are taken from 500 Master Games of Chess and 100 Master Games of Modern Chess.

Does anyone here know how many Program Packs exist for CYBER Chess? Also where I might be able to find some of the Professional Packs and Cyberaters any pdfs of this stuff.

Thanks,
AnchovyD
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madeintheshadeart



Joined: 01 Dec 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:22 pm    Post subject: CYBERCHESS by Cyber Enterprises Reply with quote

My father is a Chess Master and I have the task of cleaning/moving the contents of his apartment. He just turned 90, took a bad fall, and is now in a Group Home.

I have his original CyberChess game in it's original box. Also have eight Cyberchase digests.

If anyone is interested in purchasing the above let me know. It is in perfect condition.

[/b]
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jarek
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Posts: 48

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,

I am interested in buying Cyber Chess and additional program packs.
Please send me a private message if you have it for sale.

thanks a lot!
Jarek
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jarek
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apart from expressing my interest in buying Cyber Chess, let me add something (hopefully) valuable to the discussion.

According to my research, there were 75 amateur and 74 professional game packs produced. Each game pack contains a total of 4 chess games and (occasionally) endgames.

When it comes to the computerized version (C-64, Apple, TRS-80) there were 71 disks available, each with 4 games.

Cyber regards Smile
Jarek
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