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Emulation of old (OLD!) chess computers and programs
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

althus wrote:
http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?42673-Pdp8-vs-pdp11-chess-match-is-GO!


Interesting find Smile

I see they say that the program they use is 2.11 BSD chess. I did some looking around, and found this:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/bsd42/?source=typ_redirect

Simply unpacking and running the exe boots you straight into a PDP 11 emulation. The chess program is included, ready to go. Type 'man chess' for instructions, or '/usr/games/chess' to play.

Does anybody have any idea who programmed this one? Could this be related to the Thompson program mentioned earlier, or is this something completely different?
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

althus wrote:
But google "Playing Chess on a PDP8" and see the first youtube result.


Found it. Looks like Chekmo II. Pause the video at 1:18:

https://youtu.be/53Cs9raoZKs?t=1m18s

Some guy even found a way to interface this with Winboard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LweCsFHocc0

I only downloaded the program to test under SIMH, and it seems to work Smile
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althus
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenRedic wrote:

I see they say that the program they use is 2.11 BSD chess. I did some looking around, and found this:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/bsd42/?source=typ_redirect

Does anybody have any idea who programmed this one? Could this be related to the Thompson program mentioned earlier, or is this something completely different?


I did a good bit of poking around at the Unix Heritage Society's tree of early Unix source code, and I think the answer is yes, it's Ken. Here is the chain of connections.

2.11BSD chess is also found in the slightly earlier Ver7 Unix. (Ver2 BSD was May 1979, Ver7 Unix was January 1979). See

http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V7/usr/src/games/chess

and compare to

http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=2.11BSD/src/games/pdp/chess

Important here is the manpage, at

http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V7/usr/man/man6/chess.6

It doesn't have an authorship attribution, BUT, the manpage is virtually identical to one found in Ver 4 Unix, which does have a credit to Ken:

http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V4/man/man6/chess.6

Presumably the program itself existed too but is now lost. I wonder why it disappeared from Ver3 and 2, though.
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althus
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ps Here is something neat. Want to get a guest login on some actual vintage minicomputers from the 70s? Fill out an application form at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle:

http://www.livingcomputers.org/

http://www.livingcomputers.org/Discover/Online-Systems/Request-a-Login.aspx

None of this foofing around with emulators Smile
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

althus wrote:
I see they say that the program they use is 2.11 BSD chess. I did some looking around, and found this:
[..]
It doesn't have an authorship attribution, BUT, the manpage is virtually identical to one found in Ver 4 Unix, which does have a credit to Ken:

http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V4/man/man6/chess.6


Bingo! Thank you for the detective work. What confused me was that the page had zero similarities to the one I found earlier, which was attributed to Ken.

althus wrote:
Presumably the program itself existed too but is now lost. I wonder why it disappeared from Ver3 and 2, though.


Maybe this? Wink

manpage wrote:
Over-use of this program has been known to cause it to go away.


althus wrote:
http://www.livingcomputers.org/Discover/Online-Systems/Request-a-Login.aspx


Request sent. Fingers crossed.

I see they have a CDC. Maybe I get to play with Chess 4.6? Very Happy
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenRedic wrote:
althus wrote:
But google "Playing Chess on a PDP8" and see the first youtube result.


Found it. Looks like Chekmo II. Pause the video at 1:18:

https://youtu.be/53Cs9raoZKs?t=1m18s

Some guy even found a way to interface this with Winboard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LweCsFHocc0

I only downloaded the program to test under SIMH, and it seems to work Smile


By the way, I didn't manage to get this working in Winboard, but it does work perfectly fine in Arena under Linux. I even tried to recreate the game you mentioned earlier, with the PDP 8 vs the PDP 11. BSD chess seems to follow the game, but Chekmo deviates halfway through. Not sure if there are different versions, if there are different evalutations because of different hardware/environment, or if there actually is some random selection of equally strong moves.
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althus
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenRedic wrote:

Request sent. Fingers crossed.


Let us know what happens!

It looks like Chess 4.6 is probably the latest anyone will ever get, in trying to resurrect these programs. Once BELLE came around, customized hardware became a thing. Of course, BELLE was apparently donated to the Smithsonian, so...
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One new find:

The Panda TOPS-20 distribution (http://panda.trailing-edge.com/) is a pre-packaged PDP 10 emulator (KLH10) with a TOPS-20 operating system, which you can simply unpack and it is more or less ready to run on a Linux host. It is a little bit of a hassle to set up networking, add users etc when you don't know the system, but once that is done you are up and running. And best of all: This system comes with three different chess programs already installed!

There is the Greenblatt program, which I have already played under TOPS-10 on SIMH. I have not compared the two versions as yet, but I suspect they play the same.

Then there is Tech (Gillogly, 1971). This program placed 2nd in ACM 1971 and 1972, behind Chess 3.x (Northwestern). A paper about the program is at http://repository.cmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2974&context=compsci. When you start the program it says "TECH: 11 Mar 1977". It does not seem to have changed a lot since 1971, though. I tried replaying parts of the Coko 3 vs Tech game from ACM1971, and it didn't deviate until move 13. I have not found any documentation about the usage of this program.

There is also Tech 2 (Baisley). This game is also available from ftp://ftp.ultimate.com/pdp10/chess2 in three versions for ITS, TOPS-10, TOPS-20. I originally tried the TOPS-10 version, since that is what I had running under SIMH, but after transferring the file via kermit I was told the file was not an executable. That's when I started looking into ways to get TOPS-20 running, and stumbled over Panda. The fact that both Tech and Tech 2 were both already in place was just a bonus. The help file in the FTP I reffered to is useful for reference. Oddly enough, this program seems to accept input in old notation, but returns moves in algebraic notation. See below, where it fails to recognize "f1-c4", but accepts "B-B4". It then responds with "G8-F6". ("^B" is the command used to display the board)

Code:
^B
BR ** BB BQ BK BB BN BR
BP BP BP BP ** BP BP BP
-- ** BN ** -- ** -- **
** -- ** -- BP -- ** --
-- ** -- ** WP ** -- **
** -- ** -- ** WN ** --
WP WP WP WP -- WP WP WP
WR WN WB WQ WK WB ** WR
f1-c4
^B
BR ** BB BQ BK BB BN BR
BP BP BP BP ** BP BP BP
-- ** BN ** -- ** -- **
** -- ** -- BP -- ** --
-- ** -- ** WP ** -- **
** -- ** -- ** WN ** --
WP WP WP WP -- WP WP WP
WR WN WB WQ WK WB ** WR
B-B4
_     3 B  G8-F6  6 0  Time 28.8 in 31.2


It plays book moves the first two moves, but already in move 3 it starts spending about 30 seconds or more per move.

About the Living Computers Museum, I have so far been granted a user account on the CDC 6500, but it seems to be more down than up for the time being, so I haven't gotten around to play around with it much. No news about the other systems.
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Volodymyr
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
Augmented table for configuring cycles in dosbox,this is a approximate values.
-values for changing cycles "DOSBox(cycles)" (The Speed Test, v.1.14(medium mode));
-values for changing Elo "Adjustment"(Selective Search).


I also used other benchmarks.
I do not know what version was used for the test,
I used Dhrystone 2.1 OD,and the results almost coincided.
http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/mips.htm#anchorIntel2
My resultats
149000 cycles - 224.02 VAX MIPS
125000 cycles - 187.38 VAX MIPS
112000 cycles - 169.26 VAX MIPS
100000 cycles - 150.77 VAX MIPS
90000 cycles - 135.95 VAX MIPS
77000 cycles - 116.01 VAX MIPS
70000 cycles - 105.64 VAX MIPS
59000 cycles - 89.10 VAX MIPS
51000 cycles - 76.78 VAX MIPS
46200 cycles - 69.73 VAX MIPS
38500 cycles - 59.12 VAX MIPS
26800 cycles - 40.43 VAX MIPS
23000 cycles - 34.58 VAX MIPS

The Chessmaster 4000 Benchmark also shows 58 seconds at 23,000 cycles(OS Windows 95),and 22,800(OS Windows 3.11)


Doom 1.9s
https://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/misc/doombench.html
My resultats
149000 cycles - 549/136,047
125000 cycles - 631/118,367
112000 cycles - 689/108,403
100000 cycles - 775/ 96,374
90000 cycles - 827/ 90,314
77000 cycles - 941/ 79,373
69000 cycles - 1034/ 72,234
59000 cycles - 1188/ 62,870
51000 cycles - 1353/ 52,203
46200 cycles - 1481/ 50,432
38500 cycles - 1754/ 42,582
26800 cycles - 2461/ 30,349

Top 5 for Pentium 100 MHz much lower.
*** 941/79,3 DOSBox(77000 cycles)
1070/69.8 Pentium-100
1112/67.2 Pentium-100
1128/66.2 Pentium-100
1140/65.5 Pentium-100
1145/65.2 Pentium-100

Top 10 for Intel 486-66 MHz
*** 2461/30,3 DOSBox(26800 cycles)
2159/34.6 Intel486-66
2252/33.2 Intel486-66
2291/32.6 Intel486-66
2303/32.4 Intel486-66
* /31.75 Intel486-66
2576/29.0 Intel486-66
2590/28.8 Intel486-66
2640/28.3 Intel486-66
2909/25.7 Intel486-66
2998/24.9 Intel486-66
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New find: Duchess! https://chessprogramming.wikispaces.com/Duchess

Duchess was one of the top machines in the period 1974-1981. In the second WCCC in 1977 it came second behind Chess 4.6 on tiebreak.

It ran on an IBM 370/168 under the MVS OS. Today this OS is possible to emulate using an emulator called Hercules. The easy way to get this up and running is a distribution called Turnkey 4. This includes most everything you need, including emultator for different host operating systems, a prepackaged MVS 3.8j installation, and it even has Duchess preinstalled. Just download the thingy from http://wotho.ethz.ch/tk4-/ , unzip it and run the script which fires up the emulator. Then you need a 3270 terminal emulator, like x3270 or c3270. I used c3270 under Linux (apt get install c3270) and connected to localhost:3270. Then log in using one of the supplied users and passwords (like herc03/pass4u), exit from the startup utility menu with "x", type "duchess" and boom, you're in.

There is apparently also a graphical add-on for duchess, but since I don't have a 3270 emulator that supports graphics I didn't really look at getting this running.

It runs really well, and is fairly easy to handle. I was also surprised to find that Duchess has a pretty extensive online help funtion. 'help *' gives you a list of topics, and then you can get further help on the different topics which include anything from printing out the game to the actual rules of chess and movement of the pieces.

Code:
help *
 ABSTRACT ALGEBRA  ANTICIPA ASYNCHRO BACKUP   BASINFO  BISHOP   BLACK
 BOARD    BOTH     CLOCK    COMMANDS COMPLEXI DATABASE DESCRIPT ECHO
 EVALUATE HELP     HISTORY  INITIALI INSTALL  KING     KNIGHT   LOG
 MESSAGE  MOVES    NEITHER  NOSTIMER NOTATION PAWN     PREDICTI QUEEN
 REMOTE   ROOK     RULES    SLAVE    STAMP    STATISTI STOP     SWAPSIDE
 SYSLIST  TAPE     THREATS  TIMEAVER TIMING   TRACE    TTRESET  UPDATE
 WHITE    WISHLIST ZERO
 W.command:
help comp
 complexity n -- Set maximum search complexity

 In Duchess 6.08.00 a complexity of 100 is approximately 1 ply.
 Hence "complexity 500" restricts Duchess to a 5 ply search
 (followed by captures and promotions with no depth limit).
 A search may be terminated by "time" or "clock" rather than complexity.
 "time c 1" and "complexity 3000" is default.
 W.command:
help bishop
 The Bishop is the only piece limited
 to moving on a single color of square.
 It may move any number of squares in a diagonal direction,
 as long as it does not leap over another man;
 it captures a piece if
 that piece is so unlucky as to be standing where the Bishop stops.
 Of course, the Bishop may elect not to move the full legal distance.
 Each side gets two Bishops, one for each color of square.
 W.command:
stamp
 Duchess  V 6.12.03  linked 02/15/81
 Date 17.309  Time 16:10:50.07
 W.command:


Code:
help timi
 -- Timing Duchess execution rates --

 For best results use a search of at least 10 seconds
 with at least 50% cpu utilization.
 The print out that follows is Duchess executing on an
 IBM 370/165 with a "dat" box.
 The two searches are from a collection of standard problems
 used to compare different versions of the program.

 1Duchess  V 6.09.02  linked 07/28/79
  date 79.232  time 21:57:47.17
  ttable  bytes 75744  entries 1578
  W.command:
  TIME OFF;        MESSAGE  DISABLE TIME AVERAGING
  W.command:
  BOARD ON;        MESSAGE  PRINT THE BOARD AFTER EACH COMPUTER MOVE
  W.command:
  PREDICTION ON;   MESSAGE  PREDICTION PRINTOUT AFTER EACH COMPUTER MOVE
  W.command:
                   MESSAGE  *** PROBLEM 1 -- MIDDLE GAME ***
  W.command:
                   MESSAGE  MAKE A FEW MOVES ON THE BOARD ...
  W.command:
  D3; E5; NF3; NC6; G3; D5; BG2; F5; O-O; BC5
  W.command:
  BOARD;           MESSAGE  PRINT THE CURRENT CHESS BOARD

  -R *-B-Q-K *-N-R
  -P-P-P : * :-P-P
   : *-N * : * : *
   * :-B-P-P-P * :
   : * : * : * : *
   * : * P * N P :
   P P P * P P B P
   R N B Q * R K :

  W.command:
  COMPLEXITY 400;  MESSAGE  SEARCH IS LIMITED TO 4 PLY
  W.command:
  WHITE;           MESSAGE  DUCHESS IS TO PLAY WHITE NOW
  targ 0.00  ratio 5.00  min 0.00
 ***


There is no take back, but manipulating the board is pretty easy. This can also be used for setting up problems for the computer to solve.

Search depth can be manipulated in two ways: Fixed depth, and target time limits. The 'complexity' command is basically depth * 100, so 'complexity 300' sets search depth to 3. According to documentation from the 1981 ACM, this program should be able to search around 2500 positions per second. In my emulation it is quite a bit faster, maybe by a factor of around 10.

I found that using 'complexity 700' Duchess was able to faithfully reproduce the games it played in the later stages of it's lifetime. Below I have tried to reproduce the 1981 game against Nuchess, with me giving the Nuchess moves at every turn, and Duchess is giving the same moves now as it did back then:

Code:

 15. ... Bxb2
 val 191  cplx 700  time 31.88/32.08  99%  tcpu 14:02.75
 Pos 647785  Hit 22%  Stop 18%  Eval 69%
 W.command:
nxb2
 targ 1:26.26  ratio 5.69  min 25.78
 16. ... Nc3
 val 202  cplx 700  time 27.99/28.12  100%  tcpu 14:30.74
 Pos 592099  Hit 24%  Stop 20%  Eval 68%
 W.command:
re1
 targ 1:29.46  ratio 5.68  min 26.78
 17. ... Nxe2+
 val 199  cplx 700  time 32.29/32.44  100%  tcpu 15:03.03
 Pos 653204  Hit 22%  Stop 18%  Eval 68%
 W.command:
rxe2
 targ 1:32.23  ratio 5.83  min 27.00
 18. ... d4
 val 213  cplx 700  time 47.82/48.03  100%  tcpu 15:50.85
 Pos 902951  Hit 17%  Stop 15%  Eval 74%
 W.command:
boa

 -R-N : * :-R-K *
 -P-B * : *-P * :
  :-P : *-P *-P-P
  * :-P : * : * :
  : * :-P : P : N
  * P * : P : * :
  P N P * R * P P
  R : * : * : K :

 W.command:
hist

  1. f4         Nf6
  2. e3         g6
  3. b3         Bg7
  4. Bb2        O-O
  5. Nf3        c5
  6. Be2        b6
 ***

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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Volodymyr wrote:
Hi,
Augmented table for configuring cycles in dosbox,this is a approximate values.
[snip]


@Volodomyr: If you are so interested in emulating exact speed of older PCs, have you looked at PCem? I just recently came across it. It is a bit harder to set up than DOSbox, Qemu et al, but what it does is emulate specific chips, including processors, video cards etc, down to specific models of computers. You can even select between brands of CPUs (Intel, AMD, Cyrix etc) for some of the computers. It also emulates Voodoo 3D addon cards, so if you are so inclined you can set up a Windows 95-era computer with 3DFX graphics to play some Glide games Very Happy

So far I have set up a Tandy 1000 with an 8088 CPU and CGA graphics booting from 360 KB 5.25" floppies and running games like MyChess and Psion 1, and a Commodore PC30III with an 80286 and VGA graphics booting from a 20 MB harddrive running games like Battle Chess, Chessmaster 2100 and Fritz 1. I am also trying to set up a 386SX profile for some Windows 3 action, but so far I am struggling to find a harddrive setup that works. But I'm still trying Smile

Check out https://pcem-emulator.co.uk/
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Volodymyr
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi BenRedic.

Yes, I tested this emulator before. Very interesting emulator and very demanding to resources.
I'm not sure that the configuration of the Pentium 90 Mhz in this emulator is standard.
I tested PCEM v.10 and PCEM v.12 with (Windows 95, Pentium 90 MHz).
PCEM v.12 is faster and emulates faster, this is the example of Virtual Chess 1.03.
I had a lot of test results. But I threw it all and deleted all the results.
The SPCAT emulator is similar too.
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spacious_mind
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenRedic wrote:

So far I have set up a Tandy 1000 with an 8088 CPU and CGA graphics booting from 360 KB 5.25" floppies and running games like MyChess and Psion 1, and a Commodore PC30III with an 80286 and VGA graphics booting from a 20 MB harddrive running games like Battle Chess, Chessmaster 2100 and Fritz 1. I am also trying to set up a 386SX profile for some Windows 3 action, but so far I am struggling to find a harddrive setup that works. But I'm still trying Smile

Check out https://pcem-emulator.co.uk/


Reading your posts makes me feel like playing my old DOS computers. I have quite a few original old pc's and laptops from 8088 through 486-100

MHz. I need to list them sometime. Other than DOSBox I have never really tried other PC emulators. But sometimes wish there was something as easy as DOSbox to run Win 3.11 and Win 95. As it becomes a pain trying to run chess programs on those systems nowadays and I can't always remember what I have installed in my pc's and laptops.

Your post also made me want to pull up my list of old home computers and chess programs that I have. I have not updated it for a couple of years which I need to do as I am pretty sure that I have one or two others and chess software that needs to be added to this list.

Anyway you might enjoy this list:



Best regards
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BenRedic
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spacious_mind wrote:
Reading your posts makes me feel like playing my old DOS computers.

Then I must have done something right Smile

spacious_mind wrote:
I have quite a few original old pc's and laptops from 8088 through 486-100 MHz. I need to list them sometime. Other than DOSBox I have never really tried other PC emulators. But sometimes wish there was something as easy as DOSbox to run Win 3.11 and Win 95. As it becomes a pain trying to run chess programs on those systems nowadays and I can't always remember what I have installed in my pc's and laptops.

Your post also made me want to pull up my list of old home computers and chess programs that I have. I have not updated it for a couple of years which I need to do as I am pretty sure that I have one or two others and chess software that needs to be added to this list.

First thought: Holy sh...!!!

Are you running your own private museum or something? I'm counting like 40+ computers here, you say you have a number of PCs in addition to these, and I understand you have quite a few dedicated chess computers as well. How do you even make room for this stuff, let alone acquire it?

I had a couple of these computers during my formative years, but they are long gone. I had a C64 and an Amiga, and I remember my cousin having a VIC20 with a Sargon II cartridge when I was a kid, which was probably the first time I saw chess on a computer. Today I just have a few PCs, none of which are older than a decade or so, and the rest of the stuff I just emulate. Which I guess in many ways is more practical than having a shitload of hardware that is almost my age and starting to suffer from dementia due to failing components, disks and tapes deteriorating etc. But I certainly understand the desire to be hands on with some of these things. I just don't think my wife would be very understanding if I started to redecorate one or four of the rooms in our house with wall to wall vintage computers. But I'd seriously love to see some of these stuff. Do you have pictures of how your place looks or something?

Do you even have room for any further expansion of this collection? I'm not seeing a Commodore PET here. Also I'm not seeing some of the pre-Apple II stuff, like SOL-20, KIM-1, Altair 8800. If you were to expand further than that you'd probably have to make room for 70s mainframes or something.

Second thought, having picked my jaw up from the floor: This is a very comprehensive list, and one I'd love to have come over sooner. I have been looking over your website a few times, especially as it is usually one of the first hits I get if I google for some old program and/or chess computer, but nowhere have I come over a list like this.

As it stands I have played a lot of these games, and am aware of most of them.

If you don't mind I have a couple of questions about some entries in this list:

1) You are listing some games both under Sinclair and Timex. Are these not the same, or were these two distinct platforms? I thought the Timex was basically a (licensed) clone of the Sinclair, and compatible?

2) You are listing Microchess 2 for TRS-80. Can you tell me more about this? I have just come over one Microchess version for the TRS, and that was version 1.5. It looks and plays a lot like Microchess 2 (for PET, Apple II), but 1.5 has 3 levels, 2 has 8. Strength and style seems very similar.

3) You mention Sargon II (alt version). Do you know any more about this? Is it an official release, or something else? And what is the difference from the normal Sargon II? I do have something called "Sargon Plus" for the TRS, don't know if it's the same thing.

4) GNU Chess for the Amiga. Do you know which version this is? I believe I have two different versions laying around for the Amiga, I found both on some old Fred Fish disks. The first seems to be based on GNU Chess 1, but it also credits John Stanback, which I thought didn't get involved with GNU Chess until version 2. It has a curses-based text only interface. The other version seems to be based on the first, but with a graphical chessboard. I also think I had some other version of GNU Chess back in the day when I actually owned an Amiga, but I can't remember it looking anything like either of the two versions I found on Fred Fish.

spacious_mind wrote:
Anyway you might enjoy this list:

I certainly did, thank you Smile
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Thank you for an interesting game.
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BrianM
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Joined: 17 Jun 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spacious_mind wrote

Quote:
But sometimes wish there was something as easy as DOSbox to run Win 3.11 and Win 95.


Win 3.11 runs in DOSbox and it is easy to automatically run windows on start up.

The Psion 3a emulator also works in DOSbox so you can run the Psion and Purple Software versions of chess on this platform. I have only the latter for which the engine is credited to Oxford Softworks (Chris Whittington?).

Brian
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