Overtom's weblog

TOO STRONG FOR BEGINNERS?  (2 october 2004)

At the Internet auction site eBay I saw the following advertisement:

Selling a travel computer as good as new. I ordered it six weeks ago from the manufacturer Saitek (price: 50). Want to sell it because even at its easiest level I've never won any games against it. This is frustrating. For me as a beginner it's too strong. But otherwise I think it is the ideal chess partner.


The computer looked vaguely familiar to me. The Overtom collection, which you can see on the Internet (click ), contains one computer which looks very much like this Mephisto/Saitek Advanced Chess Traveller. It is Mephisto Miami ( click)


I downloaded the manual and, as far as I can see, the two computers are identical.

So why not organize two games to see if the Advanced Traveller (as the one at the top is named) is as strong as the seller at eBay suggests.

Its opponent is Chess Tiger on a rather inexpensive Zire palm top.


Let's first allow Tiger to play white. After two moves, Tiger had reached the end of its opening book. No wonder that in some forty moves the poor Tiger is mated.

Chess Tiger - Mephisto Miami

Let's now give the white pieces to Mephisto Miami. This time, Tiger knows the opening.

Mephisto Miami - Chess Tiger

Quite good play of the Miami computer! Don't you agree?

And now I tend to sympatize with the beginning chessplayer who bought a computer, but had no chance against such a formidable opponent.

But I'm just wondering if the seller has tried the really simple levels, such as 1 ply -- meaning the computer can think no more than one move ahead, or the fun levels, which make the computer behave rather irresponsibly.

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