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MASTER VS MAESTRO  (8 february 2005)

One of the prettiest chess computers in the Overtom collection ( click) is Chess Master ( click, click , click), made in the former German Democratic Republic.


There used to be a special version of this computer integrated into a special table. It seems to have been given as a present to prominent guests who came to visit the German Democratic Republic. Brezhnev and Castro are amongst those reputed to have received the chess table.

Strange enough, the Germans gave the computer an English name: Chess Master.

Another chess computer that has the name of Master, but in Italian, is the pocket computer Maestro ( click).


This Maestro has been produced under the name of Mephisto, a name made famous by chess computer manufacturer Hegener und Glaser. Unfortunately, this manufacturer does not exist any more as an independent producer of chess computers. The computer is actually made by Saitek.

There are many handheld LCD chess computers, for instance this, this and this .

With its Maestro, Saitek has made a significant contribution to the chess computer market:

  • an inexpensive chess computer that can be a challenge to most chess players;
  • it sports an LCD screen that can be illuminated.

I thought it might be a good idea to organize a couple of games between these similarly named computers.

First I gave both computers 15 seconds per move. After seven moves, blacks's position got worse and worse. In no more than 23 moves, black was checkmated.

Mephisto Maestro - Chess Master (both 15 sec/move)

It was clear that giving such an old machine exactly the same time as a modern computer was not entirely fair. So I decided to give Chess Master double time.

In the game, white got himself into trouble and lost a knight after 14 moves,

After 66 moves, even a beginner could have won this game conducting the black pieces. But what strange move did Maestro make?

67. ... Nc5 - stalemate!!

Chess Master (30 sec/move) - Mephisto Maestro (15 sec/move)

Now I'm left with one question: would this be a fault in the program or would the program intentionally have been given the human trait of showing mercy?

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