Overtom's weblog

THE WEAKEST EVER?  (13 December 2008)

Surfing the Internet I came across this page. The chess computer offered looked very much like Excalibur's Touch.

As it was a computer the Overtom museum did not yet have, I ordered it, and this morning the postman delivered the parcel to my front door. The whole transaction had cost me 14 dollars (13.99, to be exact), which included shipping. Not really an amount to cause bankruptcy, not even in times when the credit crunch is increasingly being felt.

The first surprise was the fact that the computer did not work. Whatever buttons I pressed or parts of the screen that I touched, it failed to produce anything that looked like chess. I measured the batteries, which were OK. But after bending and cleaning the battery clamps, the machine started to display some kind of activity, but it's up to you to decide whether this can really be called chess.

The second surprise came when I tried to find the name of the computer. The caption on the box was Touch Chess, the manual called it e-Chess Express, the name on the front of the computer was LCD Chess and on its back I found the name LCD Chess Express. Since the museum already had computers with all these names, I decided to stress the fact that it had so many names by dubbing it Hybrid Chess.

By the way, the box looks so much like the one which houses Excalibur Touch Chess that only a blind person can seriously deny the similarity.

You may wonder how this multinominous contraption played. Well, it played four games against Fritz-one-ply:

  • In game 1 it lost its queen on the 14th move and was checkmated on move 22.
  • In game 2 it was checkmated within 10 moves.
  • In game 3 it took somewhat longer, in fact it was checkmated on move 15. Apart from one knight, it still had all its chessmen on the eighth rank
  • In the 4th game it was luckier: it held out until the 29th move. But then it was slain by Fritz, who was a pawn, a bishop, a knight, two rooks and a queen ahead.

I think this computer may be the ultimate candidate for the weakest chess computer ever! If you have Java installed on your computer, you may click here to see the games.

Finally, if you're happen to have a nephew with an IQ of 50 or less, this may be the ideal Xmas present to give him

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