Overtom's weblog

TWO SURPRISES  (13 november 2004)

As you may know, this site accommodates one of the largest collections of chess computers (click) that are to be seen on the Internet.

You might suppose this makes me into a formidable chessplayer. But here I have to disappoint you: I'm far from a chess champion. There are several computers in the collection I've never even won one game from.

For years, the two strongest computers in the collection were Sphinx Galaxy ( click) and Mephisto MMV (click ).

A few days ago I visited a market in my neighbourhood. One stall had mainly  toys. But suddenly I saw there were also some chess computers amongst the toys. One had a remarkable name: a combination of three famous names of chess computers: Mephisto, Saitek and Chess Challenger .

I can't say it looked particularly impressive. But the price was no more than 40 euros and, as you may have noticed before, I'm a sucker for inexpensive gadgets ( click). So I decided to buy it. 

This week, I've been organizing a little match between the new acquisition and the MMV mentioned above.

So far, they've played seven games. And here are the results: 




Mephisto Chess Challenger




Mephisto MMV




Can you imagine my surprise that this cheap machine beat a computer that has so far been one of the strongest computers in the collection?

But the title of this weblog suggests another surprise. The second surprise took place after the 37th move in the seventh game:

Meph Ch Ch - Meph MMV (white to move)

White could have won easily with:

38 Rd1-d7+ Kb7-a6, 39 a2-a4 ... and mate by Rd7-a7+ is unavoidable.

And how did our smart Mephisto Chess Challenger continue?

38 Rh8xh6 ...

Of course, the rook got lost. And black managed to draw.

If you want a conclusion, I must say I'm at a loss. I'll never understand chess computers.

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