Overtom's weblog

PRETTY BARGAIN  (19 october 2006)

I am sometimes surprised about the prices at eBay.

Today I saw a tiny chess computer, the so-called Mighty Midget fetch a price of 67,37 Euro, a price that is more than it cost when it was new. Depending on what screen you have, the following picture should be about the right size:

On the other hand, you can sometimes buy nice chess computers for hardly more than a Euro.

Recently, I was lucky enough to buy the Saitek Capella, a model one doesn't see very often, for no more than 35 Euro:

Saitek Capella

It looks nice, doesn't it? If you want to know a bit more about this computer, just click the picture.

I was curious to see how well it would play. So I pitched it against the Excalibur Legend II, which I expected to have roughly the same playing strength. The machines played two games; each computer won one game. So my prediction that they were about the same strength, was not too far-fetched.

Excalibur Legend II

The games the computers played were quite spectacular to see. I was for instance surprised about the sacrifice 34. .. Bex3, which does not exactly yield any material advantage.

White's position is getting worse and worse. But after 48... Bd4 black's task would definitely have been more difficult, e.g. 48... Qg5 49. Kf2 h5 50. Qe4 Qc1 51. b3 Qb2+ 52. Kf3, etc.

Saitek Capella - Excalibur Legend II

(both 30 seconds / move)

The other game was also quite spectacular to look at, even so much that I completely forgot to write down the moves. Unfortunately, both computer only remember the last sixteen moves, so I can't show you the second game.

Next time, I hope I will be able to show you a few more games played by the Excalibur computer

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