Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Long History of Mephisto - Part 1

Mephisto is a name long associated with chess playing mechanisms. In 1878, Charles Godfrey Gümpel, a maker of artificial limbs, displayed a chess playing pseudo-automaton named Mephisto in London. It was controlled remotely by electromechanical means, as opposed to hiding a human operator. In 1889, it was shown and operated at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. After the exposition, it was dismantled and its ultimate fate is unknown.

Mephisto automaton

Anyone who wants to read a bit more about Mephisto can read batgirl's posts (Mephisto the Magnificent, HOW MEPHISTO WAS CAUGHT, Mephisto - Promotional Material, and Mephisto revisited) in her blog "Le blog de la Batgirl at Chess.com.

However, Gümpel's invention is not the only chess playing mechanism named "Mephisto". It is also the name for a long line of dedicated chess computers, first manufactured by Hegener & Glaser in 1980. Several renowned authors have been associated with the Mephisto line, including Frans Morsch (best known for Fritz), Ed Schröder (author of Rebel and Pro Deo), and Richard Lang (author of Chess Genius). Hegener & Glaser was acquired by Saitek LTD in 1994. Saitek continued manufacturing the line, and still does to this day.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Chess for Android Update - Version 4.0

Aart Bik has announced that all user facing (text read by the user), other than engine messages and chess notation, in Chess for Android has now been translated into the following languages:

  • English (the default)
  • Dutch (translated by Aart Bik)
  • German (many thanks to Philip Stutz)
  • Hebrew (many thanks to Haran Talmon)
  • Polish (many thanks to Michal Kaczmarek)
  • Spanish (many thanks to Krizia Lopez)
  • Swedish (many thanks to Anton Hansson)

My favorite Android chess program is getting even better :-).

You can download Android for Chess 4.0 at Google Play or as a direct download.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chess for Mobile Devices - Chess Legends

Chess Legends ($0.99) : A iOS chess app created by Schogini Systems featuring Komodo 4, one of the top chess engines (created by Don Dailey and Larry Kaufman). From a Schogini press release:

Update - July 19, 2012

I am sorry for the lack of new material. I am trying to reformat a couple of pages to improve navigation of the information. I am also working on a page that is a tutorial for running engine matches in various various GUIs. Though it is not completed, I will be uploading the tutorial soon. I also expect to completely update the Also-Rans list this weekend.

Still Working Regards :-),

Friday, July 13, 2012

Also_Rans List Updated - July 12, 2012

I have added Chess4j 0.1 (James Swafford), Rocinante 2.0 64-bit JA (PB*)(Antonio Torrecillas), RumbleMinze 1.0.30 (Erik Madsen), Milady 3.04 (Yves Lejeail), and SUPRA 11.5.1 64-bit (Pedro Mourao Correia). I have not updated the database nor the chess engine information spreadsheet as of yet.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Geert Maeckelbergh, a Belgium computer chess enthusiast, runs an interesting chess engine tournament called CountryChess.

From Geert's front page:

In the first stage, chess engines of the same country will play a double round-robin tournament. The winner of each country competition meets other country winners in qualification matches or in the Champions League, according to its place on the country ranking list. Top ranked countries will be represented by 2, 3 or even 4 engines in the Champions League.

About me:
My name is Geert. I live in Belgium and I am visually impaired. I prefer to update an easy blog, friendly for a blind user. My goal is to organize tournaments and to share the games and results. I don't like wasting time on unaccessible webdesign programs. So don't expect a perfect lay-out; since my brail display is able to read the texts, you'll probably have no troubles to read them as well :-).

My English is not perfect at all. If you see language errors or other mistakes, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail.


Geert also posts results from time to time at the Tournaments and Matches subforum at TalkChess.

Thanks, Geert, for sharing your matches with the community.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Chess System Programs of Chris Whittington

I completely botched the portion of my previous post that concerned Chess System Tal. As my penance, I have committed myself to write an in-depth post about the Chess System programs.

The Chess System programs were created by Chris Whittington in the 1990's and marketed by his company, Oxford Softworks. Their creation was guided by Whittington's philosophy that encoding knowledge into a chess program is much preferable over fast and deep searches.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Free DOS Chess Programs

In many people's opinion, the DOS chess programs from the 1980s and 1990s are more enjoyable to play against than modern programs. Possible, this is because there was more emphasis on style and a little less on strength. Or perhaps it is simply because the moves they played were less mystifying than today's juggernauts. Several have been described to play in a human-like manner, such as the revered Chess System Tal II * (authored by Chris Whittington):

Chess for Mobile Devices : Droidfish

Droidfish (Free) : A chess program for Android devices developed by Peter Österlund, author of Texel (formerly CuckooChess). The main engine for the program is Stockfish (authored by Marco Costalba, Joona Kiiski, and Tord Romstad).

Chess for Mobile Devices : Stockfish Chess

Stockfish Chess (Free) : A chess program developed for iOS devices by Tord Romstad, the author of Glaurung and one of the authors (along with Marco Costalba and Joona Kiiski) of Stockfish (the active continuation of Glaurung). The engine for the program is a port of Stockfish, one of the strongest chess engines available.