Chess Computers

Our range of Chess Computers

We offer a superb range of chess computers, with a variety of models to fit all of your needs. From the premiere Saitek talking trainer chess computer, to the Saitek Maestro digital chess computer, to the travel chess computer, also by Saitek. Saitek have become one of the leading brands of chess computer over recent years, we are delighted to be stocking their range of products. While many other chess computers are little more than glorified video games, Saitek chess computers uses real chess pieces on top of an actual chessboard with electronic sensors, to give the feel of actually playing a real game of chess.

Why use a Chess Computer?

The Turk Mechanical Chess ComputerThe number one reason to employ a chess computer when teaching yourself to play chess is that human opponents may not always be readily available to sit down and play a game with. And even when another person should happen to be available, they may not be good enough at chess, or worse still, much better than you. Sitting down to play a game against a computer is like sitting down to play a mirror image of yourself, where you are always guaranteed to be challenged. Not to speak of the fact that chess computers can never get too tired to play, unless their batteries run out. Another advantage to using a chess computer is the vast array of information the computer is able to keep a record of. The best example of this is its ability to store saved games in memory, so that you can come back and resume them at a later date. Another spectacular feature is the built in timer, so that players can get used to having to take their turns in a set amount of time. Getting into this habit is great practice for players aspiring to play competitively in chess tournaments.

The Chess Computer

IBM Deep Blue 01 Chess ComputerProfessor Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying that “The human brain is the most powerful thing in the universe.” The greatest challenge to his claim is, of course, the computer. In its infancy the first computer was about the size of a house. To have your brain challenged by something of that size is a reasonable threat, but as the early computers of the forties became smaller with the advent of the microchip the threat to the power of the human brain came in a very small package, and with this small format came the quest for artificial intelligence, that is the approximation by machines of our higher intellectual processes, things such as the ability to reason, discover meanings, generalise and learn from past experience.

As playing chess in its advanced form would be regarded as one of our higher intellectual processes, the software programmers rose to the challenge of creating chess playing machines. As chess involves logic, prediction and strategic thinking the computer should have a head start, with the additional benefit of not having emotions such as anger, frustration, disappointment, anxiety or indeed shame to hinder the process.

Computer chess games

Chess computers first started to appear in 1977. The technology steadily improved to the point, around 1986, where they were regularly beating club players. All chess computers have ELO ratings to indicate the playing strength of the machine. The ELO rating is calculated by taking the ECF rating (the English Chess Federation’s rating number) multiplying this number by 8, then adding 600. This gives you the ELO metric. Machines having a rating of 1500 or over are regarded as strong. Some chess computers have an ELO rating of 2000 and above. Of course, the strength can be varied to work at a required level, from novice, to club, to grand master.

Chess Apps on Mobile Devices With the development of microchip technology, a chess computer can be tabletop size, or it can fit into the palm of your hand. As well as being your opponent, the computer chess game can be your tutor, taking a complete novice through a game, stage by stage. Some have a speaking facility so you can listen to instructions and have a more human-like interaction with the machine. Moves can also be recorded and reviewed, all very useful tools in the learning process.

With the development of digital media exciting interactive elements will soon be introduced to chess tournaments. All audience members will be issued with an iPad on which they can track the players’ moves, speculate on possible outcomes and share their ideas with the other spectators. If the match is being broadcast online this computerised interaction could be massive!

Can the best chess computers be beaten?

So now the ancient game of chess is very much at home with the latest digital technology. The internet is replete with so many chess websites, blogs and chat rooms, and many are now happy to play chess completely digitally, a world away from those carved wooden pieces that have served us all so well for so many years. But the technology has advanced exponentially, and one wonders now if the best chess computer can be beaten by the world’s top players, or is a draw the most these mere mortals can hope for?

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