[Coladam] About Coleco chess programs

Jim Notini jnoti2 at comcast.net
Sun Jul 25 20:50:23 CEST 2010


GOOD LUCK with your efforts to program a Chess game for the ColecoVision 
(standard system not a MegaCart game I would assume... or Opcode SGM). I 
especially like your approach to tackle projects that were "in the Coleco 
catalog" like your SpecTank (and thankfully this was finally knocked off by 
Scott Huggins' release of Spectar). I think there are a lot of ColecoVision 
fans that have followed the system since 1982 that would love to see the 
homebrew programmers tackle other such projects that were "in the Coleco 
catalog" like RipCord, Side Track, Wild Western (please Eduardo!!), Dracula, 
Skiing (first person perspective, not the one we got), etc. When one of 
these games finally come to fruition it's like a hole has been finally 
filled after all these years. Not to say that I haven't enjoyed all the 
other news releases like Ghostblaster, Jeepers Creepers, Space Invaders 
Collection, Sky Jaguar, etc., but these abandoned games that Coleco wet our 
appetites with, to me, are something a little more special when they finally 
make their way to my CV system.

I know I mentioned some of the ADAM Chess games on the chat to you (A-Chess 
Sargon, Modem Chess and Chess Champ), but I forgot to mention another Chess 
game called Chess Solitaire. This was an interesting variation where you 
would actually take over play of a famous match between two champions. I 
don't recall all the dynamics of the program, but it is on the DVD so you 
can check it out.

I'll have to look at my collection of MSX and SG-1000 games to see if there 
is a decent chess program for those systems as this could provide some 
incite into the capabilities of a chess game for the CV since these systems 
are so similar (as you know).


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Daniel Bienvenu" <newcoleco at yahoo.fr>
To: <coladam at adamcon.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2010 12:55 AM
Subject: [Coladam] About Coleco chess programs

> Last time, during the chat session, I was asking about chess programs for 
> the Coleco and Modem chess was mentioned as the better chess program for 
> the Coleco Adam computer. There is at least 3 chess programs for the Adam, 
> and I hope to see a chess program for the ColecoVision game system, as it 
> was supposed to be (ColecoVision silver catalog), in order to at least 
> show that the console can also play chess.
> Based on the ColecoVision silver catalog, Fidelity Chess Challenger was 
> proposed. Compared to Sargon and other chess programs of that time like 
> Boris and microchess, Chess Challenger offer a decent chess challenge for 
> chess players, with an average of 2 minutes per move.
> Boris : http://www.boris-is-king.com/homepage.htm
> Microchess : http://www.benlo.com/microchess/microchess.html
> Sargon : 
> http://web.archive.org/web/20070614114334/http://madscientistroom.org/chm/Sargon.html
> The following web site about various Chess Challenger devices gives me a 
> clue about what the ColecoVision version may be based on. The model CC10 
> (for Chess Challenger 10) need 0.5KB of RAM and 4KB of ROM (includes 100 
> opening moves), which is within the limits of the ColecoVision game 
> system. And, the next model, with voice, seems to use too much RAM to 
> consider being used for the ColecoVision, 1KB of RAM (which is total RAM 
> size in the console) and 8KB of ROM (includes 500 opening moves).
> http://www.blitzchess.fr/fr/jeuxdes7familles/fidelity/chesschallenger/index.html
> Considering the ranking of a novice chess player to be just above 1000 
> Elo, a chess program like CC10 is evaluated around 1300 Elo. Microchess is 
> faster but also gets a lower rank. So, it's enough for a pretty decent 
> challenge.
> After seeing the small size of the small RAM size needed and the openings 
> library of these chess programs, the major problem is the time response, 
> which depends on the algorithm used to evaluate the possible moves (like a 
> game-decision tree analysis). There are a lot of different strategies and 
> brute force is the slowest one.
> So, what could be a chess game for the ColecoVision game system?
> For fun, I was thinking of a way to build a nice openings library. So far, 
> I think I can fit about 512 moves in 16KB, maybe 3 times more with luck 
> and compression. So far, I find out these web pages that can help to 
> decide what should be in the openings library.
> How to beat a chess program (should help to increase the Elo ranking)
> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/adam.bozon/computers.htm
> GameKnot database (results of thousands of chess games played at this web 
> site)
> http://gameknot.com/chess-games-database.pl
> Openings stats (gives advices about what to play)
> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/adam.bozon/stats.htm
> According to the last website, even if "1. e4 e5" is very popular, the 
> best opening should be "1. c4 c5". So, I've started with this opening and 
> I've typed a list of at least 150 interesting variations after "1. c4 c5" 
> , with the help of the gameknot database, to be in the openings library of 
> a potential ColecoVision chess program. I suppose I'll have to limit my 
> enthousiast if I want the openings library to fit in a 32KB chess game 
> project.
> I've absolutely no idea on how to code the chess engine itself to make it 
> run just fine, even with all the documentations here and there about how 
> to code a chess program, but a good openings library should help to start 
> quickly and nicely each chess match.
> Other links :
> Easy to read chess program listing
> TSCP : http://www.tckerrigan.com/Chess/TSCP
> Impossible to read source code tiny chess games
> Toledo Chess : http://nanochess.110mb.com/chess1.html
> Micro-max : http://home.hccnet.nl/h.g.muller/max-src2.html
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