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chess computer shopping? - some things to consider

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Old November 27th 03, 06:38 PM posted to alt.chess
Chris Kantack
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Posts: 9
Default chess computer shopping? - some things to consider

For those of you interested in handheld chess computers, here's a quick
summary of things to consider. Note: I have no expertise with the
PocketPC platform. My handheld chess experience is pretty much limited to
the Palm, Gameboy platform, and Excalibur products:

My handheld web site can be found at:


Now for some quick info that may help those who are new to chess computer

1. For strong club players (I'm talking about anyone with an over-
the-board USCF rating of 1600 or more (or an ICC slow chess rating of 1700
or more) if you desire a handheld chess computer you probably should limit
your consideration to the Palm or PocketPC platforms. The Excalibur series
of handhelds are great computers but you may not find them strong enough.

2. Even if you are not a strong club player, if you are very serious
about your computer chess and if your budget allows a $100 or more
expenditure, there is good reason to consider a PDA as a chess
computer. With a great program like ChessGenius or Chess Tiger, you get
automatic recording of games. Combine that with easy PDA-to-PC file
transfers and you've got a very nice and portable platform for not only
playing chess but for analyzing your games.

3. For the rest of us (with a chess strength rating of under 1600
Elo), low cost dedicated units, like the Excalibur handhelds, make great
opponents! (They are also a great bargain!) The best all time bargain (in
my opinion)is Talking LCD Chess which can be had for under 25 dollars. Of
course there are many good chess computer buys out there. Each model having
its own particular strengths and weaknesses.

4. For those of you considering an LCD handheld, but are concerned
about display quality (or like to be able to play your game with a real
chess set), don't rule out getting a handheld chess computer. When playing
from home, there is nothing stopping you from setting up a set along side
your handheld unit and mirroring the moves on the "big board". I often do
this myself. To me it's a lot of fun to hear my Talking LCD unit call out
its move. I then make the move on my fancy chess set and then begin to
ponder my own move.

Though I do many other things in "the chess world", I continue to maintain
and update my web site on handheld computer chess. I very much enjoy
corresponding with all of you who are using or shopping for a chess
computer. My current plans are to continue to maintain and enhance my web
site over the next several months. There are still a lot of new
developments going on in the world of chess computers (esp. handheld chess

Chris Kantack

Some links:

LCD Chess home page:

Talking LCD Chess:

Chess Tiger (for the Palm):

ChessGenius (Richard Lang's site):
Chris Kantack
(remove the "nospampls" from my email address if replying to me directly by

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