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Old July 29th 05, 06:59 AM
matt -`;'-
 
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Default Portable Chess Computer Choices - Opinions Wanted

I have been looking at a variety of portable Chess computers and like some of the touch screen types that aren't horribly expensive.

The problem is that I can not really know if the pieces and board appearance are any good from the pictures alone.

Anyone have one of these? :
Mephisto Maestro
Excalibur Deluxe Talking Chess
Excalibur Touch Chess
Excalibur Touch Chess & Checkers

I have an old Radio Shack E-Chess which if it had better controls would make it good enough. The controls are starting to annoy me
when I have to make move selections because I have to make massively repetitive button pushes just to scroll thru the move choices.
This has motivated me to get a touch-screen type. The above choices all seem nice, but I really can not tell how good or bad the
pieces and boards are amongst them.

I am sort of leaning towards the Mephisto, but it has some rather odd looking pieces and I am not sure if they will be readily
distinguishable at a rapid rate of play. It does have a nice looking board - if it really is white/grey like the picture. Overall
this is the most stylish looking unit I have ever seen. I just keep thinking that those pieces may be tricky when playing fast
games. My piece recognition just doesn't kick in as fast with them.

The Excalibur Deluxe Talking Chess has some nicely shaped pieces, but I wonder about the contrast of the squares for the board. I
really don't like the puke green color used for the background below the board - maybe the picture makes it look that way.
Otherwise it seems like it is nice. Lots of playing levels and probably greater strength than my present Chess computer. The
pieces have a much more reasonable shape than any of the others, but they seem a little faded - maybe the picture makes them look
that way?

The Excalibur Touch Chess (and Checkers variant) has nice contrast for the board colors and it has the okay pieces that I have on my
E-chess. It also has the nice move rating indicator and time controls at the top of the display and seems nice. Batteries are the
downside since it doesn't go with the usual AAA or AA types and instead uses some odd round batteries. I am concerned that these
special batteries will cost more than AAA, but since the price of all batteries sucks lately maybe they cost the same. The overall
appearance of this unit appeals to me as far as square contrast and design layout of the screen. I don't like the ghostyness of the
light pieces so much.

I have to say that there are some nice advances in many of the portable Chess computers - they have a lot of variety by playing
levels and some models have extras beyond the standard game. The touch-screen idea is the best feature. I do wish that the board
was larger so I don't have to squint at it so much. Also I really wish that the pieces could be represented by clear/sharply
defined normal Staunton shapes that work well with the contrast of the squares. I don't care about something that fits in my pocket
as much as having a unit that is easy to use and see. So a larger size would be good - just put a good handhold on it. Of course
this is all in my dreams, but it would be nice.

I did see a pic of a Novag Sapphire with normal looking (mostly) pieces and it looked decent - even squares colors looked reasonable
white/grey. But that price sent me running screaming into the night...

Tell me what you think about the latest portable Chess computers if you want. I would like to see what you think, thanks, matt


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Old July 29th 05, 07:14 AM
Jason...
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"matt -`;'-" wrote in message
...
I have been looking at a variety of portable Chess computers and like some
of the touch screen types that aren't horribly expensive.

The problem is that I can not really know if the pieces and board
appearance are any good from the pictures alone.

Anyone have one of these? :
Mephisto Maestro
Excalibur Deluxe Talking Chess
Excalibur Touch Chess
Excalibur Touch Chess & Checkers

I have an old Radio Shack E-Chess which if it had better controls would
make it good enough. The controls are starting to annoy me
when I have to make move selections because I have to make massively
repetitive button pushes just to scroll thru the move choices.
This has motivated me to get a touch-screen type. The above choices all
seem nice, but I really can not tell how good or bad the
pieces and boards are amongst them.

I am sort of leaning towards the Mephisto, but it has some rather odd
looking pieces and I am not sure if they will be readily
distinguishable at a rapid rate of play. It does have a nice looking
board - if it really is white/grey like the picture. Overall
this is the most stylish looking unit I have ever seen. I just keep
thinking that those pieces may be tricky when playing fast
games. My piece recognition just doesn't kick in as fast with them.

The Excalibur Deluxe Talking Chess has some nicely shaped pieces, but I
wonder about the contrast of the squares for the board. I
really don't like the puke green color used for the background below the
board - maybe the picture makes it look that way.
Otherwise it seems like it is nice. Lots of playing levels and probably
greater strength than my present Chess computer. The
pieces have a much more reasonable shape than any of the others, but they
seem a little faded - maybe the picture makes them look
that way?

The Excalibur Touch Chess (and Checkers variant) has nice contrast for the
board colors and it has the okay pieces that I have on my
E-chess. It also has the nice move rating indicator and time controls at
the top of the display and seems nice. Batteries are the
downside since it doesn't go with the usual AAA or AA types and instead
uses some odd round batteries. I am concerned that these
special batteries will cost more than AAA, but since the price of all
batteries sucks lately maybe they cost the same. The overall
appearance of this unit appeals to me as far as square contrast and design
layout of the screen. I don't like the ghostyness of the
light pieces so much.

I have to say that there are some nice advances in many of the portable
Chess computers - they have a lot of variety by playing
levels and some models have extras beyond the standard game. The
touch-screen idea is the best feature. I do wish that the board
was larger so I don't have to squint at it so much. Also I really wish
that the pieces could be represented by clear/sharply
defined normal Staunton shapes that work well with the contrast of the
squares. I don't care about something that fits in my pocket
as much as having a unit that is easy to use and see. So a larger size
would be good - just put a good handhold on it. Of course
this is all in my dreams, but it would be nice.

I did see a pic of a Novag Sapphire with normal looking (mostly) pieces
and it looked decent - even squares colors looked reasonable
white/grey. But that price sent me running screaming into the night...

Tell me what you think about the latest portable Chess computers if you
want. I would like to see what you think, thanks, matt




I strongly suggest you just get a laptop computer and a recent copy of
Shredder. That is about the strongest off-the-shelf chess playing program in
the world. Shredder would easily beat all those programs you mentioned
giving a simul.

Jason


  #3   Report Post  
Old July 29th 05, 08:29 PM
matt -`;'-
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Jason..." wrote in message news[email protected]

"matt -`;'-" wrote in message
...
I have been looking at a variety of portable Chess computers and like some
of the touch screen types that aren't horribly expensive.

The problem is that I can not really know if the pieces and board
appearance are any good from the pictures alone.

Anyone have one of these? :
Mephisto Maestro
Excalibur Deluxe Talking Chess
Excalibur Touch Chess
Excalibur Touch Chess & Checkers

I have an old Radio Shack E-Chess which if it had better controls would
make it good enough. The controls are starting to annoy me
when I have to make move selections because I have to make massively
repetitive button pushes just to scroll thru the move choices.
This has motivated me to get a touch-screen type. The above choices all
seem nice, but I really can not tell how good or bad the
pieces and boards are amongst them.

I am sort of leaning towards the Mephisto, but it has some rather odd
looking pieces and I am not sure if they will be readily
distinguishable at a rapid rate of play. It does have a nice looking
board - if it really is white/grey like the picture. Overall
this is the most stylish looking unit I have ever seen. I just keep
thinking that those pieces may be tricky when playing fast
games. My piece recognition just doesn't kick in as fast with them.

The Excalibur Deluxe Talking Chess has some nicely shaped pieces, but I
wonder about the contrast of the squares for the board. I
really don't like the puke green color used for the background below the
board - maybe the picture makes it look that way.
Otherwise it seems like it is nice. Lots of playing levels and probably
greater strength than my present Chess computer. The
pieces have a much more reasonable shape than any of the others, but they
seem a little faded - maybe the picture makes them look
that way?

The Excalibur Touch Chess (and Checkers variant) has nice contrast for the
board colors and it has the okay pieces that I have on my
E-chess. It also has the nice move rating indicator and time controls at
the top of the display and seems nice. Batteries are the
downside since it doesn't go with the usual AAA or AA types and instead
uses some odd round batteries. I am concerned that these
special batteries will cost more than AAA, but since the price of all
batteries sucks lately maybe they cost the same. The overall
appearance of this unit appeals to me as far as square contrast and design
layout of the screen. I don't like the ghostyness of the
light pieces so much.

I have to say that there are some nice advances in many of the portable
Chess computers - they have a lot of variety by playing
levels and some models have extras beyond the standard game. The
touch-screen idea is the best feature. I do wish that the board
was larger so I don't have to squint at it so much. Also I really wish
that the pieces could be represented by clear/sharply
defined normal Staunton shapes that work well with the contrast of the
squares. I don't care about something that fits in my pocket
as much as having a unit that is easy to use and see. So a larger size
would be good - just put a good handhold on it. Of course
this is all in my dreams, but it would be nice.

I did see a pic of a Novag Sapphire with normal looking (mostly) pieces
and it looked decent - even squares colors looked reasonable
white/grey. But that price sent me running screaming into the night...

Tell me what you think about the latest portable Chess computers if you
want. I would like to see what you think, thanks, matt




I strongly suggest you just get a laptop computer and a recent copy of
Shredder. That is about the strongest off-the-shelf chess playing program in
the world. Shredder would easily beat all those programs you mentioned
giving a simul.

Jason


Thanks for the reply Jason. That is a good idea, but I am looking for something a little lighter to use on my lunch breaks during
the week. I figure with a handheld I won't have to be concerned with the battery running out or searching for an outlet. I also
stand a better chance of winnning against the handheld so I am using it for a lunchtime training partner. When I find myself
winning against it 100% of the time then it will be time for a laptop or pocket PC with Shredder or Hiarcs. Shredder is nice - I
have it on my home PC and it plays an interesting game of Chess. Thanks again, matt


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Old July 30th 05, 08:45 AM
Guy Macon
 
Posts: n/a
Default




Jason... wrote:

I strongly suggest you just get a laptop computer and a recent
copy of Shredder. That is about the strongest off-the-shelf
chess playing program in the world. Shredder would easily beat
all those programs you mentioned


Unless, of course, you care about cost, size, weight, battery
life, or stealability. Then the handheld easily beats any
laptop.

It doen't need to be strong enough to beat other chess computers.
It only has to be strong enough to beat the person using it.


  #5   Report Post  
Old July 30th 05, 03:46 PM
Jason...
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Guy Macon" spewed forth
It doen't need to be strong enough to beat other chess computers.
It only has to be strong enough to beat the person using it.



This is the mentallity of a guy who is around 1300 and who will stay around
1300. It isn't just about "beating it", it is about game analysis,
databases, the ability for online play, tablebases, and alot of other
things. I play chess on the playchess server on my laptop via wi-fi from all
over the place. You can't do that with your piece of crap dedicated chess
toy. As for weight, they are making slimline laptops that are well under 3
lbs. If you're too weak to carry 3 lbs around there is something wrong.

Also, a laptop computer is useful for alot of other things in addition to
chess.




  #6   Report Post  
Old July 30th 05, 06:38 PM
Inconnux
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 14:46:04 GMT, "Jason..."
wrote:


"Guy Macon" spewed forth
It doen't need to be strong enough to beat other chess computers.
It only has to be strong enough to beat the person using it.



This is the mentallity of a guy who is around 1300 and who will stay around
1300. It isn't just about "beating it", it is about game analysis,
databases, the ability for online play, tablebases, and alot of other
things. I play chess on the playchess server on my laptop via wi-fi from all
over the place. You can't do that with your piece of crap dedicated chess
toy. As for weight, they are making slimline laptops that are well under 3
lbs. If you're too weak to carry 3 lbs around there is something wrong.

Also, a laptop computer is useful for alot of other things in addition to
chess.


get both

A laptop is nice to have for when you have time to sit and setup... I
run CM10k, Fritz8, CT-ART, Chessbase lite and blitzin (ICC) on my
laptop, but there is times when it isnt 'portable' enough...

Ive heard many people suggest getting a palm like device which seems
to be a better portable solution...

As for handhelds i can vouch for the Seitek Mephisto and a Gameboy
Advanced with Chessmaster, which i am pleased with both of them...
  #7   Report Post  
Old July 30th 05, 06:56 PM
Jason...
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Inconnux" wrote in message
...
On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 14:46:04 GMT, "Jason..."
wrote:


"Guy Macon" spewed forth
It doen't need to be strong enough to beat other chess computers.
It only has to be strong enough to beat the person using it.



This is the mentallity of a guy who is around 1300 and who will stay
around
1300. It isn't just about "beating it", it is about game analysis,
databases, the ability for online play, tablebases, and alot of other
things. I play chess on the playchess server on my laptop via wi-fi from
all
over the place. You can't do that with your piece of crap dedicated chess
toy. As for weight, they are making slimline laptops that are well under 3
lbs. If you're too weak to carry 3 lbs around there is something wrong.

Also, a laptop computer is useful for alot of other things in addition to
chess.


get both

A laptop is nice to have for when you have time to sit and setup... I
run CM10k, Fritz8, CT-ART, Chessbase lite and blitzin (ICC) on my
laptop, but there is times when it isnt 'portable' enough...

Ive heard many people suggest getting a palm like device which seems
to be a better portable solution...

As for handhelds i can vouch for the Seitek Mephisto and a Gameboy
Advanced with Chessmaster, which i am pleased with both of them...



A handheld with a poket fritz, etc, I can see. But I don't see the point of
wasting money on obsolete dedicated chess computers.


  #8   Report Post  
Old July 31st 05, 08:00 AM
matt -`;'-
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Inconnux" wrote in message ...
On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 14:46:04 GMT, "Jason..."
wrote:


"Guy Macon" spewed forth
It doen't need to be strong enough to beat other chess computers.
It only has to be strong enough to beat the person using it.



This is the mentallity of a guy who is around 1300 and who will stay around
1300. It isn't just about "beating it", it is about game analysis,
databases, the ability for online play, tablebases, and alot of other
things. I play chess on the playchess server on my laptop via wi-fi from all
over the place. You can't do that with your piece of crap dedicated chess
toy. As for weight, they are making slimline laptops that are well under 3
lbs. If you're too weak to carry 3 lbs around there is something wrong.

Also, a laptop computer is useful for alot of other things in addition to
chess.


get both

A laptop is nice to have for when you have time to sit and setup... I
run CM10k, Fritz8, CT-ART, Chessbase lite and blitzin (ICC) on my
laptop, but there is times when it isnt 'portable' enough...

Ive heard many people suggest getting a palm like device which seems
to be a better portable solution...

As for handhelds i can vouch for the Seitek Mephisto and a Gameboy
Advanced with Chessmaster, which i am pleased with both of them...


Do you have a Mephisto Maestro? If yes, what do you think about the playing strength at various levels?
Also, if yes, can you set it to play a move in 5 or 10 or 15 seconds?


  #9   Report Post  
Old July 31st 05, 08:48 PM
Inconnux
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 03:00:32 -0400, "matt -`;'-"
wrote:



Do you have a Mephisto Maestro? If yes, what do you think about the playing strength at various levels?
Also, if yes, can you set it to play a move in 5 or 10 or 15 seconds?


I have the Saitek Mephisto travel chess (non-lcd) model which is a
cheap little portable that has decent playing strength for someone of
my experience/skill level (i have only been playing for about 1 year
now). I often use it for playing through games in books and have used
it as a chessboard for pvp games. Like most chess computers, the
higher the level, the more time each move takes...
http://www.saitekusa.com/chess/travelchess.htm

I would love to get a palm like device, but until then im pretty happy
with my Gameboy Advance with Chessmaster. Great for a quick game when
time permits .

J.Lohner
  #10   Report Post  
Old July 31st 05, 08:55 PM
Inconnux
 
Posts: n/a
Default



A laptop is nice to have for when you have time to sit and setup... I
run CM10k, Fritz8, CT-ART, Chessbase lite and blitzin (ICC) on my
laptop, but there is times when it isnt 'portable' enough...

Ive heard many people suggest getting a palm like device which seems
to be a better portable solution...

As for handhelds i can vouch for the Seitek Mephisto and a Gameboy
Advanced with Chessmaster, which i am pleased with both of them...



A handheld with a poket fritz, etc, I can see. But I don't see the point of
wasting money on obsolete dedicated chess computers.

cost is a factor. Not all of us can afford a handheld palm like
device. I would probably spend 6months in the doghouse If I bought a
handheld for playing chess I think I paid $20 on ebay for my
Mephisto which doubles as a portable chessboard for when I play
against actual people My Gameboy advanced SP is perfect for
fitting in my jacket pocket for quick games...

but for the best solution, I agree, a handheld is the best solution
for a 'pocket' chess player and a laptop is definately the best
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