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Video Chess (TI99/4a)

Posted: February 28th, 2016, 7:07 pm
by scotland
Released: 2nd Quarter of 1979
Programmed by Tom Merrow (with chess guidance from David Levy)
Size: 28k
Retail Price: $70
Today's Value: $2 for a cartridge, $10 for complete in box
Brings to Mind: Sargon

Check out the price tag for this cartridge, a whopping $70 in 1979. However, its also 28k, which was huge, and may have been a bit of a marvel for playing and looking as nice as it does. Graphically, its superior to the 1982 Intellivision chess game. It comes with a 50 page instruction booklet, about half are how to play chess. There are a host of special commands, like taking back a move, or taking a time out. You can save a game to tape. There are a few levels of difficulty, and you can adjust the opponents play style (defensive, aggressive, etc). There are options to set up problems for practice. I have enjoyed some games on the system, but I am just a casual chess player. Hopefully Goldenband, who knows his chess games, can find a way to evaluate it. I expect its not too strong, but still, kudos for being as good as it is from the Carter administration.

One fascinating bit on this game is the participation of David Levy. Levy was a young English chess champion when in 1968, he made a public bet with some artificial intelligence researchers, called "Levy's Bet" that no computer would be able to beat him in chess for 10 years. Levy played a game against the best computer program of its time in 1978, and won his bet. Levy went on to work with Texas Instruments on this game. He eventually has lost to a computer program about 10 years later, and that was to the famous Deep Thought before it went on to face Kasparov.