disappointed with the weak responses.
(foto: Tom Luif)
(foto: Tom Luif)
The same was true of Novag’s Robot Adversary, which was an elegant machine priced at approximately $1500 (about $1.00 per rating point). Both of these machines were ahead of their time cosmetically, winning the prestigious New Product Award. However, the price/skill ratio was less appealing.
Novag also introduced a weaker, smaller “My Chess” program (only 4K) in a hand-held machine called Micro Chess. Priced as $140 with a rating of approximately 1000, this was the only significant hand-held chess computer of its time. Kittinger had just moved from Alaska to Los Angeles to continue his programming while making use of additional input from strong masters. The Hong Kong based SciSys also made an appearance in December of
1981 with their Chess Champion Mark V. Programmer David Levy’s best effort won the 1981 ‘World Micro Championship, Commercial Section. To wrap up this significant, year - all the companies top-of-the-line programs were nose to nose at a high Class C, nearly 1600.
This included Fidelity’s last quarter advancement after the addition of the Spracklen team. During those few months, Fidelity added approxiamtely 200 points to its best machine to meet the competition with their Champion Sensory Chess Challenger program.
The final 1981 retail price standings, with all machines rating at approximately a high “C” level, were: Fidelity Champion Sensory Chess Challenger $375; Applied Concepts Great Game Machine (MGS/GGM) with Morphy Edition master chess $350; SciSys Chess Champion Mark V $398; Novag Savant $625.
At this point, all the machines were straining to become a solid Class B strength. However, although all manufactuers are now familiar with actual ratings, most of them were claiming “unofficial” ratings of 1700-1799. Things had gotten to the point where if any manufacturer claimed thereal strength of their machine, which would have realistically been under 1600, themachine would have appeared to be weaker than any of the competition and therefore unmarketable.