CHESSmate vs. Videopac C7010

Next to my passion for everything that is Commodore, I also collect all things Videopac. This was actually my very first computer (well, it’s a console really, as doing anything else than just selecting game options with the keyboard is pushing it… although it was marketed as more than just another console) and hence I’m very fond of it and try to get my collection complete for this machine as well.

I recently acquired the C7010 Chess expansion module for this system and it really is a big expansion module. Normally, games come on simple cartridges for this system, but as the Videopac itself didn’t have enough RAM memory and computing power for a true chess program, Philips decided to equip the chess cartridge with an add-on computer module that sits on top of the console. The extra processing power (and it is actually quite impressive for this 1982 game) is provided by a microprocessor running at 4.43 MHz and the extra memory the module provides for the console is 2KB of RAM and 8KB of ROM. Nice!

So, is all this extra memory and computing power giving it that little extra to be a true chess program?
I decided to test this and put the Videopac C7010 head to head with the Commodore CHESSmate.

If one were to try and predict the outcome of this match a quick glance at some of the specs of both machines should show that the C7010 has the advantage. This early 80s module clearly has more firepower than the good old CHESSmate from the 70s, which sports the MOS 6504 CPU, with 256 byte RAM and 4 KB ROM. Nonethelss, the CHESSmate did surprise me when it was first put up against a computer opponent on chess.com (see “The chess grandmaster!“) and later on when it gave the Kasparov machine a tough match (see “CHESSmate vs. Kasparov“).

The game was initiated and chess.com was used as sort of the central playing field where both the moves from the CHESSmate and the C7010 were entered. The C7010 played white and the Commodore machine played with the black pieces. Both machines were set to their medium difficulty level (C7010: 4 out of 6 and CHESSmate: 5 out of 8)

The C7010 shows you how it considers the many different possible moves and how it sets aside the best option in this process. Quite a nice touch and helpful if you want to brush up on your chess skills.

Both machines played well, with the C7010 playing quite aggressively and going immediately for the offense. This proved to be very effective as after 19 rounds of play, the CHESSmate found itself checkmate, although it did manage to “check” the C7010 a couple of times!

So the extra firepower proved to be key in winning the game. For sure, it was just one game, and a next game between these two machines will be on the books shortly!

You can see the replay of the game here and for the chess-fans, the full turn sequence is listed below.

Turn sequence:
1.e4 / e5
2.Nf3 / Nf6
3.Nc3 / d5
4.exd5 / Nxd5
5.Nxe5 / Nxc3
6.bxc3 / Qd5
7.d4Q / e4+
8.Qe2 / Qd5
9.Ng6+ / Be6
10.Nxh8 / Nc6
11.Rb1 / Qxa2
12.Rxb7 / Ba3
13.Bxa3 / Qxa3
14.Qd3 / Qc1+
15.Ke2 / Bg4+
16.f3 / Nd8
17.Rxc7 / Ne6
18.Qb5+ / Kd8
19.Qd7#

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2 Responses to CHESSmate vs. Videopac C7010

  1. Pingback: An unexpected link | A Commodore Geek's Blog

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