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Subject: looking for a recommendation: replacing dad's old chess computer rss

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Teeka
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Hello everyone.

My dad used to have a Fidelity Chess Challenger table chess computer. He's had it since the early 80s, and it finally broke down.

I'm looking to replace it for his birthday. But unfortunately, I don't know anything about these machines.
Fidelity is no longer in business, so I can't ask them and repairs are not an option either.

So, I was hoping if anyone here knows of a current-day machine that's comparable to the old Chess Challenger. Both in interface and in difficulty.

I'm sorry I can't be more specific, all I know is that this was what he liked and is used to. Just hoping some of you know about the old machines, and what they were like.
He's over 70 now so he's not that open to new/'modern' interfaces.. so like, buying him an ipad with a chess app won't do the trick. If anything, the more "old-school", the better.

If anyone reading this lives in Holland and can link me a store, all the better of course.

Thank you all so much beforehand!
 
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Larry Welborn
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Take a look at http://www.uscfsales.com/ They have many different ones for sale. Find the one you like best and then you can look for it in Holland if you don't want to pay for international shipping.

The best for your dad really depends on the features he wants and his level of play.
 
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Todd Redden
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Teeka wrote:
Hello everyone.

My dad used to have a Fidelity Chess Challenger table chess computer. He's had it since the early 80s, and it finally broke down.

I'm looking to replace it for his birthday. But unfortunately, I don't know anything about these machines.
Fidelity is no longer in business, so I can't ask them and repairs are not an option either.

So, I was hoping if anyone here knows of a current-day machine that's comparable to the old Chess Challenger. Both in interface and in difficulty.

I'm sorry I can't be more specific, all I know is that this was what he liked and is used to. Just hoping some of you know about the old machines, and what they were like.
He's over 70 now so he's not that open to new/'modern' interfaces.. so like, buying him an ipad with a chess app won't do the trick. If anything, the more "old-school", the better.

If anyone reading this lives in Holland and can link me a store, all the better of course.

Thank you all so much beforehand!

I actually have a Chess Challenger. Honestly, it's so old school and hard to play on that it doesn't get much use any more (I like it because I've always liked the pieces that came with it, but your dad can still keep those). The newer machines are so much better - touch sensitive so you can just move your piece onto a square and the machine automatically records your move. Much stronger, but also with a lot more settings so you can set them to play near your level, etc. I wouldn't be looking for anything old/similar to the Chess Challenger, and would take the previous poster's recommendation to look on USCF's website, or just Google "electronic chess" and you'll find lots of good ones. Another option is to enter the same into eBay, and lots of stuff comes up!! Novag, Excaliber, even Radio Shack makes some good ones.
 
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Teeka
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Thanks to both of you, for the quick replies.

Larry Welborn wrote:
Take a look at http://www.uscfsales.com/ They have many different ones for sale. Find the one you like best and then you can look for it in Holland if you don't want to pay for international shipping.

I think I wasn't being entirely clear about what I was asking..my apologies. I have already found many brands, stores, etc, including that one.

But the thing is, I found that I really don't know what I would 'like best'. So what I was hoping you can help me with, is naming one or two current ones, that are just like the Chess Challenger or at least come very close.

You see, I'm just very afraid that I'll buy one my dad's not going to like, because there's something unfamiliar to it that he would need to learn first (you know, 'old folks syndrome'). Then there's quite a chance it won't get used.
Otherwise I would just buy the one that seems best to my untrained eye. But even if I dig through all the specs, I'm afraid I might still buy something that's not a good replacement.

Larry Welborn wrote:
The best for your dad really depends on the features he wants and his level of play.

Unfortunately, I have no idea about his level. I don't play myself, and I know nothing of the ratings they use. Also, I really only know that it is a Fidelity CC, but I haven't ever used it myself.

... so yeah, I guess that's a better way of asking: Are you familiar with the CC and if so, do you know of a current model that has the same level and features as the CC?
Like, if it were possible I would buy the exact same CC again, regardless of how many modern ones are out there that folks would consider (much) better.

tmredden wrote:
I actually have a Chess Challenger.

Oh, great! Could you give me any tips at all?

I found this store in particular, that seemed to have a nice range of products (not that I'm necessarily going to buy from them):
http://www.schaakcomputer-winkel.nl/tafelmodellen-c-57.html
If it's not too much trouble, maybe you can point out one on there that comes close? Or say (in total noob-language) what the differences would be in comparison?

...oh, and before anyone says it: Yes I realize that just taking him to the store to pick one would probably be much easier. But I'd really like to make this a surprise gift, you know.

Thanks so much for all your help!
 
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Teeka wrote:
Like, if it were possible I would buy the exact same CC again, regardless of how many modern ones are out there that folks would consider (much) better.

I would look for a used Fidelity Chess Challenger on eBay. A large number came up when I searched eBay. You may be able to get him the same model that he has. That would minimize (or even eliminate if you could get the same model) the risk that he won't like your gift as it is different from what he had.
 
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Teeka
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Willgamer wrote:
Teeka wrote:
Like, if it were possible I would buy the exact same CC again, regardless of how many modern ones are out there that folks would consider (much) better.

I would look for a used Fidelity Chess Challenger on eBay. A large number came up when I searched eBay. You may be able to get him the same model that he has. That would minimize (or even eliminate if you could get the same model) the risk that he won't like your gift as it is different from what he had.

Thanks for looking that up. But unfortunately I've already had some very bad experiences with old devices sold through eBay. IME, they tend to be not quite as 'working perfectly' as advertised.

Keeping that as an option for sure, but I'd much rather buy a new one that's similar. Also because if the new one has a problem, I can actually get it repaired/replaced by the manufacturer.
 
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Todd Redden
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Teeka wrote:
Thanks to both of you, for the quick replies.

tmredden wrote:
I actually have a Chess Challenger.

Oh, great! Could you give me any tips at all?

I found this store in particular, that seemed to have a nice range of products (not that I'm necessarily going to buy from them):
http://www.schaakcomputer-winkel.nl/tafelmodellen-c-57.html
If it's not too much trouble, maybe you can point out one on there that comes close? Or say (in total noob-language) what the differences would be in comparison?

...oh, and before anyone says it: Yes I realize that just taking him to the store to pick one would probably be much easier. But I'd really like to make this a surprise gift, you know.

Thanks so much for all your help!

Does your dad live in Germany/Europe, is that why you've chosen a Euro website? I'd say any of their advertised products would be great depending on how much you want to spend, though am unable to confirm not being able to read the language.
 
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Teeka
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tmredden wrote:

Does your dad live in Germany/Europe, is that why you've chosen a Euro website? I'd say any of their advertised products would be great depending on how much you want to spend, though am unable to confirm not being able to read the language.

Netherlands, actually.

And yeah, too bad that website doesn't have English text as well.

I was kindof hoping the brand/types mentioned there would be enough for someone like you to recognize what it is, and does.
Perhaps you could run some of it through 'translate with Bing' (right-mouse click if you have IE), but I fully understand if that's too much trouble.

Price is not that much of an issue, though I was counting on somewhere in the 100-150 euro range, especially since I'm looking for one with few 'tricks and gadgets'.
 
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Todd Redden
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Teeka wrote:
tmredden wrote:

Does your dad live in Germany/Europe, is that why you've chosen a Euro website? I'd say any of their advertised products would be great depending on how much you want to spend, though am unable to confirm not being able to read the language.

Netherlands, actually.

And yeah, too bad that website doesn't have English text as well.

I was kindof hoping the brand/types mentioned there would be enough for someone like you to recognize what it is, and does.
Perhaps you could run some of it through 'translate with Bing' (right-mouse click if you have IE), but I fully understand if that's too much trouble.

Price is not that much of an issue, though I was counting on somewhere in the 100-150 euro range, especially since I'm looking for one with few 'tricks and gadgets'.

I'm certainly no expert, but I think your dad would be very happy with any of the ones they sell in that price range.
 
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J. Heino
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Don't buy the Mephisto Chess Trainer. The pieces are not weighted or magnetic and falls over really easily. It feels like a cheap toy for children.

The pricier computers are much stronger than any of the Fidelity Chess Challenger models but I'm sure they all have some playing levels with weakened strength. For getting a good idea of what the computers can do, look if you can find their manuals online.

For estimations of playing strength for some computers:
http://www.schach-computer.info/wiki/index.php/Wiki-Elo-List...
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Teeka
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jjheino wrote:
Don't buy the Mephisto Chess Trainer. The pieces are not weighted or magnetic and falls over really easily. It feels like a cheap toy for children.

Thanks for pointing that out. That's definitely a tip I can use. If you have any other similar don't-do-this tips, please share!

jjheino wrote:
The pricier computers are much stronger than any of the Fidelity Chess Challenger models but I'm sure they all have some playing levels with weakened strength. For getting a good idea of what the computers can do, look if you can find their manuals online.

I know, but there's so many of them! I mean, I still will read up as much as possible, but it's always good to be able to narrow it down a little first, before diving into manual after manual.

jjheino wrote:

For estimations of playing strength for some computers:
http://www.schach-computer.info/wiki/index.php/Wiki-Elo-List...

..Now THAT's really something useful! Thank you so much! Now I finally have some comparison material, the CC is listed in there. Now I can go look for one with a similar ELO rating and as little settings/extras as possible. (wondering why I didn't find that page myself when googling.. )

I'll come back later and let you guys know what I'd think is a good idea.

Thanks!!
 
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Teeka
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Guys, I'm thinking to go for the Novag Carnelian 2:

http://www.chesshouse.com/Novag_Carnelian_II_Electronic_Ches...

Please let me know what you think. If there's anything about it at all you think is bad quality (for instance like the crappy 'toy' pieces of the other set mentioned earlier), please say so.
Also if you don't know this particular one but have any opnions on the brand in general, please share. I can certainly use all the input I can get.
 
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J. Heino
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Seems like a good choice. I have not read anything bad about it. It is strong enough. It's a little pricier than other computers of the same strength but it do have wooden pieces. It also has a LCD-screen and LEDs - more often it's only one or the other but not both.

I have only two older Novag table top computers (made in the 80's) but the boards are definitely classier than the newer Saitek Mephisto Chess Trainer I mentioned. I hope the quality is still the same.

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Teeka
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jjheino wrote:
Seems like a good choice. I have not read anything bad about it. It is strong enough. It's a little pricier than other computers of the same strength but it do have wooden pieces. It also has a LCD-screen and LEDs - more often it's only one or the other but not both.

I have only two older Novag table top computers (made in the 80's) but the boards are definitely classier than the newer Saitek Mephisto Chess Trainer I mentioned. I hope the quality is still the same.

Yeah, since your warning about the Mephisto's pieces, I also tried to find out if it is sturdy and 'non-toyish' enough.

Strange thing though that some websites mention an adaptor included, and some don't. Will have to check that before I buy.
Also, one review I found mentioned magnetic parts at the bottom of the pieces (which is a good thing IMO) but it's not mentioned in the manual. Is that standard for modern machines?
 
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Teeka wrote:

Also, one review I found mentioned magnetic parts at the bottom of the pieces (which is a good thing IMO) but it's not mentioned in the manual. Is that standard for modern machines?

Every table top chess computer I have, with the one exception of the Chess Trainer, do have magnets in the bottom of their pieces. There is also some other cheap computers without magnets, but It's pretty much standard to have magnets. I would not buy a computer without magnetic pieces.
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Teeka
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jjheino wrote:
Teeka wrote:

Also, one review I found mentioned magnetic parts at the bottom of the pieces (which is a good thing IMO) but it's not mentioned in the manual. Is that standard for modern machines?

Every table top chess computer I have, with the one exception of the Chess Trainer, do have magnets in the bottom of their pieces. There is also some other cheap computers without magnets, but It's pretty much standard to have magnets. I would not buy a computer without magnetic pieces.

That's good to know, thanks.

Ok, guess that's going to be the one then. Thanks for your help!
 
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