Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: Novag Super Constellation (very old chess computer)

Author: Fernando Villegas

Date: 13:24:18 09/18/98

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On September 18, 1998 at 16:11:35, John Coffey wrote:

>In 1984 I purchased a Novag Super Constellation.  Mine quit working a few years
>What impressed me the most about this program was the strength for its time
>considering that it was only running on a 4 mhz 6502.  Granted it was no
>master, but the USCF gave it a rating of 2018.  Those ratings given to
>computers were pretty controversial, and may still be controversial today
>on newer machines.
>My understanding is that it only evaluated positional ideas at the base of the
>search tree.  Although that is rather limited, it gave the machine a balance
>of positional and tactical strength (for its time) that still probably could
>beat most tournament players.  It seemed especially strong at speed chess.
>I wonder if anyone has one of these that still work?  I would be curious if
>it still could hold its rating, and if gets totally crushed by better programs
>running on machines that are hundreds of times faster.
>John Coffey

Hi John:
I had Constellation 3,6, very similar to yours, although somewhat weaker as much
the program was 16 Kbytes. Nevertheless, it played a pretty game and I lost -and
won- very interesting games. A couple of years ago i gave it to a prodige child
in my country. That happened  after winning him in a tournament with that mate
given withjust the knight. I suppose I was so impressed to beat the genius in so
a pretty way that in a rush of benevolence I was prepared to give him anything.
Well, the boy has made a very good use of Constellation, he call sometime to
tell me that he win Constellation all the time -maybe not so, quite, but.. - and
I feel that this end for Constellation, like a sparring partner for a child just
beginning his career, is the very best he could have. I liked it very much, very
enterprtesing. You just does not get that kind of computer these days...

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