Computer Chess Club Archives




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

Author: Jim Paul

Date: 17:08:55 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

I've got an old Novag Constellation 2Mhz machine that I've had for about 13
years. From what I remember it was rated around 1650 in the UK. I played it
against Rebel Decade 1.0 on a 386/20Mhz machine about a year ago, here were the
results ( I also have the games if you are interested). Rebel played with the
permanent brain option off, and the Novag played at L7 which is 3 mins per move.

Rebel (5s) 0  - Novag Constellation (L7) 2
Rebel (10s) 1 - Novag Constellation (L7) 4
Rebel (30s) 7 - Novag Constellation (L7) 0

Interesting was the sudden jump in Rebel Decade's performance from 10s to 30s
per move. I'm not sure what Decade would be rated on a 386 / 20Mhz machine.



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