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NOVAG / Videomaster · Chess Champion Mk 1 - SOLD

The NOVAG - MK-1 was manufactured in 1978. It's a nice oldies collector with the red led display and the big buttons. It's also a very bad chess player. The MK 1 was well distributed and sold in Germany at a very low price at that time. The MK1 ist tested but sold without guarantee due to the age. You need a standard power supply (not included). Please see the Photos.

Made in Hong Kong. You can change the level of play during the game. It will always plays black. Interestingly, it does accept illegal moves and the manual (not included) acknowledges that! It says: "Since the computer is programmed to follow the rules of International Chess, it assumes that the player will obey the same rues. IF YOU ENTER AN ILLEGAL OR IMPOSSIBLE MOVE, THE MACHINE WILL ACCEPT IT AND COMPUTE THE BEST REACTION TO THIS NEW SITUATION"

It's more an historical prototype than a real player: it only plays black. During a game, around 1 move every 4 time is bad but it also plays well sometime: see for instance this test game. It knows the rules but do not check if the human player respect them. The pawn promotion is made by editing the board, for instance: H 7 H 8 MD EP Queen (button 2) H 8 PLAY. It can not mate King + Queen against King. In the rulebook, it's recommended to play with a Queen handicap. Anatoly Karpov signed the following sentence: "This electronic chess game is a new partner, interesting, with surprising game variants". Surprising indeed.

The uppercase sentence and bold are from the manual. Something else that's interesting is that it has a randomizing function to make the computer play differently when confronted with the same position. The MK-1 was also sold by Videomaster in the UK.

You can find the story of how Karpov came to endorse the Novag Chess Champion Mk I in “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook” by Joseph Sugarman of JS&A (link see Pages 72-74). One can speculate that these sales methods, the court case, and the quest for programs for their chess computers may have produced stresses in the partnership between Auge and Winkler? Some sources suggest that the CompuChess program (and therefore the first Novag program) which is attributed to David B Goodrich & Associates, may have been partly developed by David Levy? With programmers Mark Taylor, Mike Johnson and others it was Levy who went on to produce a number of programs for SciSys. However the box of the Novag Chess Champion Mk II I have proclaims the Mk II program to be the work of Peter Jennings (well known for his Microchess program). Obviously a need was felt at that time to make the program origin crystal clear.


Computer name: Novag Chess Champion Mk 1
Manufacturer: Novag
Dates from: 1978
Dimensions: 21.5 x 11.5 x 5 cm.
Programmer(s): David Levy
Rating: beginners (Elo 985)
Other details: Input of moves via keys
LED display
Computer also accepts illegal moves
Computer often starts thinking very long
when it is actually too late.
Computer even takes long thinking time
when it has only one legal move.

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NOVAG / Videomaster · Chess Champion Mk 1 - SOLD

Der Novag MK-1 wurde 1978 produziert. Noch die Urtümliche Bauweise mit LED Anzeige und positionstatsen. Der MK1 akzeptiert auch falsche Spielzüge, er stammt aus einer Zeit als die ersten Schachcomputer für den Massenmarkt entwickelt wurden. Vergleichbar ist der MK-1 mit BORIS - dem ersten Schachcomputer für den Massenmarkt. Der MK 1 ist getestet und laüft bestens, aufgrund des Alters aber ohne Garantie.


NOVAG - Chess Champion MK 1, some signs of use and age
NOVAG - Chess Champion MK 1, ein paar Gebrauchs und Alterszeichen.

9 volt standart power supply needed (not included) Serial number: 69078

This item has been sold.

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