Acorn User

Colossus Chess 4

Author: Ashley North
Publisher: CDS
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in Acorn User #059

Challenging Chess

Martin Bryant, author of the White Knight Mk II, has another success on his hands with Colossus Chess 4.

This review is based on the Master version, which is 64K of code, and has some very useful enhancements over the BBC B program. The game produces a detailed 3D image of the board and pieces (occupying two thirds of the screen) though a 2D representation (which is what you get on the BBC B) may be chosen.

Colossus Chess 4 has an understanding of all the rules of chess and the Master version has an openings 'book' of 3000 positions, and thinks ahead while awaiting your move, which again speeds things up. You can turn off both of these facilities, making the game easier by reducing the computer's thinking time. All moves are stored in the computer's memory and you can step backwards and forwards. If you make a mistake you can step back through your moves and try a different line of attack - very useful for the beginner. All legal moves for any piece on the board can be displayed.

The most useful facility, however, is the saving and loading of data files. This allows you to save games and continue them from the saved position as well as viewing the 35 games and ten problems supplied. These games were played between micro, mini, mainframe and human opponents.

The well-produced and informative booklet gives results from games against 21 programs running on various micros. Only six programs avoided a whitewash and none had better than 25 per cent success. I can recommend Colossus Chess 4 to anyone looking for a chess program that play an excellent game at all levels. As a bonus, the extra facilities for the B+ and Master make this a great package.

Ashley North

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