Dedicated Chess Computers

Eldest: The First Computers (1977-1980)

From Fidelity...
Written by Maurice M Ohayon
First edited | 07/03/2014 | by MMO
Last edited | 08/23/2015 |
Photos: MMO

Reference to cite: From Fidelity, July 2014,


I had a dream... a Dedicated Chess Computer...

The legend wants that Syd Samole, CEO of Fidelity, was inspired by the 3D-Chess board presented in a Startrek episode...

StartrekStartrekStartrek Chess 3D

Anyway, the idea of a Chess Computer was attractive and the public was ready to follow.
Giving back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, Syd Samole can be credited for putting the first chess microcomputer on the market.

Chess Challenger 1 (1977)

Chess Challenger 1
Chess Challenger 1Chess Challenger 1Chess Challenger 1

It was not easy to play with this first model:

- the vertical squares were numbered from 1 to 8;

- the horizontal squares were lettered from A to H.

For example, the white king's pawn was on square 5b; the black king's pawn was on square 5g.

It was needed to enter the NUMBER (the Column) FIRST, AND THEN, to enter the LETTER (the Rank).
This first model was quickly upgraded for a better notation and 3 levels...

How to play... From Fidelity 


Plug in the game and turn on the switch. Four zeros should appear in the display window. Press and release Reset; two red lights should appear momentarily. Set up all the chess pieces according to the rules of chess. You always have the white pieces, and the computer always has the black pieces.

Each square of the chess board is designated by a number and a letter of the alphabet, which must be conveyed to the computer when chess moves are made. The vertical squares (the File) are numbered 1 to 8; the horizontal squares (the Rank) are lettered A to H. Therefore, when the game begins, the white king's pawn, for example, is on square 5b; the black king's pawn is on square 5g.


The windows will always display a number and then a letter. For example, to move the white king's pawn two squares forward, press 5b, and the FROM window will display 5b; then press 5d, and the TO window will dis­play 5d. Then, manually move the white king's pawn from square 5b to 5d. This move is now ready to be stored in the computer's memory. Now, press ENter, which effectively registers the move in the computer. Almost immediately the window will display the com­puter's counter move, which should be FROM 5g TO 5E. Now, manually move the designated black piece in ac­cordance with the computer's instruction.

If you choose not to use the above example as your opening move, press CLear; this erases the FROM 5b TO 5d before it is entered into the computer. You may always erase a move before pressing ENter. You cannot erase a move after pressing ENter.

Whenever you enter a move, the computer will respond with its best counter move. Furthermore, the computer will always make a move according to the rules of chess, and assumes the player will do likewise. If you inadver­tently make an illegal move TO an empty square, the computer will accept your move. It will not, however, al­low you to make an illegal move FROM an empty square. In that instance, four zeros will appear in the windows. As in a normal game of chess, when your pawn reaches the "H" Rank, the computer automatically converts the pawn to a queen.

You, as the player, have the objective to checkmate the computer's king. The computer, however, will be satis­fied with a draw. Additionally, if the computer captures your king, it will continue to play until every piece is re­moved from the board.

NOTE: Turning the game OFF or pressing REset automatically resets the program to the first move, and you will be compelled to start again.


Once you have mastered Chess Challenger, and you are able to win most of the time, you may desire to upgrade your Chess Challenger with a more difficult program.

After June 1, 1977, you may upgrade the pro­gram by shipping your Chess Challenger via insured, postage prepaid mail, with a money order in the sum of $75 made payable to Fidelity Electronics, Ltd., 5245 West Diversey Avenue, Chicago, Illinois  60639

Chess Challenger 3 (1977)

- Chess Challenger 3 - Upgraded Version (1977)
Chess Challenger 3 - Upgraded VersionChess Challenger 3 Upgraded Version (1977)

- Chess Challenger 3 - Regular Version


Chess Challenger 10 - Versions A, B (1978) and C (1979)

Chess Challenger 10 - Version A (1978)
Chess Challenger 10- Version B (1978)Chess Challenger 10 - Version C (1979)

Chess Challenger 7 (1979)

Chess Challenger 7Chess Challenger 7
Chess Challenger 7
(US and French Versions).
The French version was distributed by Rexton.

Chess Challenger Special 10 levels Version C (model UCC10) in Chess Challenger 7 box.
This model was commercialized in Canada.

Chess Challenger Voice (1979)  

Chess Challenger VoiceChess Challenger Voice Advanced
Chess Challenger Voice (1979) and Advanced Chess Challenger Voice

Chess Challenger Sensory 8 (1980)

Chess Sensory 8
Chess Challenger Sensory 8 (1980)  (US and French Versions).
The French version was distributed by Rexton.

Chess Sensory 8

Voice Sensory Chess Challenger (1980)

Decorator (1980)

Grand Master Voice (1980)


The Eldest  Chess  ComputersThe Eldest  Chess  Computers