We have covered many chess computers in the past, but we think this might just be the smallest. Enter the PIC Blitz: A tiny low-cost low-power computer that can play lightning chess.
It’s based on a PIC16F628A microcontroller, which only has 3.5kbytes of flash and a mere 224 bytes of RAM. For comparison, Boris (one of the first consumer chess computers), utilized an 8-bit microprocessor with 2.5 kbytes of ROM and 256 bytes of RAM.
PIC Blitz has a full fledged chess library: it knows all the moves, all the basic openings and even changes its evaluation function weights as the game progresses to keep the game interesting. The creator [Mark Owen] quips about some of the additional techniques he utilized to make up for the limited processing power; including “pondering time”, a difficult and slow user interface, and of course, a barely-comprehensible LCD.
If you’re interested he has released the files under Creative Commons, and has a link to the PCB layout on the project page – we won’t link it directly though, since it goes straight to a download.
8 thoughts on “Tiny Chess Playing Computer”
Sounds much like the chess program I used to have on my KIM-1 in 1977
An awesome job! And while we’re talking about implementations of chess with limited resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1K_ZX_Chess
I had that! The only chess program I’ve ever played that I could beat. It sure made dumb moves in the idiot mode.
Don’t forget Atari’s Video Chess from 1979: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Chess
AI and a fully graphical chessboard in 128 bytes of RAM (but 4k of ROM).
Cool! I’ll show this to the “Lumpit” next time I see him.
Reblogged this on Perfectly Opaque.
Impressive. I often use this same chip and it is a challenge to get anything close to this done.
Wait a minute! Do you mean that a computer that could kick my ass at chess only needed 2.5KB of ROM and 256B of RAM?! Was I really that bad? :-)
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