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Constellation (Nickname Connie),
a dedicated chess computer with a 8-bit 6502 CPU and 16 KB ROM and 2 KB RAM, manufactured and market in 1983 by Novag, running a program developed by primary author David Kittinger, supported by chess master Scott McDonald. It was the forerunner of the mighty Super Constellation, and participated along with its big brother at the WMCCC 1983 in Budapest.
Constellation [1]

Description

given by David Kittinger and Scott McDonald in Computer Chess Digest Annual 1984 [2] :
The Novag Constellation programs represent a significant evolutionary step in the development of microcomputer chess programs. The program represents the first commercial implementation of the attack map / offset map move generating strategy proposed by former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik and subsequently refined by myself for faster move generation as pieces come off the board.

A second departure from other commercial programs has been the simplification of the evaluation function as applied to the end nodes of the tree search. The programs instead rely heavily on specific chess knowledge which is concentrated into a special preprocessor which interfaces to the tree search primarily through the scores associated with specific ply-one moves. This idea of a ply-one move preprocessor was originally implemented in the program Tech by James Gillogly in the late 1960's. Although Tech only achieved a high 1400 rating running on a large computer, the strategy has certain appeal. First, chess tree searching has become very efficient, and second, the interaction problems associated with putting ever increasing amounts of chess knowledge in the tree become formidable. It has become apparent to that this rather simple approach might contain the structure of a master level microcomputer program.

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References

  1. ^ Novag Constellation by Tom Luif
  2. ^ David Kittinger and Scott McDonald (1984). Report from the U.S. Open. Computer Chess Digest Annual 1984 pp. 15-33

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