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Peter W. Auge,
a German toy manufacturer, distributor and entrepreneur. As founder of Novag Industries Ltd., Peter Auge was manufacturer of dedicated chess computers from 1978 until 2009 when Novag was sold to Solar Wide Industrial Ltd., which continued manufacturing Novag chess computers [1].
Peter Auge [2]

Photos

FriedelAuge1986.JPG
Frederic Friedel and Peter Auge at Nuremberg International Toy Fair, 1986 [3]

Sugar Pellet Toys

The Auge family were toy makers from Nuremburg, Germany. Peter Auge emigrated and set up a toy distribution business in Montreal, Canada, and eventually drawn to Hong Kong, which developed as the international toy manufacturing center after World War II, to conduct his toy business in 1964. Auge implemented his "hot idea" to market plastic toy tools filled with sugar pellets [4]. Auge started a factory and within three months he employed 500 girls doing nothing but filling these plastic toys with sugar pellets [5], and Auge shipped 55 million pieces to the US [6] .

Chess Computers

Whether his company was already called Novag is a bit unclear, an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel mentions, that similar to Sidney Samole's Fidelity Electronics, which evolved from manufacturing hearing-aid and other high-tech, bio-medical products to chess computers [7] [8], Auge's firm converted from plastic toy business to computer chess manufacturing [9] . However in late 1977 or early 1978, after first dedicated computers appeared in the United States, Peter Auge, an ample chess fan, became interested in the idea of developing his own chess computer, and collaborated with the Swiss technologist Eric Winkler, who had done electronics research for a trading company in Hong Kong, to realize the idea, and to set up Novag Industries Ltd.

Chess Champion MK I

The story about the origins of Novag's first chess computer, the Chess Champion MK I released in September 1978, is quite venturesome. The software was an exact copy of the ROM of the 1977 Data Cash Systems Inc. CompuChess program, which was developed by David B. Goodrich & Associates [10] , while other sources claim David Levy was involved in the development [11] [12] . While Winkler was responsible for hardware, it was Auge who was "responsible" for the software [13] .

Kittinger

After Eric Winkler left Novag for SciSys in 1979, Peter Auge continued with Novag and soon started the long term collaboration with David Kittinger [14], consolidating Novag's image with models like the Savant, Robot Adversary and most notably the Super Constellation. Peter Auge's conservative marketing with the focus on human entertainment rather than challenging other programs [15] was with hindsight quite successful, since Novag survived most of his competitors with apparently stronger programs.

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References

  1. ^ novag.com
  2. ^ Interview with Peter Auge (pdf), Erwerbsquelle: 10-1985, Zeitschrift Schachcomputer (Herausgeber Florian Piel) hosted by Hein Veldhuis (German)
  3. ^ László Lindner, A SZÁMÍTÓGÉPES SAKK KÉPEKBEN című melléklete - The pictures of the Beginning of Chess Computers
  4. ^ Dental caries from Wikipedia
  5. ^ Employment in Hong Kong from Wikipedia
  6. ^ 100,000 Chess Computers a year Peter Auge says his HK product can only be beaten by masters and grand masters, The Bulletin, May 1986, pdf hosted by Chess Computer UK
  7. ^ The Editor (2000). SIDNEY SAMOLE (1935-2000). ICGA Journal Vol. 23, No. 4 - December 2000
  8. ^ Lev Alburt and Al Lawrence (2000). "How About a Nice Game of Chess?" - Any Time. Sidney Samole (1935-2000). Chess Café, October 17, 2000, pdf
  9. ^ Schachcomputer: Markt und Müll, Der Spiegel 49/1979, December 03, 1979, (German) pdf
  10. ^ CompuChess from Schachcomputer.info - Wiki
  11. ^ Scisys and Novag : The Early Years from Chess Computer UK by Mike Watters
  12. ^ Chess Champion Mk 1 by Tom Luif
  13. ^ Scisys and Novag : The Early Years from Chess Computer UK by Mike Watters
  14. ^ David Kittinger - Interview by Bryan Whitby
  15. ^ Interview with Peter Auge (pdf), Erwerbsquelle: 10-1985, Zeitschrift Schachcomputer (Herausgeber Florian Piel) hosted by Hein Veldhuis (German)

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