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i am interested in buying a chess computer, but one that will improve my game aswell, i play at around 1400, i like the look of the Novag Star Sapphire, can any one help. thanks nutmustard2000
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you'll spend less money
I wouldn't buy a machine when for half the money I can buy software that not only plays a stronger game, but that has many other features as well. Think about Fritz or Chessmaster instead.
IMHO, chess computers like Novag are relics of the age when most people did not have decent computers.
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Review your needs
As wulebgr said, the best option is a PC and chess software. Even a PII machine and free chess engine like crafty is better than most of the chess-only machines. Better machine and newest commercial programs will make it a lot easier when evaluating multiple games.
After getting a PC and chess program, you can add another optional means as needed. My second choice was Palm and Pocket Chess Deluxe program. It worked quite well. The only problem was my butterfingers. I dropped them so often, and I broke two of them already.
I checked out some chess machines at Radioshack, and it would be cool to have one as a toy, but not to improve my skill on chess.
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There is a middleground...
...if you're willing to spend. For my part I prefer moving actual pieces than staring at the screen, and I think I play better as well. I was therefore blown away when I came across the DGT Electronic Chessboard ( www.dgt.nl/eboard.htm ). It's a wooden board with built-in sensors that you can connect to your computer via serial cable or USB. Through this connection you can play directly against opponents at ICC, for example, or run through a master game while simultaneously hooked up to an analysis engine. I'd like to be able to justify the purchase, but the cheapest I found it was in the vicinity of $400.