Download Microchess (Apple II)

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Microchess

Apple II - 1978

Alt name Chess
Year 1978
Platform Apple II
Released in United States
Genre Simulation, Strategy
Theme Board / Party Game, Chess, Turn-based
Developer Micro-Ware
Perspectives Top-Down, Fixed / Flip-screen
5 / 5 - 3 votes

Description of Microchess Apple II

1978, the year Microchess was released on Apple II. Made and self published by Micro-Ware, this strategy and simulation game is available for free on this page.

Captures and Snapshots

Screenshots from MobyGames.com

Comments and reviews

BenRedic 2017-03-28 1 point

MicroChess was the first commercially successful chess game for home computers. The first version was for the KIM-1, with zero graphical capabilities, and it played like a horses ass. But it was chess on a home computer, which was a big deal in 1975.

It was later improved and ported to a number of computers like TRS-80, Commodore PET, Sol 20, and Apple II. These versions included a graphical board on the screen and shows the moves on the side of the screen, making it a fully functional computer chess game. The game was also the brain behind a couple of dedicated chess computers, like Commodore Chessmate and Novag Chess Champion MK II.

Version 2.0 has 8 difficulty levels, although I am having a hard time telling those apart except for the amount of time they spend calculating. Even on level 8 this program is easily beaten by any experienced player.

Most of the basics of chess is covered here. It has a simple opening book and understands castling, pawn promotion and en passant. Draws by repetition or 50 moves are not covered, though. It also has one small quirk, which stems from the KIM-1 days. To conserve memory (the KIM-1 only had 1kB RAM) MicroChess does not store the board squares with the pieces; Instead it stores the pieces, and which squares they are on. This allows the program to store a complete position using only 32 variables instead of 64. The problem comes with pawn promotions: If you already have a queen on the board, you may not promote to a second queen. You need to promote to a piece that has been captured and is currently off the board. This is somewhat akin to if you play with a physical board and a pieceset without spare queens.

Sample game:

[White "Microchess 2.0 Apple II IQ8"]
[Black "BenRedic"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nc6 4.O-O a6 5.Ba4 Bg4 6.Nc3 {Blunders the bishop on a4} b5 7.Bb3 c4 8.Bxc4 bxc4 9.Qe2 Ne5 10.h3 Bh5 11.g4 {Allows me to sacrifice a knight for the g and h pawns.} Nxg4 12.hxg4 Bxg4 {The white castle has crumbled. Now it is open season on the white king.} 13.a3 e5 14.Ra2 Qf6 15.Kg2 Bh5 16.Nd5 Qg6+ 17.Kh2 Rc8 18.Rg1 Qe6 19.Rg3 Nh6 20.Nb6 Rc6 21.Qe3 Ng4+ {Forks the king and queen. White must give up his rook for this knight.} 22.Rxg4 Qxg4 23.Ng5 Be7 24.Nh3 O-O 25.Nd5 Bh4 26.Nb4 Rcc8 27.Nxa6 f5 28.exf5 Rxf5 29.c3 Rf3 {All the pieces are now swarming in on the cornered king.} 30.Qxf3 Qxf3 31.a4 Bxf2 32.Nxf2 Qxf2+ 33.Kh3 Bf3 34.a5 Qg2+ 35.Kh4 Qg4# 0-1

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