Model: Tasc R30
Manufacturer: Tasc
Year: 1993
ELO rating: 2274
Levels of play: many (read details)
Type: Auto-sensory (with piece recognition)
Opening book: 55,000 moves
Processor: ARM 2 RISC (32 bit, 30 MHz)

This is possibly the best chess computer ever made. By Tasc B.V.
Postbus 55178 - 3008 ED Rotherdam - The Netherlands
Unfortunately it is no longer being produced because the company went out of business after problems with a dispute regarding the patent on the piece recognition system. It was the strongest chess computer one could buy (ELO ) until it was challenged by the Resurrection module in 2004. There was also another version called R40 which had only a few units produced.
The chess program is the famous "The King" and it runs on a 32 bit ARM 2 RISC processor at 30MHz. It could also be connected to a computer via a serial port (RS-232).


The computer unit has what probably is the largest LCD display you can find on a dedicated chess computer and it display a great deal of information including: clocks (digital or analog), graphic board(diagram window), list of moves and status of analysis.
It can use hash tables, selective search and brute force models. You can even turn off the LEDs on the board, change the side of the clock (white = left, white = right), turn the speaker off or set the sound level to soft, select how the pieces will show up on the list of moves (characters or letters). The auto takeback features makes it very easy to take back moves all the way to the start of a game. Also, you can set it so that when you place all the pieces in their starting position you will start a new game.


The manual has this information on the system:
As with many wooden auto-sensory boards, the moves are indicated on the board by LEDs. Unlike most boards, the Tasc Smartboard has not 64 but 81 LEDs. Here's how a d2-d4 move shows up:


Tasc menu tree:

Main menu options are:
- play
- game
- settings
- system
- board
- special

Here's the complete set of options. Some also take parameters that can be set, such as number of  minutes per game, ply, etc.

play--------mode-----player - player
          |          player - computer
          |          computer - player
          |          computer - computer
          |          analysis
          |-level----10 sec/move
          |          40/2:00 moves/hrs
          |          5 min/game
          |          5 ply
          |          3 mate
          |          infinite
          |          manual

game--------list game
            new game

          |                strong
          |                moderate
          |                novice
          |                solid
          |                normal
          |                active
          |                offensive
          |                on
          |                off
          |                brute force

          |                soft
          |                off
          |                yes
          |-white clock----left
          |                right
          |                characters
          |                abbreviated

board-------lock board-----no
          |                yes
          |-disable leds---no
          |                yes
          |-auto takeback--enabled
          |                disabled
          |-change move----enabled
          |                disabled
          `-auto new game--enabled

special-----system info
            demo play
            clear ram

System info brings this information on the screen:
version V0.31 (3-May-1993)
512K program RAM, 128K permanent RAM
256K system ROM
processor speed 30MHz
version 2.20 (23-Apr-93)
program by Johan de Koning

Piece recognition
Each piece has electronic components inside of them to uniquely identify the type (king, bishop, pawn) and the color (black or white). They look like regular pieces. You don't have to press the pieces on the square or even to lift them up as you move them. When you first turn the computer on it will check to make sure that you have the right pieces on the right squares. Any missing pieces or pieces out of place will cause the LEDs on that square to keep flashing up until you correct the problem.

Here's little video showing how the piece recognition system works. I select the "position" option  in the menu to setup the initial position of the pieces in the board. You can see how the graphic display shows the complete board and as I move pieces around it automatically updates the display.

Run time: 1min 12sec
Version 1 - high quality mpeg format (23Mb)
Version 2 - WindowsMedia format (11Mb)

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