An area of chess computer history which has received little attention on the internet so far is that of Patent applications.

This webpage is the beginnings of a section intended to cover the subject. I shall include as many patents as I can. Those relating to chess computers which reached the market. Some interesting projects which did not make the market. Some of the inventions pre-1977 which may have influenced the early chess computers.

Since The Turk amazed and fooled people back in the 1770s many inventors have attempted to produce an effective chess playing machine. Various mechanical and electrical contraptions, often highly ingenious, were produced. However not one of them was a practical playing partner for chess players. Only when the computer chip arrived two centuries later was the problem satisfactorily solved.

So what patent documents are out there?

Below, are the patents which I have come across so far, that relate to chess computers actually produced. See also the “Other Patents” page where other types of patent will find a home for the time being. In assembling this Patents section I hope not only to have added a topic of interest to the website, but also an acknowledgement of some of the many inventors and entrepreneurs who have contributed to our enjoyment of chess computers.

Click on the drawings to see the pdf file of the full Patent documents.


The Turk 2 80 x 80

Patents of Chess Computers (released for sale to the public)


Fidelity Chess Challenger 1 2 80 x 80 neg

Fidelity Chess Challenger

Patent Application filed 26th August 1977
Inventor : Ron Nelson
for Fidelity Electronics Ltd.


Fidelity CC1  1  20 x 20
Fidelity Chess Challenger Board 1 30 x 30

Fidelity Chess Challenger
Board Design

Patent Application filed 26th August 1977
Inventor : Stanley Bialek
for Fidelity Electronics Ltd.



Applied Concepts Boris

Patent Application filed 2nd March 1978
Inventors: Rod Barclay, John A. Cunningham, Alan B. Mead, Joseph T. Spaits
for Applied Concepts, Inc.


Applied Concepts Boris neg


SciSys LCD Chessboard 1 25 x 25 neg

SciSys Super System III LCD Chessboard

Patent Application filed 25th June 1979
Inventors: Hak Kan Yuk and Eric Ernest Winkler for SciSys-W Ltd.


Chess Champion Super System III  13 20x20


Applied Concepts Auto Response Board

Patent Application filed 20th May 1980
Inventor : Dale E Folwell


ARB  2  20 x 20
Applied Concepts Auto Response Board Neg


Novag Robot Adversary 2 50 x 50 neg

o see full Patent Application documents
UK patent - click blueprint above
US patent - click blueprint below


Novag Robot Adversary

Patent Application filed 5th January 1982
Inventors: Mark Knighton, David Kittinger, Richard Hollander, Anson Sims, Ashley Howden and Lawrence Temple Jones
for California R & D Center.

Novag Robot Adversary 7 50 x 50
Novag Robot Adversary 4 neg


Milton Bradley Grandmaster
Board Design

Patent Application filed 1st February 1982
Inventors: Jeffrey M Chambers and Joseph Kata
for Milton Bradley International Inc..


MB Phantom  3  15 x 15
Milton Bradley Robot  1  20 x 20


Mephisto Modular/Exclusive/Munchen Board

Patent Application filed 2nd February 1983
Inventors: Gunther Schwab, Kurt Schubel and Reinhard Strecker
for Hegener + Glaser GmbH

Mephisto III-S Glasgow + Exclusive S 6
Mephisto Modular Board 2 80 x 80 neg


Mephisto Mobil Board 2 80 x 80 neg

Mephisto Mobil Board

Patent Application filed 5th January 1984
Inventor: Gunther Schwab
for Hegener + Glaser GmbH


Mephisto Mobil Board 2


Mephisto Bavaria Genius 68030 London  9  20 x 20
Mephisto Piece Recognition Bavaria Board 2 neg

Mephisto (Piece Recognition) Bavaria Board

Patent Applications filed 23rd April 1988 and 1st March 1992
Inventors: Hubert Bauer, H-P Blomeyer, Rainer Kuhn and Reinhard Mehlo
for Hegener + Glaser GmbH

Mephisto Piece Recognition 3 neg


Saitek Blitz Board 2 neg

Saitek Blitz Board

Patent Application filed 30th January 1989
Inventor : Eric Winkler
for Saitek Limited

Saitek Blitz



Patent Application filed 1990
Inventors: Kenzaburo Suzuki, Ritsu Watanabe

for Gakken Co Limited


Gakken  1 15 x 15
Gakken neg


DGT Piece Recognition Board neg

DGT Piece Recognition Board

Patent Application filed 30th June 1999
Inventor : Bernard Bulsink
for DGT Projects B.V.



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