Chess Computers, Electronic Chess

July 15, 2007

Citrine and Grandmaster Slug-Out

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:57 am

Excalibur and Novag have two great high end desktop chess computers with strong engines and loads of functionality. Who wins?

The answer only partially depends on a number of preferences - with everything taken into account the conclusion is clear and consensual. As for individual preferences, if you prefer a wood cabinet it’s Novag’s Citrine, if you need strength of rating you’ll also be looking for the Citrine. If you value size of playing surface you’ll prefer Excalibur’s Grandmaster and if you prefer touranment size pieces then it’s also the Grandmaster.

If these preferences are minor and you want the best product for the price tag, that’s where we see some clarity, the Grandmaster is a better product and a better buy. When Novag brought out a fully wooden cabinet with wooden pieces and stuck a high price tag on their Citrine (50% more than the Excalibur Grandmaster), why did they then go cheap with the materials and piece quality? The weightless pieces would retail as part of an economy chess set, and the cabinet quality has a cheap feel about it that is dissapointing to many buyers. It’s also to small in overall size. In contrast the Excalibur Grandmaster is a good size, full size pieces and unashamably synthetic (OK…. plastic). The pieces are not just full tournament sized - they are triple weighted and just feel great compared to the cheap Citrine pieces that could almost blow over. The Citrine is a product that could be used as a chess computer, or by pulling out the male connectors be used as a board and pieces with another human. A good idea that is achieved in part, but the set becomes a cheap ordinairy set in this guise. The price tag demands a product that is both enjoyable as a computer and enjoyable, even prestigous as a normal set and pieces. The Excalibur makes no apology for being plastic but excels in the quality feel of the set. We expect our electronic oponent to be a little synthetic is make-up and so easily overcome the material used, after which the machine is a pleasure to use.

The winner is the Excalibur Grandmaster.
Buy the Excalibur Grandmaster chess computer
Buy the Novag Citrine chess computer

1 Comment »

  1. I recently (January 2008) bought a Grandmaster and am vey pleased with it. In the shop it looked a little utilitarian however I opted for it instead of the stronger Citrine partly on price but mainly because it best replicates the sets used in club matches and week-end tournaments. Judging from your description of the ‘feel’ of the Citrine’s pieces I feel happy with my choice. Stronger players than me (I’m ca 1400) will need to take into account the greater strength of the Citrine when making their choice.

    Comment by Jim Barnett — February 5, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

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