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The first great microcomputer chess dynasty began at the 1978 West Coast Computer Faire, where this chess game developed by a husband-and-wife team (on a footnote platform, the Z80-based Wavemate Jupiter III) took first prize. Interest in their product prompted them to distribute photocopies of its source code for other Z80-derived home computers; the March 1980 issue of Recreational Computing converted it to work on 8080-based computers. Then the magnetic media situation stabilized industry-wide, and the program began being available for purchase by people who didn't intend on typing it in.

The game itself can be played as a list of piece movements to board locations or, more human-friendily, as a graphical representation of a game board with pieces on it. The artificial intelligence can easily be overcome by chess masters, but is sufficient to stump amateur players as often as not.

This first installment of the Sargon series was available for the early champions of the microcomputer scene, the Apple II and the TRS-80, but by the time other machines began reaching people's homes, updated versions (Sargon II and III) had superseded this version, which was also sold for other kit machines, including the NASCOM (published by Bits & PCs in 1981), the Exidy Sorcerer, and the Sharp MZ 80K.


Sargon Apple II Board view
Sargon Apple II Inputting moves
Sargon Apple II Game options
Sargon Apple II Game in progress

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Related Web Sites

  • SARGON source code (The SARGON source code was published in book form by the Hayden Book Company, and this was later put up on the web. This is an archived version of this site.)
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