Mephisto Roma

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Roma 68020 [1]

Mephisto Roma,
a set of dedicated chess computer modules by Hegener & Glaser released in 1987 for their Mephisto module systems, like its predecessor Mephisto Dallas as 68000 and 68020 versions @ 12 and 14 MHz with 16 and 64 KiB of RAM respectively. Thus, the program was the further development of Richard Lang's Mephisto series, winning the third consecutive title at the WMCCC 1987 in Rome (Roma in Italian), again the site eponym of the computer modules. The Manufacturers Championship was a duel between Hegener & Glaser and Newcrest Technology, where three Mephisto Roma on 68020 @ 25 or 28 MHz [2] outclassed three CXG Sphinx with a Intelligent Software program by David Levy and Mark Taylor, running on a 68020 as well, with a stunning 9:0 result - while the games were more closely than the results suggested [3]. The cheaper Roma II 68000 module was released two years later.


Kaare Danielsen praised Lang's programs in general in his ICCA Journal report of the Rome WMCCC, where Psion, still Lang's development base for his Mephisto programs, also won the Software group [4]:

Clearly, Richard Lang has produced the strongest microcomputer program in the world. It searches 4-5 plies brute force plus up to 6-7 plies selective search. The program contains a lot of chess knowledge, which is used both in the tree and to create piece-value-tables. The chess knowledge was obtained from chess masters, who analyzed games played by the program. The program has an asymmetric evaluation function, which emphasis safety (has rules like 'do not start a wild attack, but worry a lot if the opponent does so'). The program searches about 4000 nodes per second on a 28 MHz 68020, but this includes a thorough analysis at every node, including a swap-off evaluation (static analysis of captures instead of a capture search). 


Monsieur Plastique recalled the original Mephisto Dallas to Roma evolution was considered to be an extremely small one [5]. Improvements of middlegame and endgame and Blitzchess mentioned in the introduction of the Roma manual [6] look like a plain translation from the German Dallas manual [7].

UCI Engine

Courtesy of Ed Schröder and Richard Lang, Mephisto Roma is available as emulated UCI engine [8] [9].

See also


Forum Posts

External Links


  1. Roma 68020 modules and manual from Mephisto | Photo collection by Chewbanta
  2. Mephisto Turniermaschine Roma 68020 25Mhz | (German)
  3. Kaare Danielsen (1987). The 7th World Microcomputer Chess Championship, Rome, Italy, September 14-20, 1987. ICCA Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3
  4. Kaare Danielsen (1987). The 7th World Microcomputer Chess Championship, Rome, Italy, September 14-20, 1987. ICCA Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3
  5. Re. Roma 32 32 Bit vs Dallas 32 Bit by Monsieur Plastique, Hiarcs Forum, August 31, 2015
  6. Mephisto Roma 68000, Roma 68020 - User's Manual. pdf hosted by Alain Zanchetta
  7. Mephisto Dallas - Bedienungsanleitung. (German) pdf hosted by Alain Zanchetta
  8. Back to the 80's with UCI by Ed Schröder
  9. Back to the 80's by Ed Schröder, Hiarcs Forum, December 13, 2007

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