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Saitek Logo [1]

Saitek (from 1979 until 1987 SciSys-W Ltd., Scientific Systems),
a designer and manufacturer of consumer electronics and dedicated chess computers founded in 1979 by Eric Winkler, and located in Hong Kong, one of two special administrative regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China and at that time (until 1997) under British administration.

Novag / SciSys

As partner of Peter Auge and his Hong Kong based company Novag, Winkler was already involved in designing and manufacturing dedicated chess computers since 1978, which became also SciSys' primary business after the Novag / SciSys split in 1979, when SciSys' first manufactured dedicated unit was the Chess Champion Super System III [2] , with a 6502 CPU and a program developed by Mike Johnson and David Levy, and marketed by Novag but also as ChessMaster by SciSys.

Philidor Software

The early SciSys chess computers had programs developed by Levy's and O’Connell's company Philidor Software. Programmers were Mike Johnson, David Broughton and Mark Taylor, while David Levy, also mentioned as Author or Programmer, provided computer chess expertise in search heuristics and the opening book [3] .


After the initial success of the Chess Champion Mark V in 1981, also with a Philidor Software program by David Broughton and Mark Taylor, the relationship of SciSys with Levy and O’Connell with their new company Intelligent Software was loosened, and SciSys started to cooperate with Julio Kaplan. From 1981 until 1990 Kaplan's company Heuristic Software provided most programs for SciSys and Saitek [4] , starting with SciSys Sensor Chess [5]. Other programmers under contract were Kaare Danielsen, and in the 90s Dan and Kathe Spracklen, Johan de Koning and Frans Morsch.

From 1983 SciSys also cooperated with Garry Kasparov, and Kasparov became additional brand name of SciSys, and since 1987 Saitek chess computers [6].

Fall of Computer Chess Era

In 1994 Saitek acquired Hegener & Glaser for about 7 million DM [7] and continued their Mephisto trademark [8] . In 2007 Saitek's Branded Products division was acquired at a price of 30 million Dollar by Mad Catz [9], while Winkler continued with his own company, electronics manufacturer Ryder Industries Ltd., Hong Kong [10], no longer in the chess computers business [11].


Professional programmers associated with SciSys and Saitek computers:

Author List of computers [12]
Craig Barnes Barnes, Craig
David Broughton Broughton, David
Kaare Danielsen Danielsen, Kaare
Mike Johnson Johnson, Mike
Julio Kaplan Kaplan, Julio
Johan de Koning De Koning, Johan
Frans Morsch Morsch, Frans
Dan Spracklen Spracklen, Dan & Kathe
Kathe Spracklen Spracklen, Dan & Kathe
Mark Taylor Taylor, Mark

Selected Computers

Philidor Software

Heuristic Software

Kaare Danielsen

Frans Morsch

Saitek Misc

Forum Posts

External Links


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