USCF Chess

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [Mattel Electronics #3412]

Release Nov 23, 1982 (#41)

Trademark used under license from U.S. Chess Federation

AKA: Chess

Heuristics programming: Teletape, Inc

User interface programming: Russ Ludwick

Graphics: Dave James, Peggi Decarli

Package Illustration: Jerrol Richardson

Instructions Posted Here


Here's a stimulating new way to play the ultimate game of strategy whether you're a novice, intermediate, or master.

With nine levels of difficulty, you always challenge the computer at your level. Then, move up to a new, more exciting game level as you improve. And, just as in official competition, you are required to make your moves within a timed interval that you select.

If you're a Spassky or Fisher fan, you can manually position pieces to recreate some of their more classic ploys in international competition.

Playing Intellivision Chess is the perfect way to improve your game. Go a few rounds with the computer. When you're ready, challenge your toughest competitor to an Intellivision Chess match.

  • 9 skill level challenges
  • One or two player game
  • Timed intervals


A good Chess program was beyond the capabilities of the both the Intellivision hardware and the Intellivision programmers, but Marketing felt that it was a must-have title to establish the Intellivision as more than a toy.

Money was authorized to produce the Chess cartridges with 2K of RAM on board to bolster the insufficient 147 available bytes in the Master Component. No other Mattel Intellivision cartridge was released with onboard RAM.

The gameplay programming was farmed out to Teletape, Inc., a company with experience in Artificial Intelligence. In-house, Russ Ludwick programmed the on-screen display and user interface.

Although on the schedule from early on, the technical difficulties (including a record 19 weeks of testing and debugging) held up release of the cartridge until 1983. When finally released, it did receive the good reviews Marketing was looking for.

The program code was recycled in the Triple Challenge cartridge released by INTV Corporation.

FUN FACT: Russ tested the program by playing countless games against the cartridge at all levels. He found that when playing at the highest levels, the cartridge was good, but slow. He got in the habit of making a move, then going home and letting the Intellivision think about a response overnight. Because of this, three features were added: (1) the normal Intellivision time-out feature was disabled, (2) a feature letting you switch to an easier level in the middle of a move was added, and (3) a warning that moves at higher levels could take hours -- or days --was put into the instruction book.