Category Archives: chess computers

Novag Chess Computers and Xboard

This script is designed to act as a pseudo engine in Xboard, so that you can play against a Novag chess computer with a serial interface using the Xboard interface. Prerequisites are Python3 and the PySerial library. Since this is written in Python, theoretically, it should work under Windows, but that hasn’t been tested. In Windows the built in support for Novag computers in Arena is recommended, and the UCI engines created by Alain Zanchetta:

Super VIPRS232/TTL1200 or 9600
Super Forte CRS2321200 or 9600
Super Expert CRS2321200 or 9600
Super NovaRS232/TTL9600
Diablo 68000RS2321200 or 9600
Scorpio 68000RS2321200 or 9600
Diamond IIRS2329600
Sapphire IIRS2329600
Star DiamondRS23257600
Star SapphireRS23257600
Novag chess computers with serial communication capabilities

For those computers which are marked as ‘RS232/TTL’, you will need a suitable hardware adapter to connect to a PC serial port. You can buy one from or build one yourself following instructions from This script was developed on a PC running Linux (Ubuntu 20.04 as it happens), and has been tested with a Novag Sapphire, Diamond II, Star Diamond, Super Nova, and Citrine (fixed in 1.5). It has also been tested with an emulated Super Expert C running on MAME (

Different generations of machines have variations between the ‘dialect’ of Novag protocol they speak, some of those variations have been incorporated in to the script, but no doubt there are still bugs and variations to be found. Any bug reports, improvements or feedback, please send to user kalatov at