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712 Ivan II The Conqueror Chess

3.0 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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  • 100 levels of play
  • Play with or without pieces using Ivan's unique LCD
  • Speaks a 500 word "barbarian" vocabulary
  • Teaching mode
  • Sound can be turned on or off
2 new from $186.29 6 collectible from $59.99

Product Description

From the Manufacturer

Ivan the conqueror is Excalibur’s popular chess-playing barbarian. Ivan can use his 500-word vocabulary in commanding tones-or to be your powerful and patient mentor. Are you up to the challenge?

Product Information

Product Dimensions 12.2 x 10 x 1.2 inches
Item Weight 2.5 pounds
Shipping Weight 2.5 pounds
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
ASIN B0042VIHOE
Item model number XC5549BK93ABL
Manufacturer recommended age 9 years and up
Best Sellers Rank #454,232 in Toys & Games (See Top 100 in Toys & Games)
#11,168 in Toys & Games > Games > Board Games
Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Curtis Reed on January 26, 2011
I've owned several of the Excalibur chess sets. The Squire, Saber III, and now the Ivan the Conquerer.

They do not all play identically. The Squire has a VERY slow and limited computer, but it still performs quite well when you increase the difficulty setting a few levels. Saber III was quite good, but the electronics broke down after a couple of years. The Squire, which is now over 5 years old, is still going strong.

Ivan regularly beats me even on its easiest mode! The size of the board is perfect for the kids to be able to play on, and I LOVE the little digital screen that shows you where all the pieces are (excellent in case they get knocked off the board or you get confused about the move it wants to make, which can happen when you are SO SURE you know what it's going to do and are wrong...)

The game talks to the player, saying things like "A warrior would not make a move like that!", or "I will CRUSH you!". If you take a while to move, the board gets impatient and emits a tick-tock sound as if to say "hurry up". When you push the button to move the knights, you hear the clop-clop of hooves, the rooks sound like seige machines being rolled out, and when you move your Queen it has a funny "Aaaaah!" sound like "watch out, here comes the QUEEN yo!" If you try to take back a move, it says accusingly "CHEATER!" then "Taking back black's move" or "Taking back white's move". It's funny and the kids like that.

When you beat it, it concedes defeat by saying something like; "Well, I guess you won that one!" as if it resents being beaten!

I've found that the BEST way to get my kids into the game is for the three of us to play as a team against the computer.
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I'm a 1900-rated player (non-Master) that prefers to play on the tabletop instead of staring at a chessboard on a computer's monitor. This is the third tabletop chess board I've bought. The first, Excalibur Grandmaster, was overall very good (and pretty expensive), and after several years it finally fell apart and was unusable; I may purchase it again in the future. The second lasted only about a month: Seitek Mephisto, very expensive and static shorted it out very quickly. Unfortunately I didn't have the receipt and could not get it replaced. When you hear other reviewers complain about Saitek static on their boards, take it seriously---my $220 board was ruined by...drum roll...me setting down my cell phone on it!

So, for my third board, I wanted something simpler and more durable. And that's exactly what this Grandmaster II is. It's been trouble-free for several years now, and the batteries last a long time (I do not recommend ever plugging in chess sets like these for the reasons mentioned above---poor grounding). The strength of the computer is about 2000 UCSF, which makes a decent opponent for me. It will not be much of a challenge for a Master player, but it will provide a learning experience (or keep them sharp) for all non-Masters.

As will most other programs, you can set up your own openings, take back moves, etc. Like many other relatively weak programs, once the computer determines that its pieces are optimally placed, it will sit back and wait for the human to make a mistake. This includes doing things like moving its king back and forth a couple times during the middlegame, something a human would not(or should not)do.
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I am not visually or auditorially impaired, but I, like the reviewer with the visually impaired son, have a hard time the tiny display and the ambiguously shaped pieces on the display. I also have a hard time hearing the move commands since B,C,D,E and G all sound exactly alike. It would be like playing blindfold chess against someone who cannot speak clearly where they have moved. If you're playing in the regular modes where you can take back moves, it's fine, but if you want to play rated games, it's very frustrating. Also, if you play rated games with the sound off - the sounds are too loud and very annoying ones at that - you have to stare at the tiny display and not the board. If you don't stare at the screeen, you miss when the machine has moved and you've lost valuable time. Also, after you've discovered the machine's moved, when you push the repeat button, the display moves quickly across the screen and never stops for you to see.
This game is rated at an impressive 2000 elo, but its flaws render it fairly unusable for being rated. For just playing on the different levels, it's fun.
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I have two other Excalibur sets and they are fine. Bought this for a neighborhood urchin, and neither of us can read the screen.The symbols are minute to say the least, so forget playing the computer without a magnifier.
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It is a great chess board but the build quality isn't there. On the 1st day, the top board surface area wasn't glued properly so it creates bubble in the middle and the chess pieces do not stay plan at certain points. I expected a decent/better quality when paying over $30 for this product.
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