Tasc B. V. was a Dutch company based in Rotterdam that specialized in the development of electronic chess board and chess related products. They produced a small range of computer chess systems and SmartBoards that could be connected to a Personal Computer in order play chess software from a PC onto an auto sensory chessboard which they named Smartboard.
They also produced the chess R30 module and the more expensive and much rarer R40 module. Both were dedicated chess computer modules that were connected to the auto sensory SmartBoard chessboards instead of using a PC, making this a powerful independent and completely dedicated chess computer game playing system. This system was considered state-of-the-art by chess players in the early 90’s and still is today one of the nicest chess computer systems ever made.
The first product developed by TASC B.V. that could be considered a dedicated chess computer was “The Final Chess Card” which came out in 1989 for the Commodore 64/128 computers and for the PC. The PC version was installed into the internal ISA slot of your PC, whereas the Commodore version slid into the external cartridge slot of a Commodore 64/128. The card’s built in 5 MHz chess program would play independent of the CPU power of your PC or Commodore.
Several additional internal and external Chess Cards were later sold for the PC 16 Bit processors running at 14 MHz, 15 MHz and 16 MHz as well as internal Chess Cards with 32 Bit processors running at 30 MHz and 32 MHz called ChessMachine. These were internal cards that also used an ISA slot of a PC. External cards running at 15 and 16 MHz were also sold by TASC B.V. . These were connected via a serial cable to your PC. An external 16 MHz Commodore Amiga card was also developed and sold.
It was in fact one of these “ChessMachine” cards that ended Richard Lang’s and Mephisto’s long reign as World Microcomputer Champion in the 1991 Tournament in Vancouver. The winning chess program was written by Ed Schroder and named “Gideon”. His “Gideon” program beat a field that was predominately made up of PC chess programs in order to become World Champion.
The chess programs sold for the ChessMachine cards were various progressively improved versions of Ed Schroeder’s “Gideon” chess programs and also Johann de Koning’s King programs. The versions King 2.2 and King 2.54 were also used for the R30 and R40 chess modules.
Johann de Koning of course later became extremely successful worldwide with his Chessmaster series of chess software, while Ed Schroeder enjoyed world fame and success with his “Rebell” PC chess software.