Chess is not all about how well Rybka or other UCI engine is doing (and eg. on what computer cluster). A lot of Chess is going out to the chess clubs, tournaments, known players and sitting down and playing. Rybka is described by its author as an "analysis" engine. But as there is more to playing chess than just analysis, we should be talking about more electronics--because right now--where I play/would play chess--all there is there--is not a lot of people who have even heard of Rybka!--just a lot of people with their vinyl tournament boards and old single-weighted plastic chess pieces playing chess.
For people who are not just into watching computers slug it out, I think there should be more to chess electronics than just a 3000+ analysis engines that run on polycore desktop computers!
Recommendation for further computer electronics:
- Wireless (WiFi/bluetooth) Chess Computerboard (PLEASE DO NOT SAY "DGT-DGT-DGT!" YET. ). This Chess computerboard should have a full "netbook"-like computer in it (CPU, RAM, small SSD). The computerboard would not have a monitor (with the exception of perhaps monochrome lcd display - unless they made a significantly higher priced model ). Its options would be set via communication with another wireless computer with a software program designed for the computerboard. This computerboard would be able to download and play with eg. any of the "Arena-style" UCI engines and books. The games should be saved in pgn database, reviewable, and subject to recorded both human and computer "postmortem" analysis (variations: add, delete, promote, etc.).
- Wireless (WiFi/bluetooth) Chessclock. This would be helpful for recording movetimes in the computerboard and other wireless computers.
PS. Note netbooks are going for < $500 now! (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+Mini+Netbook+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Atom%26%23153%3B+Processor+/+10.1%22+Display+/+1GB+Memory+/+250GB+Hard+Drive+-+Sonoma+Red/9739467.p?skuId=9739467&Ref=15&ky=2epB5AndthlmiUw1vLfmh815tO6hlXNfj&cmp=RMX&loc=96&id=1218165050179)
> Nobody in their right mind will spend the money to develop this product. It is a guaranteed money loser.
Thanks for your humble opinion.
Everyone would like to have one though right?!!
> Nobody in their right mind will spend the money to develop this product. It is a guaranteed money loser.
But before there were gpu's people were still shelling out money for custom pc to play whatever the top UCI engine was for their computer analysis! Am I right?
Custom hardware is expensive. Custom software is expensive. This would be both.
Much better off cost wise going with wireless board (DGT - DGT - DGT as you say..) and one of those cheap laptops you reference. Converging them will only give you a worse interface and 10X the price.
> Exactly (except I would expect it to be 100X the price).
Well......this (http://www.chessbaron.biz/chess-CMD2004.htm) isn't THAT far off--& it's <$200! Mostly it should have wireless communication. They should see what they could do to bring its specs upto the modern handheld PC though--including GAMES (eg. in pgn databases) storage--not just a single game's MOVES storage.
But the squares should be BIG enough that you could take it to play people who normally play on the "tournament sized" (usually vinyl) boards (yet portable - folding computerboard? SIZE & portability is more important than a little seem through the middle of the board right?!! ) (I personally think 1+3/16" or 1+7/32" squares would be fine/better than the "full" tournament size squares of 1+1/4").
Whatever......yet the fact remains......tournament-level players need more electronics--for example, 1" squares will never do for tournament-level/serious players! Chess computers right now are just made with only casual/home users in mind!! 
Chess Computerboard manufacturers NEED to:
1. make Larger quality looking boards with quality looking & autosense 2x/3x Weighted pieces (with a little bit of concern for portability - eg. to tournaments, clubs, etc.). (for tournament/serious players).
2. reliably Store 1000s of games in pgn databases. (probably wireless comm or SSD (solid-state drive) cards, etc.).
3. be able to Move/Copy the pgn databases to other computers (eg. desktop pc computer). (again wireless comm or SSD cards).
I WOULD like to see them be able to use whatever UCI engine* with whatever Book, etc. in the #future# though!
* Of course along with ELO limiting as is implemented in the Pocket Chess software!
This is a 30 year old design with all obsolete parts that is still being sold.
Q: What does this tell you?
A: It tells you that they still haven't sold out the initial production run, i.e. someone lost a lot of money on it...
> The 16K strong program with a 8 MHz system clock speed
> This is a 30 year old design with all obsolete parts that is still being sold.
Hey--I was already doing the specifications were out-of-date/obselete--you can take that point as yours! You were arguing for cost management!. I was helping you to "achieve" that by only making a few modifications to some EXISTING technology (ie. = lower cost). (technology--which you seem to have been unaware of). (Are you changing your point? )
> Q: What does this tell you?
> A: It tells you that they still haven't sold out the initial production run, i.e. someone lost a lot of money on it...
Somebody must have made some money on them at some point in time--there is more than one company (Fidelity, Saitek, Novag, Mephisto, etc.) that has been producing model after model of these for years--however--note--my point is that they have never made one for anything other than home/casual user/chessplayer!!! (Although the ELOs can approach senior master!) They are all made with like 1" squares. Tournament boards are 1+1/4" squares. By the math (8x8 board) that is an extra 2 inches ( = extra 2 squares in either direction - vs. 1" squares) from how they have been making these chess computer boards (CCBs). Tournament-sized boards is what people want to play with who go to the clubs and tournaments! The CCB producers need to make the pieces bigger and they need to make the pieces weighted.
Furthermore, "back in the day" the CCBs elo's were too low for the human masters of the time period and computers were not around--let alone UCI engines for Arena on the internet!--and certainly I had never heard of pgn chess databases!--probably because they did not EXIST!! The idea for the technology is not wrong because it did not sell back then!! The masters and senior masters did not even use computers until the 1990s and were not "computer savvy"--AS IS UNHEARD OF AND PROBABLY IMPOSSIBLE TODAY! Today--the software that runs on handhelds are probably capable of beating the top human GMs!* And if the CCB would store sets of games would be nice to just resuming your last game! We have chess databases now! Do not forget where we are in technological progress! Games can be saved on boards and transferred to pc for first rate analysis.
* Hiarcs 13.1 scored 2938 in human tournament. http://www.hiarcs.com/Games/Mercosur2009/mercosur09.htm
Furthermore, the link I made was per a desirable look & feel of the electronic chessboard, however NEW CCBs are still being made today--marketed toward the home/casual/kid users--not serious/tournament players--as I am suggesting we should try to make a pressure for!! It is not MY fault that this is not being done! I am saying that something should be done about it so that serious/tournament players can have quality electronics.
Another thing: you wanted to attack the Cost of production--I gave you an example of something I could deal with were it to meet the three specifications I listed--and I left the rest of developing "a modular solution which minimizes the investment in custom hardware and software"--to the Future! My EXAMPLE was in favor of look & feel for something that is still being made brand-new!--CCBs. It is closer to what I ultimately want than just DGT (which requires an accompanying computer). It just needs to be modernized a little bit--mostly for tournament look & feel and storing games which can be put to the computer. So, I gave it a way to be done cost-effectively and you attack that!? How about trying to help me out here?!! I am trying to help chess!
Wouldn't you like it if the CCB manufacturers would make something the (modern) tournament players could use in a practical way?! It should be considered at least as essential as which UCI engine over 3000 elo you have.
* Look nice, high quality
* Run off both wall plugin and batteries
* Have usb support, both to use as an external board, and for usb sticks to save games.
* Be relatively light, relatively portable (storage for pieces), relatively durable.
* UCI engine support.
* Opening book support.
* A decent screen with a decent user interface with which to manipulate the various functions
It should not:
* Cost a fortune (difficult but not impossible)
* Be too large (difficult for sure)
* Run out of batteries quickly when not plugged in (some time will have to be spent on how this is done)
* Lose game data as a result of the batteries running out
Some exotic ideas:
* Allow password protection so that game data can be copied but not erased, so that in a tournament setting players could use usb sticks and not erase the game information which may be later inputted into a tournament computer for coverage purposes.
* Some way to move the pieces by itself. Ok, This is exotic for sure. It _would_ make the product stand out on its own though in a big way. I was thinking perhaps that the pieces/board could have very low friction, as they do anyways on high-end professional wood sets. Small electromagnets underneath the board surface could be turned off and on to push/pull small magnets inside the pieces to move a piece forward. A captured piece could be moved all the way off the board to a plain area. Of course this idea has many flaws, but finding something that would make the product turn heads is absolutely something you should look for. It may be your only hope to make the product economically viable.
With the ideas and design first, you can then investigate the logistics. The R&D time you are spending is probably fun for you and not to be factored into the cost.
Now for my critique :
Shoulds = agreed, except:
> * Run off both wall plugin and batteries
Running off the wall plugin is right, but the "battery" should be rechargable & like those found in laptops.
> * Be relatively light, relatively portable (storage for pieces), relatively durable.
No! You are doing the casual/home/kid user again! I wanted to talk about serious/tournament players here!! The pieces based off 3.75"-4" King (4.4" King = XX-large) sets are preferable to tournament (& speed) players. And the material should be double (2x), 2.5x, or triple (3x) weighted*. Durable = yes. Plastic pieces should be "standard" to wood. It is mostly masters and "home users" that seek "the" wood.
* In customer reviews on autosensory boards I see there can be a problem with the reed sensor reading the chip in the pieces--perhaps the squares should be triple reed switched and the pieces triple chipped--in addition to just the pieces being triple weighted!
Should nots = agreed, except:
> * Be too large (difficult for sure)
I know tournament and serious club players will not even consider playing you if you do not have a tournament (1+1/4" squares) board--it is too much of a problem for short time controls! I think we could get to make it though with square sizes of (Note 1+1/4" = 1+4/16", 1+8/32"): 1+7/32", 1+3/16". But, because this is such a bulky 8x8 board, perhaps there should be model to fold in the middle or an inconspicuous cover for it.
> * Lose game data as a result of the batteries running out
note: A SolidStateDrive (SSD) card drive should take care of this.
As for the exotic ideas:
For in the tournament setting, I suppose the board could have some "tournament mode" whereby when you "takeback" a move it only shows you what the moves were so you could write them down--while the position remained on the board for the computer's refereeing--so you could keep your moves for your scoresheet--or even so players could leave to do this at the end of the game--having an "undo" for typos and whatever. (Note the board might still need to do position setup for certification--in case of "glitches" you could power it down and up and enter the position and clock information.). Then hand in a paper scoresheet. Or this should be done wirelessly in the future.
The Phantom (aka "Mirage"?) chess computer does this and it is exotic and it has very little to do with tournament/serious play, but I would love it if it could be used with tournament board and 3x weighted pieces--especially in conjunction with a limited ELO UCI engine & book if it were cheap enough!!! These are called "Robotic" Chess Computers!
Of couse, for tournament/serious players (people who might play SPEEDy Chess): the squares are too small and the pieces are too small & light. And if you were not in only your own company, the noise of it is absurd & mechanical!! I think the designers/developers would have to figure out how to do this without using moving parts or something.
I had the volume off at first, and was surprised to see how 'ghostly' the pieces moved. Then surprised again how the captured piece suddenly goes off on its own. Absolutely hilarious.
I was shocked by the noise it made when turning the volume back on. What the heck is that? It sounds like somebody skateboarding on pavement. Surely this design could be improved? My idea was to use a surface of magnets instead of just one that needs mechanics to move. That way the magnets could be turned on and off in a gradient to move the pieces along. It's hard to believe that this would take more power than the mechanical version, but perhaps it does. Wouldn't make a sound this way though!
> Custom hardware is expensive. Custom software is expensive. This would be both.
Yes, but that is what would make it such a good product. All the other half-products would not get even half the sales! (From the developer's side at least. Your solution is for the consumer's side, while I am trying to get something going on the developer's side--which has been slacking since the late 1980s & early 1990s!!)
DGT is OVER-RATED!!! DGT is only a big deal because they have ZERO Competitors!!
In the 'DeLuxe' version you could use a high-power laser pointer, so that you could also use it to blast your opponents pieces from the board, while he is not looking.
Photo can be found here at the following link.
Okay, for me the following
most represents what I think I am looking for--and visually it is EXACT!!! I will make explicit the product features (cut & pasted to here):
The Grandmaster is the Cadillac of the Excalibur chess computers
The Grandmaster has Auto-sensory which automatically detects your move
Full size board with tournament size pieces
For head-to-head action in two-player mode
Endorsed by the U.S. Chess Federation and designed and developed with the cooperation of world chess champion Anatoly Karpov
It goes on further in the Product Description:
Worlds first auto sensory board with actual vinyl surface used in tournament play
This is the most PERFECT board on the market (that I know of so far) for what I SEEK. The only things I can think of that I need are:
- wireless communication with other wireless computers and wireless clocks.
- on-board SSD (Solid State Drive) slot for Solid State Drive Cards (SSD cards) for massive database & game storage.
The only things I can think of that I want, rather than the truly exotic (eg. magnetized board for self-moving pieces, or voice-activated piece-moving robotic arm, etc. ) are:
- Stronger CPU, More RAM.
- UCI engine support.
- Arena book support.
I would like to bring another product to your attention however that I think would make some good quality sales over time!:
That is a neato lookin' product! I might even get it as-is. But if it could work directly or remotely (wirelessly) with a full handheld pc (with graphical monitor, 1GHz cpu, Gigs of RAM, Flashdrive, etc.) with eg. Pocket Fritz or something--instead of that clunker chess-only handheld they have there, I think that would be something really amazing!! It would be a board to go with the (Pocket/handheld) software instead of software to go with the (tournament) board--for chess!
> Novag Citrine autosensory chess computer into a new housing together with a tablet pc that enables me to play against all the UCI engines via Arena.
That is for sure an excellent piece of engineering! For my consumer-taste, I know the Citrine is popular and "top-of-the-line" with being "autosensory", but I consider it to be out-of-date and I consider autosensory to be an necessity for chess equipment among tournament/serious players--so I am at least a little "so what" until they bring the rest of it up-to-date!
I own the Collector's Series for DGT which I had custom weighted, and I would love to by something like that--but maybe when they make Autosensory boards that Autosave games!!!
Oh well-- how much do you want for it?!!
You know if this just had a cushioned bottom and backpack straps, you could transport it/have it be mobile by wearing it as a backpack!! That would be much more of a practical board to take out to a chessclub or chess tournament or chess master! I suppose it would look more odd, but for a practical serious player, it would be a real plus to carrying it with your hands. You might want to carry the pieces and a mobile device with your hands for example--and not make multiple trips you your car etc. (Of course a transport cover for it would also be nice.)
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