Playing on the Automated Chessboard - SquareOff
If you haven't seen the SquareOff chessboard before, you need to. Right now. Go learn about it here on their INDIEGOGO page. It's an automated chessboard that moves the opponent pieces for you.
When I first heard about the idea I was skeptical. I mean, I run a NON-physical chess company where I can play chess any time, anywhere on my phone! And I have a physical chessboard set up in my living room to play when I want. So why would I want this one?
That said, when two smart entrepreneurs travel half way around the world and want to meet you, you take the meeting of course! But I wasn't sure how I would feel.
Before we played on the board, we spent almost an hour eating falafel bowls and talking about their journey. It's very inspiring and I encourage you to read more about their story.
Anyway, as the saying goes (which, is a weird saying....) the proof is in the pudding. So we broke out the board!
When I first saw it I was a little discouraged. It's not regulation size, and that is a bummer for a classical OTB player like me. I love my 3.75" king! However, it wasn't TOO small. They launched the app and I made my move and...
Suddenly the pieces started moving on their own. And I was transported to another world! It was suuuuper weird. I did NOT expect to enjoy it so much. But I did! There was something so cool about the merger of playing the digital AI, but having it be moved automatically. It's hard to describe. And trust me, I was skeptical. But it was... just some kind of magical experience! SOOO FUN!
I lost the game after being squeezed out on the queenside. But it didn't matter. I had sat and played chess more thoughtfully than I have in a long time playing on my iPhone. It was a wonderful blend of the old and the new.
Afterward we discussed possible ways we could work together - letting you play your Chess.com games on a real board, etc. I think it would be amazing. And I'm hopeful they will work out a few of the kinks in the prototype and launch a fully-sized board for traditionalists like me.
I'm for anything that makes chess more fun, and this certainly did! And much more than I expected.
Good luck guys - I'm rooting for you!
(Again, if you want to learn more, check out their INDIEGOGO page.)