Should you buy a MonRoi electronic scorekeeper?
As many of you know, the MonRoi is a stand-alone device that is approved by the USCF to keep score electronically instead of a paper score sheet. The company that sells it is based in Montreal, Canada and MonRoi is French for “my King.” I use mine regularly when I play in tournaments and the good outweighs the bad (for me). I often get asked about the MonRoi from other players who are intrigued by it, so I’ve listed – from my perspective – the positives and negatives.
TIME SAVER: As with many, my study time is limited, but with the MonRoi I can simply put the SD card into my desktop and open up the game in Fritz (or any chess program that accepts .pgn) without having to input each move. The whole game appears instantly and I can go straight to analysis. This is a HUGE plus and the most important benefit in my view.
ACCURATE GAMES: No more messy or illegible score sheets. There’s nothing worse than wanting to analyze a game where you’re real curious about certain positions, only to find you messed up the notation.
GREAT TEACHING TOOL: If you’re teaching a particular topic, say an opening or endgame theme, you can pull up the game right on the device without dealing with a written score sheet.
LARGE MEMORY: One SD card holds literally thousands of games, probably a lifetime’s worth for the typical club player.
PRICE TAG: At a whopping $359 (at the time of this writing), the cost is prohibitive for many and is not commensurate with the features of the device (see below). Honestly, shame on MonRoi for such an excessive price tag. I mean jeez – you can get a high quality tablet computer for that price (or less). The issue is that the free market is not at work here and there’s no competition. As I write this, the MonRoi is the only score keeping device approved by the USCF.
FEATURES LACKING: As I stated above, the price tag does not jibe with what the device offers. Since it’s meant primarily for scorekeeping, the features are - understandably - very simple. The graphics are not sharp and there’s no chess engine (presumably to prevent cheating or altering the device which stays locked in game mode until a result is entered). If there were an engine on it and other features, then the price would perhaps be justified, but in my view this should cost about $80.
Bottom line: Factoring in the large price point, a purchase is only worth it if study time is tight and you plan on getting some serious mileage out of the device.