Chess computers...Does anyone use them anymore?


You know, the kind with the electronic board and "real" pieces.

Which ones do you like and why?

I've heard of novag, saitek, and excaliber.

I was wondering because awhile back I went to my first unrated tournament and when I sat at the board it was like "Whoa this looks really different than looking at a computer screen."



When I play 1 H-KO on internet I use a wood chessboard (under this time it is difficult, but not with an dgt board I suppose).


I personally love it, it brings the power of the computer to the physical board in front of you.

I built my own electronic USB interface chessboard, you can go cheap or you can spend a little extra (my most expensive board was still < $100). Just check out my blog on or

The board interfaces with Fritz, Playchess, FICS, Chessmaster, etc. Basically if it works with a usb keyboard it works with my board.



Though it may be beoming anachronistic, I feel that most of my important chess willl happen otb.

That's why I've made it a habit of using a real board and pieces when I face off against my JadeII and palm handhelds. Unlike my pc software, they muster reasonably passable weak moves. Their errors are more human-seeming. Some horizon-effect with the Jade--saving dead lost endgames that I couldn't v. a human, but it's still a good opponent for me as I score <50%.

Not least, I have a lot of decent sets I like to use, and enjoying them makes me happy. Blitz is a hassle going from board to device all the time, though, and a handicap to my concentration. Need one of those robot jobs for that.


I use one of these for all my live chess games.


@ travis, do you still have all your fingers? Very cool video but that chess computer may be above my price rangeMoney mouth


I have an excalibur - rating is reported @1700 - I don't use it too much anymore.  I have an 8 yr old granddaughter who I am trying to teach the ins and outs (more like ups and downs :) Her school is organizing a chess team next school year so I may end up giving it to her.  It's helped me some - so who knows.


I found my excalibur computer (1750) to lack any positional or strategic understanding and could only win when i made a tactical mistake


Ok, here's that blog post on building a chess board that interfaces with Fritz or any high end chess engine for < $10. 


Nice board fragilio! I kinda want a stand alone unit that I can keep in desk drawer at work or maybe play at the kitchen table with morning coffee.

I have noticed that it seems only the higher priced ones give you an option to play as black. Anyone know for sure?


Ahh I see, sorry I have no experience with those. All I know is what I've read on the reviews sites. 


@goldendog, Yeah I think I'll try your trick before I go out and drop some bones ;)


yes in answer to a question does anyone use chess computeres , yes i still do and will always chess is fun online but for life chess competitions and learning you need 3-d boards , and with a lot of the chess computers these days you can replay a life game you7 have on them putting in your opponents moves yourself and then analizeing the posisition i know softwar on pcs does this but its not the same as looking yourself on a real board the 2 games can be so differrent people who play online a lot of time actualy struggle more on a real board its so different , id always suggest people dont loose the learning on realboards and pieces , currently using the obsidiaan myself and the original saitek academy to teach my nephew 


How do you like the obsidian ? Is it easier on lower strength settings or still pretty strong? What about playing with the black pieces, do you have to turn the board around or just put them on the number 1 and 2 ranks and follow the LCD display?


Hey guys, it's early, but I've started working on using a modified version of my sish board along with a Raspberry Pi ($35, embedded ARM computer) and stockfish to create a portable, small, and very powerful combination chessboard and computer.

More info here:



Hey bronco so far i havenyt found a way to actually use black without phsically turning the board round and just going off the led lights rather than lcd screen i will be looking ininfo book as my other and older ones have the option to set wwhite up from top black from bottom but id rather just turn board anyway and keep the notations right way round for ease of use , i havnt tryed the lower levels yet im straight onto the tornament levels for a better game , my nephew plays the easy to begginer levels and enjoys it a lot 


yes its there in the settings not very easy to find but with obsidian you can play white from top 


Thanks for the info ian77efc Smile


I have a Fidelity Designer 1500 that is fun to play against, but isn't strong at all. It can't beat you. I bought it new in maybe 1987 or 88 maybe? Good old Radio Shack back in the day.......


radio shak my god what a great shop they were , had one in liverpool sold b radios aswell was always in there 

love the look of novag 2 robot am hoping they make it able to interfae with online sites so we ould all use with a2robot using it to put opponents mvoes in have email novag they havnt answered whih my bet is they steal my idea and make it happen lol