GoChess brings online opponents' moves to a robotic chessboard
Whether you've just started playing chess or are a seasoned pro, it can be difficult finding people of your skill level to play against. GoChess allows you to do so online, via an actual physical chessboard with robotically moving pieces.
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, GoChess is made by electronic gaming company Particula. The firm previously brought us the GoCube, which is a high-tech take on the Rubik's Cube.
GoChess looks just like any other chess set when at rest, although it's connected to an accompanying app via Bluetooth, plus under its translucent surface are a bunch of tiny wheeled robots.
These bots move the magnetic pieces back and forth across the board, in response to real-time moves made by remotely located opponents on online chess platforms such as Lichness or Chess.com.
Those opponents can play via their computer keyboard and an onscreen chessboard – they don't need to also be utilizing a GoChess board. GoChess users moves their pieces by hand, although they can additionally get the board to do so for them via voice commands. When the pieces are moved by hand, the magnet in each piece is detected by sensors in the board, allowing the system to know which piece was moved to which square.
Along with facing off against other human players, users can also play an online AI at up to 32 different levels of difficulty. Regardless of who or what the opponent is, users may opt for coaching via color-coded LEDs beneath each square. These will light up to suggest possible, good and worst next moves.
Utilizing the app when playing solo, it's additionally possible to select skill-building chess puzzles to solve, or to watch the moves of famous historical chess matches. The app additionally keeps track of users' games, tracks their progress, and suggests ways in which they could improve.
For playing chess on the go, the sensor- and LED-equipped surface of the board can be removed and used by itself, minus the robots. In fact, buyers on a budget can just purchase that setup on its own – it's called GoChess Lite. And of course, the board can be used as a regular ol' chessboard, with two players manually moving their pieces face-to-face.
Kickstarter pledges for the full system start at US$259, with the Lite coming in at $219 – the planned retail prices are $379 and $319, respectively. Assuming everything works out, boards should ship to backers next May. You can see the board in action, in the video below.