Play Chess Like Harry Potter

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you might remember that one of the movies showed an Isle of Lewis chess set whose pieces moved in response to a player’s voice commands. This feat has been oft replicated by hackers and [amoyag00] has a version that brings together a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Android, and the Stockfish chess engine in case you want to play by yourself. You can see a video of the game, below.

Interestingly, the system uses Marlin — the 3D printing software — to handle motion using the Arduino. We suppose moving chess pieces over a path isn’t much different than moving a print head. It is certainly a novel use of GCode.

There are a lot of pieces integrated to make this work. There is a Bluetooth connection between the Android and Pi. We saw code in Java, Python, C++, at least. We were sad to read that the team that built it can’t modify it anymore as it was a school project and the parts have been recycled for a new class of students. On the other hand, maybe someone else will make a copy and extend it further.

We are always surprised we haven’t seen more Harry Potter paraphernalia. There was the magic wand at this year’s Superconference. We also liked the Mad Eye Moody. There have been others, of course, but not as many as you’d think given the franchise’s popularity.

10 thoughts on “Play Chess Like Harry Potter

    1. well we cam see extra spaces on the broad on both sides, we can assume those out for “killed” pieces. the question becomes does it remove the taken piece first or after the winning piece moves on to the space? logic would say before but that would lose the flare of the moment even if it would be a whole lot easier.

  1. This is awesome! At first I wondered why they had the pieces move along the borders of the squares instead of the centers, and then the knights were moved and I realized that it was actually a very clever way of dealing with moving past pieces without knocking them over. Very nice!

    1. Don’t know how the makers of this project handled it… but personally I’d just have the captured pieces move off the board and then move the new piece into its place…

      Though for Checkmate, I’d at least look into the possibility of having the magnet flip and then approach the mated king… see if I could knock it over… it’s a significant increase in complexity for something that only happens once a game, but you can’t use it for every capture because then the pieces would litter the board, and interfere with each other…

  2. The chess pieces are superfluous. The white king and queen around each other squares can the right side which is supposed to be the king side bishop and Knight or also on each other squares. If you can’t set up the eight pieces of the back rank, and get four of them wrong, you’re not playing chess.

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