Internet Chess On A Real Chessboard

The Internet teaches us that we can accept stand-ins for the real world. We have an avatar that looks like us. We have virtual mailboxes to read messages out of make-believe envelopes. If you want to play chess, you can play with anyone in the world, but on a virtual board. Or, you can use [karayaman’s] software to play virtual games on real boards.

The Python program uses a webcam. You point it at an empty board and calibrate. After that, the program will track your moves on the real board in the online world. You can see a video of a test game below.

As you might imagine, the program uses OpenCV. If you have ever wanted to learn OpenCV, this is a nice practical use that is reasonably manageable. You do need a clear view of the chessboard, preferably from above. We wondered how hard it would be to offer a mode that would let you shoot a mirror suspended above the board.

Even if you don’t want to program, there’s something very reassuring about being able to study your position on a real board without having to manually synchronize the board.

If you’d rather build some hardware, try this chessboard. Or ditch the Internet and build a robot.

5 thoughts on “Internet Chess On A Real Chessboard

  1. Thanks for posting, used to play lot but, moved into an odd physics experiment I really f..king must do as no one seems to have noticed a weird anomaly, messy with rather high currents anyway I digress…

    Saw this about 18 months back added onto Kickstarter due to be funded July 16, 2021 I guess covid-19 slowed it down
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wondersubstance/phantom-the-most-advanced-chess-board-in-the-world

    I read reports it was a scam but, should be doable in the obvious x-y type thin plotter mechanism underneath though I’d think linear motor array more elegant. The first video I saw highly massaged as if scam but, who knows…

    Anyone know more, since designers might have built few prototypes since 18 months ?

  2. Don’t know what it is but this appeals to me somewhat, even though I got bored of chess long long ago now..

    Probably just because I never could get on with top down computerised chessboards though – something about it not being a real 3d object (or looking enough like one – as some chess programs did) meant I couldn’t just ‘see’ the chess, felt like I had to really work to figure out the board state…

    Never bothered me much what the 3d pieces looked like, as long as they were clear enough – I could use the Lego castle chess set with all its mini’s for instance and it didn’t really bother me, a little but not enough to really matter, but top down really throws me out, even though in theory it should be no different, perhaps even better as the pieces are clear as can be…

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