Monday, May 29, 2017

Cheaper And Better DGT alternatives

Chess is boring when it comes to attracting the general public interest. That is why even though live viewership is depressingly low (5-15 viewers per session) for a typical live local DGT broadcast game, it is still  attractive to organisers to be able to project the on going games on screens. It's a novelty and attracts attention even from non chess playing public. Perhaps that's the reason we see a boom in live DGT broadcast in and around Malaysia.

A live DGT tournament certainly adds some "prestige" to a tournament. At the very least it let's non chess enthusiast think "Oh so this is how a REAL chess tournament looks like" :)

I know I blogged about this before but for some reason cannot find that post. So for posterity sake I am blogging this again.

DGT chess boards are too expensive for the average chess player and we only see it in "special" tournaments where the organisers are willing to pay for live broadcast from services such as AI Chess and Kedai Catur.

This technology is not new. Programmers have already written visual recognition software like this one by Vietnamese Vinh Le over 7 years ago :

Unfortunately, the programmer lost her source code to a hard disk crash :(

Fortunately today there is an app that use similiar ideas and even implemented it in some strong tournament. It's also called Chess Vision.

I like technology like Chess Vision where simple gadgets such as a phone and a phone holder is enough to record and broadcast any game of chess. It's cheap and makes it easy for just anybody to record live chess games.

So the only issue might be the phone holder. Is it intrusive to the players?

Personally I think it's ok.

The other issue might be FIDE laws prohibiting mobile phones in the playing area. But used as a recording device, I am sure this special case can be an exception.

Chess Vision offers their app as subscription service for USD 4.99 per month for one device. Relatively cheap compared to purchasing standard DGT chess boards or rental of it's service.

The other issue left is how accurate is the game recording. If it's anything like DGT, we have a winner here :)

Hoping to see something like 5-10 chess boards being broadcasted easily from events such as the Malaysian Open, Penang Open, Johor Open etc.

P/S: the coding is nothing special and if Chess Vision subscription app (USD 4.99) is too expensive, some other programmer can easily write similiar chess board recognition software.

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