Best Chessmen Ever

DGT Classic Chessmen

DGT Classic chessmen reviewed. A nice simple replica of 1972 Jaques of London WC Reykjavik design. A classic of note in our modern digital times.

Unweighted, 3.75 inch king, ebonized, compatible with all DGT electronic chessboards. Similar feel to DGT sheesham Timeless pieces at a notch (11 €) higher price.


Picochess on DGT 3000

The newest addition to the DGT chess clock lineup makes the old DGT XL it replaces look, well, ... old. Wider display, more characters available for our chessbots and there's that US tourney mode with USCF approved time controls. It's a cool clock.

The web user interface running on the iPad (or any other locally connected machine) is quite intriguing. It runs in any standard browser like Safari, Firefox or Chrome. It shows the opening tree, connects to a remote database of games for reference and can show engine evaluation. But for now, there is no way to play the game via UI. When this is enabled in the future, you will be able to simply give the URL of your machine to a friend and play a remote game on your DGT board, Picochess keeping score and storing PGNs. Skyping each other on top of that for a fine quiet evening match is a nice option ...

Of course I am quite aware that DGT boards already come with software enabling remote play on ICS and other chess servers. But it never works, really.
I believe here's a chance for DGT to develop a new platform for remotely connecting chess players. I believe they would be served well by a small investment into programming resources for this (OpenSource) project. (Sadly, I am no programmer, can only do ideas, design and testing.)
Imagine this scenario:

  1. You give the URL of your machine to a friendly chess coach, he observes you playing a game against the machine from their comfy home using their Chrome browser. Coach comments on the game via chat or Skype. The point is: a.) You are playing against a known trusted person, not "Kacpar0v_1991" or some other 11-year old with an engine in Brazil. b.) Remote player only needs a browser and URL address of your machine. No logins to monthly-fee servers. No usernames. No ads.
  2. You turn off the engine, play a remote game against the intrigued friend. You are using the DGT board, they are using a mouse and the Picochess web user interface from their home. It's fun, convenient and instructional. Picochess is keeping score and recording PGNs.
  3. Next day friend gets a Picochess machine themselves, they have a coach too, you know. (Bingo!, there goes another DGT board sale!)
  4. Your chessbot connects to their chessbot via a simple IP exchange, now you can play a remote game with pieces on both ends. Picochess keeping score and PGN's, of course.
  5. Next day the coach gives their URL to another coach. And a friend. A friendly GM. A twitter follower. A chess club member. There's another Bingo! there. And maybe another.
  6. Next year there are online tournaments, Picochess bots connecting players, keeping score, analyzing, verifying identities, checking for cheating, running automated tournaments.

It could go viral. Bingo, bingo, bingo!


P. S. Please excuse my excited naiveté.

BCE Natural on Revelation II

A customer was inquiring about our natural chessmen on Revelation II chessbot and I realized we have no photos of this particular combo. So I took out my iPhone and snapped a few shots with our Stage 1 Eastern Natural DGT enabled chessmen on the mighty Rev in the afternoon sun.
The set was custom felted orange, I love it how the color feebly shines through at the edges ...

I believe this looks like a perfect mach.

I rest my case.


DGT 3000 Setup Test

We test them so you don't have to.

A very fine update to the old XL. Bigger display, more info, same basic design.


Unboxing DGT 3000

New off the shelf, it's not even listed on the official DGT homepage yet. A replacement upgrade of the old 2003 DGT XL, it was about time. Same design, but nicer color, better LCD screen with more info available. This one can display hours *and* seconds at the same time. Compatible with DGT electronic boards and yes, with latest Picochess 0.28 too.


Testing Picochess 0.28

It’s a big rewrite.

Here is a video of our 5-year old playing against the simple POS chess engine (, ELO 500) using Pichochess on Mac Pro and Phoenix Systems Revelation II chessbot board.
Note the extremely robust interface and http broadcasting of the game, analyzed in browser running Stockfish. (Yes, the engine runs in the browser.) The game PGN is automatically emailed upon completion or downloaded via browser. Additional moves can be entered via web interface for analysis. A database of games will be added.

Picochess now runs any UCI chess engine on Raspberry Pi, Odroid, Mac OS X, Windoze, you name it.

We believe this is best chess teaching tool ever. Imagine a remote tutor monitoring a game between two kids (or kid vs. engine) via web interface & Skype.


PicoChess 0.18 for Raspberry Pi

I updated macines today to the latest version of PicoChess with the awesome Stockfish DD engine.

Here’s the image file for Raspberry Pi:

PicoChess-018-Raspberry.img.gz - (2.75 GB download)

Unzip file and flash your 8 GB SD card as per instructions on the web. Plug the card into your Pi, connect DGT board & clock and off you go.

The beast is stronger than ever. It’s redefining awesomeness under the hoods everywhere.

I changed the autostart method on boot, the engine now runs in userspace (no longer as root). If you connect a keyboard and a mouse, you’ll find Scid installed also. If you happen to have a Novag Citrine, I believe I installed drivers for that too. (But the Citrine will only work with Scid or ChessDB.) Or was that on the Odroid? Can’t remember ... Simply press control-C to exit Picochess and type


at the prompt to enter the desktop. To restart Pico reboot the machine or run

stockfish dgt /dev/ttyUSB0

in a terminal.

If you attach an USB dongle, you can talk to the machine via wifi. You will need to edit a config file first:

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Enter your wifi credentials here. You will want to connect someday via sftp and download your played games stored in the game.pgn file in the home folder. (Someday. At the moment the file stays at zero bytes.)

The previous version (0.17) in action:

0.18 image files for Rikomagic MK802 II and Odroid-XU coming up next. Maybe a binary for the mac. Stay tuned.


P.S. To flash your 8 GB SD card:

On windows, suggest 7zip to unpack the file and Win32 Imager to overwrite.

On a mac, use RPi Card Builder.

Linux users will know how to help themselves. They are tough little suckers.

DGT Revelation II Test

The mother of all chessbots. Top notch. Powerful. Mighty high ELO.

Plays like a charm. Serial number is 010006, first five were test units. This is the first production machine and first one sold worldwide.

It boots like a serious machine. No instant turn-on.

A look at the book rack. Nice boobs ... Books!


DGT Revelation II Unboxed

This is the DGT Revelation II Phoenix Chess Systems chessbot. It's not even released yet.
Just received the package from a cousin in the DGT warehouse, testing the first production unit from the first production run, serial number 010006 (first five were testing units).
The pieces are of course our own DGT enabled BCE pieces, serial number S1EDGT0028.

The machine supports Rybka, HIARCS, Shredder and some other engines. Should be tough.

First impressions: Hefty but nice. Turns on.
Stay tuned.


Running PicoChess

PicoChess 0.17 running on Raspberry PI, DGT USB chessboard & Best Chessmen Ever S1EBDGT0028 pieces.

I gotta figure out how to get the electronics inside the XL clock. Heat is an issue. Maybe try with Rikomagic 802 II instead, it’s smaller.


Dubrovnik DGT Red

Here’s a chess set with a story.
Last December a nice lady from UK wanted to surprise her husband for Christmas. The hubby is a chess nut. She figured a handcrafted top end chess set from Slovenia will do the job. So she ordered a Dubrovnik from the GNovak workshop. You know, the one our BCE’s are made at.

But there’s a waiting list, they said. Delivery in January at best. Christmas? Yea, right, ...

So she begged. Unable to handle the situation, the workshop pointed her at me. Try that guy, they said. We just made a very nice one in custom dark red for that guy. Go and ask. It’s not like he needs it.

So she went and she asked. Made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So I sold her that set, shipped it to London on 24th and I hear the hubby is happy.

The workshop promised I’ll have a replacement in early January. Yea, right,...

Got it in March.

But this one is special. This one I ordered custom rigged. See the video.

One of a kind.


P. S. Anybody asking for this one will be paying through the nose. You have been warned.

Chess Clocks Setup Tests

Setting a modern chess clock is not trivial. Some solve the problem better than the others. Here’s an overview of ten popular examples.


Simple, from another era.

Chronos FX:

This is what you want from a day to day clock. Rugged, easy to reset, fat display. This brand is best on the market.

ZmartFun Chess Clock:

A plastic substitute with bright LED display that fades out in sunlight. An indoor clock only.
Update (feb 2013):
The model shown was discontinued on the day of shooting this video.


Tournament standard. Not much use for anything else.

Chronos Digital Game Clock:

Everything but the kitchen sink. Badass clock.

Garde Digital Electronic:

New with a touch of old. Elegant.

Chronos GX:

FX’s younger sibling. Two pane display, nobody knows why. App Clock:

Very convenient for travel. Elegantly done. Beats all other specialized chess clock apps in the App Store. Lots of ugly design there.

Garde electronic:

A mysterious clock nobody knows. A very, very rare Ruhla clock from 2001.

ZmartFun ZMF-II:

An update, new model. Lower price even.

DGT 3000:

An update to DGT XL. Bigger display, eboard compatibility and US Delay mode.

My personal all time favorite is the discontinued Chronos FX. For travel the convenience of the bare bones app is best by far.


OTB Against Deep Fritz 13

A test game against a computer running Deep Fritz 13 on a DGT electronic chessboard with our limited edition BCE S1 Eastern Black pieces. A perfect match. This particular set is customized with the king’s marks. I don’t need them, but I love them. A touch of old class.


DGT Test

We worked hard for this. The DGT cylinders are a tight fit. The chessmen are lighter than our standard sets with no loss of stability. This is preferred in competitive tornament play as the DGT e-boards are used in all events. The DGT pieces are never weighted.

Here’s me holding my breath:


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