For chess lovers who’ve wished that they could play online chess games on a real chessboard, the Square Off is a dream come true. Describing itself as the world’s smartest chessboard, the Square Off first launched with a Kickstarter campaign in November 2016 and was 100% funded in just 6 hours. The campaign went on to raise £170,499 from 779 backers, hugely exceeding its initial £40,000 goal.
Making Chess Accessible to the Visually Impaired
Square Off is created by the Mumbai based company InfiVention Technologies founded by board game lovers Bhavya Gohil and Aatur Mehta. In 2013, they were approached by the Chairperson of the Indian National Association for the Blind to discuss the creation of a chessboard that would open up the game to those that were visually impaired, as the rise in recent years of chess being played on computers and smartphones meant that it had become an increasingly difficult hobby for the blind to pursue. After extensive research and rigorous testing of several prototypes of the board, the Square Off chessboard was born.
Play With a Friend or Challenge the Artificial Intelligence
The Square Off is a smart, connected, chessboard that aims to revolutionise the practice of playing chess by allowing you to play physical games with people anywhere in the world. And if you don’t fancy playing with another person, you can even challenge the artificial intelligence on the board to a game! The board comes with multiple playing modes, including a Square Off mode which uses the Square Off app to connect your chessboard with the board or app of your opponent. Every move that they make will be magically replicated on your board, giving you the cosy feeling of playing with a friend in real life. Additionally, there is also a training mode in which you can go up against an artificial intelligence with 20 different difficulty levels in order to finetune your chess skills, and a live streaming mode that allows you to spectate any ongoing match worldwide and even record and replay them on demand.
Classic Luxury Meets Groundbreaking Technology
Made out of premium rosewood, the Square Off board features a compact 2 axis robotic arm with a magnetic head beneath the surface that moves the magnetic handcrafted rosewood chess pieces. The inclusion of an Arduino Mega 2560 microcontroller with Bluetooth capability allows the board to connect seamlessly with your smartphone, resulting in automatic movements that are programmed in a way that avoids collisions between the individual chess pieces.
In order to preserve the disconnected button-free nature of the Square Off chessboard, the Square Off mobile app is used to interact with the board. With a wide range of features, from selecting difficulty levels and opening moves to analyzing games and chatting with your opponent, the Square Off app can do it all. Through the app you can even save incomplete games that you can return to, or gain insights into which move you should make next.
The Square Off board is available in two sizes: the smaller Kingdom Set and the larger Grand Kingdom Set with space to place captured pieces. A combination of classic chess luxury featuring solid handcrafted pieces and a premium wooden board, and cutting-edge technological advances, the Square Off chessboard is set to make remote chess gaming a personal experience for everyone.