Certabo Electronic Chess Board

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Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:10 am
Location: England

Certabo Electronic Chess Board

Post by mephisto » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:38 pm

I am the proud owner of the Italian Certabo electronic chess board.
It is extremely well made and surprisingly very heavy. Shipping to England from Italy only took one day thanks to the courier DHL.
The PC software setup is very easy to install as was the calibration of the pieces once you stick the recognition sensor chips under each piece. Place them on the board and select SetUp then within twenty seconds each piece has been individually recognise and you can start playing. Thirty four sensor chips are supplied with the board which can be used with any of your own chess pieces. Also available are additional chips should you want to use more than one set.
Although when you press New Game it gives you the option to play against four chess engines; LC0, Stockfish, Houdini and Fire only Stockfish is actually present in the engine folder. You have to manually download the other engines yourself then rename them as just their name.exe not with any version numbers associated to the file. Example, the free Houdini engine that you can download is Houdini 1.5 therefore you have to remove the 1.5 when you rename it.
You can however use any chess engine that is a exe file like one of my favourites the Colossus Chess UCI engine. But to get it to work you must rename it as one of the original four engines that appear in the New Game list. Therefore I have Colossus renamed as Fire.exe. Apparently adding new chess engines will become easier sometime in the future with a software update. Also included is LC0 but unfortunately runs on 64 bits which I don't have so could not test the engines opening.
There are a couple of things that I would like to make you aware of though. 
Firstly the engines do not use an opening book. To my opening move of e4, Stockfish uses only three different replies (d5, Nc6, e6) over it's 20 playing levels. Fire again only uses three (e5, d5, e6) and again Houdini only uses the same as Stockfish. But if you download BrainFish and use that as one of your main engines then the reply total increases to five (d5, e6, c5, c6, e5). Pietro from the company has however advised that this issue will be looked into.
Secondly although there is an Android app and eventually a iOS one too, they do not connect directly to the Certabo board. They connect via a Raspberry Pi unlike the PC software version that connects directly with the board.
Am I pleased with the board, yes. I especially like the modern coloured shades of the board and love the neutral coloured led's on each square that you really don't notice until they turn blue when indicating the computers move. Also the board is directly powered by via the USB so no additional power is required. If the company will add an opening book for the engines in a future software update then I think my days of buying endless chess computers is finally over.

[img]https://igrandmaster.yolasite.com/resou ... 56x800.jpg[/img]
What's my next move? - to the fridge for another beer !!

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