Online gaming has made it possible to play with someone halfway across the world, but it's limited to video games and phone apps. Wouldn't it be amazing if the same principle could be applied to board games with physical pieces? A new smart board called GoChess could be the answer. This interactive, AI-powered chess board could revolutionize one of the greatest games out there.
GoChess was created by Particula, a Tel Aviv-based company that brought to life the GoCube and GoDice. Their previous products–much like GoChess—blur the line between the physical and the digital. “Our team is excited to introduce GoChess—the world’s first truly robotic chess board with AI technology that provides an unprecedented level of realistic gameplay,” the team writes on Kickstarter, where they are actively raising funds.
GoChess looks like any other chess board, but the magic lies in the pieces moving on their own. How do the GoChess pieces move? It all comes down to a patent-pending robotic mechanism. Its built-in magnetic sensors track your moves, and then reflect them on your opponent's board. Even before a match begins, GoChess can set a game on its own, or even restore an unfinished duel.
Though it was created by chess masters, GoChess is actually designed for all kinds of players. It is particularly friendly to amateurs or anyone with a desire to perfect their abilities. Should you need any assistance, you can activate the color-coded coaching lights to suggest your next move. “We don’t hand you the King, you’ll still need to earn it yourself,” writes the company as a disclaimer. There is still strategy involved and they compare this tool to a mentor whispering expert advice.
If your chess opponent is in the same room as you, you can still very much use it as a regular board and move your pieces by hand. For those who have grown fond of dueling with fellow masters online, GoChess integrates with both with the most popular chess platforms, Lichess & Chess.com. This means you're not limited only to players who also own one of these boards when looking for an online opponent. Not only you can play against someone who may be sliding their pieces on a screen, you can also stream real-time matches on your board or revisit historical games for further study. And if you don’t have anyone to play against, you can play with the AI. While this may sound daunting, there are 32 levels of difficulty to match your skill level.
If you want to revisit your matches, GoChess' companion app records and keeps track of all your moves, offering real-time analysis and insights to polish your skills and keep you updated with your progress.
One of the many highlights of GoChess is that the moves can be made via voice command. Not only is this great for players with disabilities, but it’s also for people on the go. Who says you can't multitask while playing a chess game? You could very well be washing the dishes or knitting while waiting for your opponent to make a move.
All of the state-of-the-art features are complemented by the smart board’s sleek design. GoChess is available in two colors: a modern black-and-white board, and a classic model with wooden pieces in two distinct shades of brown. The board also boasts three variants that adapt to different needs and budgets. GoChess Lite is a step down from the main version, as it is indeed slimmer, but it only lights up according to the moves made by your opponent, leaving you to move the pieces. GoChess 1XR stands for “one robot,” meaning that there's only one mechanism doing all the moving. For extra efficiency and speed—mainly at setup time—the 4XR version has four robots operating the game in lifelike motion.
If this smart board game has piqued your chess-loving heart, or you know someone who could have hours of fun with it, GoChess is currently purchasable via Kickstarter. The company will start shipping the hi-tech game boards in Spring 2024.