HIARCS Chess Forums Forum Index HIARCS Chess Forums
World Championship winning computer chess software program & downloads for chess database, analysis and play on PC, Mac and iPhone
 
 QuestionsQuestions   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Private MessagesPrivate Messages   Log inLog in 

DGT e-board / Mac,PC,Pico / full coverage / worthy & use

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    HIARCS Chess Forums Forum Index -> HIARCS Customer Support & Announcements
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author
SFK3
Member


Joined: 19 Nov 2014
Posts: 36
Full Name: Uwe
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 pm    Post subject: DGT e-board / Mac,PC,Pico / full coverage / worthy & use Reply with quote

Hello Forum members,

there are a lot of speculations about the DGT e-board for private use.
I.e. about the usefullness and interactions with existing hard- and software you own
as well as a lot of question marks including the one for Mac versus PC use and
concerning the hard- and software integration.

To find out, there is no really satisfying comprehensive overview out there.
Though this forum provides the most ideas and facts on this topic as far as I know,
it's unfortunately not enough to get a clear picture of it.
And neither do the information you can get from the here mentioned vendors' publications.
So I decided to find out on my own and to share my findings with this forum.

I try to short cut as much possible, but I think, most readers prefer one more
line to read instead of sketchy information.
Though I also tried to avoid errors as much possible, there still might be some.
In case of doubt please send me a note.
Questions and comments are welcome!

For the quick readers:
See pdf- and pgn-files available at this link for a comprehensive overview and test templates
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gur9li9ib38c6ox/AADPgNsOqBgpQuTLZM2D4FQza?dl=0
and continue to the overall summery below.

[If a webmaster reads this post:
If you can, please, upload it into Hiarcs forum. Because I can't and I likely will
remove the public link mentioned above in some months.
Thank you!]

General remarks about the DGT e-Board:

I bought a Bluetooth/USB board with ebony pieces (incl. 2 extra Queens).
It came in a set with the dgt 3000 clock, the Pico Chess computer which is based
on a Raspberry Pi B+, running software version 0.59. Also connection cables
were included and some rare(!) manuals, mainly for driver installation purpose.
In addition you get a full (Starter-?!)version of Fritz 12 and Chessbase 12.
For Windows of course, but for free.

The board is approximately 2-times the heigth of a standard wooden board, but
width, length and fieldsize fully fit standard tournament size.
The ebony pieces are well Staunton-shaped, have a glossy finish, but look a bit artificial.
I checked three times if they were made from wood, because I thought at first
it was high quality pastic. The latter because they are comparatively very light:
The weights are missing (all?), since the RFID chips are placed in the center of the base.
(Checkout the DGTenabled Sinquefield Cup pieces for artisanary brilliance – but
weigh the price difference)
The piece recognition works very precisely. If you misplace a piece that it is - even for
human beings - not clear on which field it stands, the control-board of the
DGT Software (shows that it) removes the piece from the board. Once placed correctly,
the piece immediately appears again.
In addition the board seems to have some kind of engine embedded, because it detects
a mate on its own!
First charging took about 3 hours. According to the board's information this is good
enough for 18 hours of play. Games remain stored even with a discharged battery.


General remarks about Pico Chess:

Please check Wikipedia for information about the Raspberry Pi itself.

[Sidenote:
I wanted the RPi 3 for performance reasons (1GHz with 1GB RAM
vs. 700MHz with 512MB RAM of the B+ model) , but it wasn't yet delivered.
Since the software is the same on both, this doen't matter here.
Meanwhile version 0.65 was released, but not part of this documentary]

The Pico Chess software starts automatically when you fire-up the RPi.
Within a minute you are ready to go announced on the clock's display: „Pico 059“
It is controled by placing (one of) the 4 Queens on dedicated fields on the board.
A comprehensive overview – just a 1-pager if you check your printer's settings
carefully - is available from Pico Chess.
It's quite unusual to control a computer „blindfold“, but it works quite good.
Pico Chess is confirming your settings on the DGT clock's display and with a beep.
I recommend to use the 3000 instead of the XL clock model for better reading.
A little nerv-racking are the loud confirmation beeps from the clock – especially
in a blitz games against the RPi computer. But there are instructions in the internet
how to mute this – but: Sometimes you would be happy to hear this beep and you
cannot easily toggle…
There are various opening books (full, only open or closed openings etc.),
multiple computer engines (Stockfish, Arsan etc.), a lot of playing strenghts
and types (Standard levels, Grandmaster ELO 1900 or 2100). All included in the
Pico Chess software – and even more settings in recent software release 0.65.
Hence everybody will find an opponent he can defeat or even loose against.
Accessed through its IP adress within your personal home network, you can
follow the game on a seperate computer's webbrowser, see the opening book etc.
You can even make (multi variation) game analysis and moves with it and
jump back to the live status of the game if you like.
The interface is simple by design, but shows almost everything you need.
Its Handling is okay (remember: At no cost!).
The Pico Chess GUI is not presented on a display when connected to
the RPi HDMI plug.

After all the tests a examinations shown in the pdf document from the
download link…



My personal overall summary:

The DGT e-board itself is a nice and interesting thing. No doubt.
At least since it lets you record your games without a pen in your hand
and also records the time you spend for your moves.
But only for this purpose it's too expensive.
If you like to play against a computer or in the internet, but want to look
at real pieces without balancing cost-benefit, it's (maybe) your choice.
I only got it to work with Fritz 12 on USB - why not Bluetooth is a miracle.
Maybe a wrong driver for it in Bootcamp?!
No manual(!), no search for the failure possible. ...and I resigned.

Pico Chess:
It's a cool invention and shows the power of the non-profit Open Source community.
Well done boys!
It's easy to use and very mobile since: The RPi is just as big as a credit card and
roughly 3cm high, can be powered by USB charger or battery pack, devices connected
before boot are seemlessly identified.
So I think, it can be a good idea for a chess club for their trainings and the like.
I maybe follow this up in the forum – need more experience first.


The (important) downsides:

If you only stick to the DGT setup (Windows computer, Chessbase and Fritz Software)
you might be able to work with it. But you are not flexible in terms of choosing the
software you like.
This reminds me the early years of buying a Ford motor car:
You can buy whatever you want, ...in case it's black and a Tin Lizzy
(pdf-blue box strike #1)

DGT e-board & Pico Chess setup?
It is far away from „all-in-one-place“!
You have another operating system (Raspbian=Linux based) which normally needs
some maintenance at least for the frequent software updates of Pico Chess.
To do more trainings and evaluations of your games you still need another computer.
Thereby PC and Mac users sit in the same boat, especially
if you consider the most frequent application for private users:
* playing and analysing your games (against human beings or computers),
* check variations and jump back to/start from a certain starting position, while
keeping these variances.
Down- and Uploading pgn from the board and to your Chess program is an
unecessary boring work.
And: Pico Chess pgn is by content (commentaries) different to the e-board's pgn!


Conclusions

If you just want to play against the computer but like to look at a real board:
Safe your money, click the mouse and spend a beautiful weekend with a friend.

The same, if you only want to have a luxory scribbler for your game notations.
A good scorebook does the job, too, and improves your light-fingeredness.

If you don't fear laborious pgn-handling, additional system maintenance, then buy it.
Or (if not already) change to Windows, Chess Base and Fritz and be „captured“
(pdf blue box strike #2)

Considering the stalling politics one can take from the DGT support's answers to
inquiries of forum members (can be found somewhere here), it makes me believe
that the latter option is the one followed.
...and Mac users were again debarred from any technical chess related advancement
(Aren't Gartner's market share statistics telling us different about the Mac?!)
Does Chessbase do really has got the smarter programmers?
Or do they have some/better insights?
(pdf blue box strike #3)


Outlook

Good developments have been achieved. But at the state of art e-boards are not
the choice for the masses of (private) players though they definitely could be!

There are only minor(!), basically software(!) related improvements to be made:

DGT:
- should provide hardware drivers for PC and (finally) for Mac with an easier setup procedure.
- must make the board's configuration available for Chess GUI programmers
(I consider something like the UCI interface so you can setup the board in your Chess GUI)
- must make the board's memory accessible for Chess GUI
(i.e. to get these really(!) sophisticated pgn-files stored in the board directly into the chess
programs instead of downloading from Windows-Rabbit Queen and uploading it again)
- needs to (extremely) improve user's manuals

Chess GUI programmers:
- should extend GUIs especially by various statistics (diagrams!).
Captured pieces and engine evaluation is one thing. But also time per move
or remaining play time are very helpful features on top!
- should find a way to ease the aggregation/processing of fragmented games
How did Chessbase get it work (pdf blue box strike #3)
- make commentaries in pgn's a little more human readable by indexed/tabulated
display for variations (e.g. ChessX is able to do this) as well as for printouts.


Is there an alternative / is there a real choice?

To me: There isn't any. Not really.

Further more: Rumour has it that DGT might co-operate in some way with the Pico Chess project.
You just need to enter „dgt 3000 pi“ in Google and you find hits on DGT's and other websites.
If this approves true and if they should extremely improve the GUI to some kind of HCE
or (like it or not) Chessbase/Fritz design (but please more user friendly) with some of the features
mentioned above, this will truly change the Chess GUI and engine market, I believe.
But is this their market approach?
I dare say: They (Pico team) are technically able to do all this! And therefore they are granted
a kind of playground or sandbox „to do the Pico Chess“.
But the stronger bind will remain with the Hamburg-guys. Exclusively.

And - as I said with a lot of ifs and but(t)s - there is a threat:
Depending on if and how the contract of such a co-operation will look like:
Will Pico Chess team still be allowed to further distribute their software
for free to everyone?
Or even develop software which might be in competition to the packaged software?
Future will tell - and in the meantime we can build-up our own opinion about it.


(Personal) Bottom line

Judged in this moment, I most likely will return to a pen, a rubber/eraser
and a sheet of paper for openings and variation work and will let the
Computer do the post mortem analyse in HCE...

And if there is no big consumer-orientated change in the very,very near future,
I most likely will resell my e-board set.

Let me know, if this post is helpful for you and if more (which?) information are welcome,

Cheers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
gsgs
Member


Joined: 26 May 2016
Posts: 37
Full Name: guenter stertenbrink
Location: hilter

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what's the advantage of real old 3d-chess pieces over electronical
2d-ones thant can be moved with a mouse or touchpad
or the finger on the screen ?

I'm more comfortable with the latter
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
SFK3
Member


Joined: 19 Nov 2014
Posts: 36
Full Name: Uwe
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gsgs wrote:
what's the advantage of real old 3d-chess pieces over electronical
2d-ones thant can be moved with a mouse or touchpad
or the finger on the screen ?

I'm more comfortable with the latter


Hello gsgs,
I think it is a matter of how someone learns better:
For some it is the "virtual" 2D scenario, but others have a more
haptic approach or even need a 3D-view.
At the state of art this "hybrid" cannot really bridge these.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Dave C
Member


Joined: 17 Jul 2015
Posts: 271
Location: SoCal, US

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:19 pm    Post subject: Re: DGT e-board / Mac,PC,Pico / full coverage / worthy & Reply with quote

SFK3 wrote:
Hello Forum members,
there are a lot of speculations about the DGT e-board for private use...

To find out, there is no really satisfying comprehensive overview out there....
So I decided to find out on my own and to share my findings with this forum.
..... I most likely will resell my e-board set.

Let me know, if this post is helpful for you and if more (which?) information are welcome,
Ewe, I really enjoyed reading your excellent review. Thank you very much for recording your experience with the DGT and Pico and your opinions too. I find your in-depth review very useful. Your comments about how the items functioned, if they are easy or difficult to use and the level of difficulty to use are the most important to me. Your conclusions were also very appreciated.
Also, I prefer 3-D wooden chess boards over 2-D chess.

Thank you,
Dave
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
fourthirty
Member


Joined: 06 Dec 2013
Posts: 277
Full Name: Greg
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 3:28 pm    Post subject: Re: DGT e-board / Mac,PC,Pico / full coverage / worthy & Reply with quote

SFK3 wrote:

So I decided to find out on my own and to share my findings with this forum.


Very nice summary Uwe.

I've used a DGT (USB) board for several years with Pico Chess, and agree with your comments.

I recently purchased GAVON to use with my DGT board. It has the advantage of multiple engines and a nice LCD display.

http://www.hiarcs.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6599&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

My greatest frustration with my DGT board is that I'm able to interface it with HIARCS Chess Explorer on my Mac...

Greg
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SFK3
Member


Joined: 19 Nov 2014
Posts: 36
Full Name: Uwe
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: DGT e-board / Mac,PC,Pico / full coverage / worthy & Reply with quote

[quote="fourthirty"]
SFK3 wrote:


I recently purchased GAVON to use with my DGT board. It has the advantage of multiple engines and a nice LCD display.

My greatest frustration with my DGT board is that I'm able to interface it with HIARCS Chess Explorer on my Mac...

Greg


Hello Greg,

I must admit the display is a big advantage compared to the DGT 3000 display.
(BTW Picochess also has some engines built in)

Which equipment you need to use is clearly depending on how and where you like to play.
Which way ever: The amount of equipment raises and I wonder if its all worth?!

For the occasional chessplayers the DGT board is "oversized".
A good smartphone and any kind of chess set does the job. Or a tablet computer if you like the 2D view.

For the club chessplayers it is - i.e. in a training game at the club - quite nice to look at the screen (GAVON)
or press a specific button on the clock (PICO) to check the computer's valuation.
But these devices are not that powerful and so you have to wait
some more seconds to have a good engine result.

I consider a completely different approach, an up-turn if you like (for club players):
You have you engine and i.e. Hiarcs running on your computer say in your office at home.
But you like to play in another room for atmosphere reasons. In this setup, the GAVON or PICO can be the interface
to your desktop computer and transfer just the moves you make on the DGT board and show the engine"s ones
on the clock/GAVON. At the same time, the pgn is recorded on you computer.
If you start a new game, the game is stored and a new one opened.
So you have the power of the desktop computer and the mobility from the Raspberry.

So agreed: The downside is, that the DGT board has only with Chessbase the most connectivity.
But Even is this setup is missing some standard features.

Not a real comfort at all: Except for the "Cassbasers" all other systems/setups are barred.
But this is the price human kind pays for monopolism Sad

Have a nice weekend

Uwe
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
PawnCustodian
Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:48 pm    Post subject: DGT/Fritz Bluetooth Reply with quote

I have nothing but good things to say about the FRITZ 15 performance with DGT Bluetooth board. Earlier versions were unreliable, especially with the DGT Clock. (It could have been me and the way I set thing up. There are two switches for logging as I learned recently which will cause the drivers to crash if left on).

Anyway, now I play games remotely with confidence that clock times are accurate and the system won't crash in the middle of a game. I don't use the board for analysis, I just review games on the computer screen.

That said, I'm waiting for HIARCS Explorer to integrate the DGT interface.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SFK3
Member


Joined: 19 Nov 2014
Posts: 36
Full Name: Uwe
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello forum members,

It has been a long time since my original post, so I think it deserves an update.


The developement of the PicoChess software continuesly moves forward.
Meanwhile version 0.79 is released with updates i. e. on the
- webserver, so you can better watch PicoChess on small displays
- updates on engines (personalities of engines) and improved UCI options setup
- new voices (now EN, DE, IT, FR) for making PicoChess speaking the moves
- more general stability i.e. if there are move take-backs

A small but customer orientated, chess-loving developer team gives quick responses
on errors as well as in general discussions.


Basically it works out of the box - incl. automated updates of the software -, if you
don't tweak the program files as much as I do.

Very important is to have a good power supply!
Even more, if you are using an active cooling (fan) for your Raspberry.
In this case standard USB output makes it work unstable!
I use a 5V 3.0A which covers fan and Raspberry consumptions well.


What I like with the PicoChess-DGT3000-DGT_eboard setup is, that you have a
good companion for your play and trainig, who is ready to go within the minute.
And if you don't setup your personal preferences like the engine, it's strength, time control,
it takes you just a few seconds for setup.

Also easy to handle is the setup of a position you like to play, for example, if you train
a specific endgame. But there is no option to play again and again a once entered position
until you break. So you have to setup the pieces on the board (anyway) and press 5 or 7 times
on the clock's buttons each time you like to get it started from this position.
This is fine, as long as you don't need to setup the Position too frequently.

As a third feature I like to state the "ponder" mode, in which PicoChess shows the best move
as well as the evaluation of the position alternating every 2 seconds. So at the moment of
play with a human, you see if you're on the right track or not.

Unfortunately this is not mirrored into a game profile on the PicoChess webserver and even
not written into the pgn-file PicoChess generates. So to recall this, you have to take the pgn
to your desktop software. Unfortunately HCE is still also not supporting this feature
(as well as taken pieces statistics etc.), but i.e. Shredder, Fritz, Arena and others do.

The pgn is transfered by e-mail from the Raspberry to your e-mail account after each game.
This works reliable and almost without any waiting time. You can simple copy & paste the
pgn from the email body to i.e. HCE for further analyze.

Comparing with CB12: Setting up a position doesn't work that easy (please correct
me, if I'm wrong): In CB you have a dialog box, asking to setup the position and then
you have to place the pieces accordingsly on the board. So you do it always twice and
it's really not clear to me, why CB on the one hand side connects to the board conspicuously easy,
but hasn't got a "Scan board" function of the other hand side?!


My intermediate sumary is:
- PicoChess is a good companion for training and playing
- Working on variants in a specific position or in openings or to do in-depth analyzes of you
games, the desktop computer is more useful and easier to handle


Yes, the world isn't perfect for chess players yet.

What I really don't understand is, why nobody sees the potential - and I dare say there is
also a big economic potential - if the best elements of all a. m. software will come
together in one place?

Maybe this is artificially limited by the monopolistic market structure for two products
needed in this setup - ...we therefore will never overcome.
And that's the biggest pitty for our sport.
Just my 2 cents and opinion.




P.S.

For those who are interested in another step to the future:
Lookup this kickstarter project with self-moving pieces!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/infivention/square-off-worlds-smartest-chess-board-relaunched
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    HIARCS Chess Forums Forum Index -> HIARCS Customer Support & Announcements All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Protected by Anti-Spam ACP