Swiftly and with Style

Picochess

Charles Gamble

Whilst I was researching my DGT chess board I found some Youtube videos showing a chess engine running on a Raspberry Pi and talking to a DGT chess board:

This meant that you could play a game of chess against the computer but use a real wooden chess board. There is even a version that you can play on a normal chess board, [using buttons and a small screen to enter your own moves manually].(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uan2iLVcZ7U)

I thought this looked awesome and it gave me a perfect excuse to get into the Raspberry Pi, which was something that I had been watching but could never find a use for personally.

The project is called Picochess, they have ported the open-source Stockfish chess engine to the Raspberry Pi and it's pretty easy to setup.

The official instructions are here but to summarise:

  • Download an image file
  • Copy it onto an SD card
  • Boot your Raspberry Pi using the SD card just prepared
  • Log in to your Raspberry Pi and configure the Wifi or networking (having internet access allows Picochess to auto-update itself when it boots up, but is not required for playing)
  • I like to change my hostname to 'picochess' which makes it easy to distinguish this Raspberry Pi from all the others on my network

Once you have it installed on your Raspberry Pi you can have a game:

  • Connect the DGT XL or DGT 3000 clock to your DGT chess board
  • If you have the USB chess board connect it to your Raspberry Pi with the USB cable
  • Setup the chess pieces on the DGT board
  • Power on the DGT chess board
  • Power on the DGT chess clock and select mode 25, don't forget to press the Play button on the clock to confirm the mode selection
  • Power on the Raspberry Pi
  • After a minute or two you should see 'Pico 031' or something similar on the chess clock
  • Now follow the usage instructions to set your skill level, etc
  • Play

Now I have to go and practise, because I can't beat this thing even on level 0 (yet)!

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