Technology

Square Off Is A Real Chess Board That Allows You To Play Against Anyone In the World

You're hankering to play a game of chess with your best friend Paige, but there's just one problem: she lives across the country. Introducing, InfiVention's Square Off! It uses a combination of magnets and artificial intelligence to connect with your opponent no matter where they are and "magically" move their chess pieces across the board.

Related: The Turk Was A Mechanical Chess-Playing Hoax That Fooled The World

Chess Just Got Smarter

In 2016, Bhavya Gohil and Aautur Mehta successfully funded a Kickstarter for Square Off. In their Kickstarter video, Gohil explains that the first prototype of the game was just designed visually impaired people to play against a computer. They then realized that Square Off could be connected to a physical chess board. While it may look like you're playing chess against a ghost, those pieces are actually moving thanks to a combination of magnets and artificial intelligence.

Related: There Are More Games of Chess Possible Than Atoms In The Universe

Here's how it works: you have the Square Off chess board in front of you, and Paige is using the Square Off app from across the country. When she moves a chess piece on her app, your chess board uses its mechanized arms and magnets to slide her actual chess pieces to their designated spots. If you'd rather play with a "ghost", that's also a possibility: the game incorporates an AI option with 20 modes of difficulty.

Related: Robots Are Getting Closer To Mastering Poker

Nostalgia With Magnets

Sure, you could opt for a virtual version of the game, but there's something satisfying about moving pieces across a real-life chess board. After all, chess has been around for 1,500 years. Square Off has advanced chess technology while holding onto the charm and nostalgia of wooden boards.

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Chess

Square Off—A Chess Board with a Tech Twist

There Are More Games of Chess Possible Than Atoms In The Universe

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. In the 1950s, Claude Shannon estimated that there are 10^120 variations of chess games possible. There are 10^80 atoms in the observable universe. 00:24

  2. Here's how Shannon calculated this number. 01:17

  3. Mathematician Godfrey Hardy put his estimate at 10^10^50. 07:52

Written By Curiosity Staff March 3, 2017