Chess Presentation with the DGT Board
By Henry J. White
The DGT chessboard is an electronic board that connects to a computer. It is a great tool for playing against a computer program while using a real wood chessboard and pieces. For more information about the board and how it works, visit DGT’s web site.
The DGT board can also be used to display a chess game to a live audience. All the major international tournaments use them. Moreover, the board is affordable enough for use at small local tournaments. This article will describe the South Carolina Chess Association’s use of the board.
The first time I went to a large regional tournament about 15 years ago, the players on the top board played on an elevated stage. Next to the top board sat a large demonstration chessboard, along with the thankless person assigned to operate it. Move after move an awkward dance occurred: a player would move and the operator would spring to his feet and make the move on the demo board along with moving a card indicating who was on the move. In the inevitable time scramble, the operator could never keep up with the torrid pace of the action on the chessboard.
With the DGT chessboard, a live audience can follow the action without the distraction of someone physically making moves on a demo board. It’s all done electronically. You can also connect the board to the DGT TopMatch chess clock so that the audience can see not only the position of the pieces and who is on the move, but also how much time is on each player’s clock, down to the second.
For the past several years the South Carolina Chess Association has used the DGT board to showcase the action on the top board of our scholastic championships. We also used it for our state championships. The board is connected to a laptop computer running special chess presentation software from DGT known as TOMA. This software shows a graphical chessboard along with the players’ names, rating and clock times. Moves made on the DGT board are instantly displayed on the graphical chessboard. The laptop is connected to a television set or video projector that projects the graphical chessboard onto a video screen large enough to be seen by everyone in the room. Spectators sit in a gallery of chairs facing the screen. Our scholastic championships are game 30 affairs with all the tension that accompanies sudden death play. It’s not uncommon for the gallery to applaud at the conclusion of a game. This applause is the modern equivalent of the spectators showering the board with gold coins after Frank Marshall's 23rd move against Levitsky in Breslau in 1912.
The DGT board adds an extra dimension to our scholastic and state championships, giving them a "major league" feel. All the players cherish the opportunity to play on the top board. The DGT board is well worth the expense. Every chess tournament would benefit from using one.