Posts | Comments

Planet Arduino

Archive for the ‘Stockfish’ Category

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you might remember that one of the movies showed an Isle of Lewis chess set whose pieces moved in response to a player’s voice commands. This feat has been oft replicated by hackers and [amoyag00] has a version that brings together a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Android, and the Stockfish chess engine in case you want to play by yourself. You can see a video of the game, below.

Interestingly, the system uses Marlin — the 3D printing software — to handle motion using the Arduino. We suppose moving chess pieces over a path isn’t much different than moving a print head. It is certainly a novel use of GCode.

There are a lot of pieces integrated to make this work. There is a Bluetooth connection between the Android and Pi. We saw code in Java, Python, C++, at least. We were sad to read that the team that built it can’t modify it anymore as it was a school project and the parts have been recycled for a new class of students. On the other hand, maybe someone else will make a copy and extend it further.

We are always surprised we haven’t seen more Harry Potter paraphernalia. There was the magic wand at this year’s Superconference.¬†We also liked the Mad Eye Moody. There have been others, of course, but not as many as you’d think given the franchise’s popularity.

Unsatisfied with the present options for chess computers and preferring the feel of a real board and pieces, [Max Dobres] decided that his best option would be to build his own.

Light and dark wood veneer on 8mm MDF board created a board that was thin enough for adding LEDs to display moves and for the 10mm x 1mm neodymium magnets in the pieces to trip the reed switches under each space. The LEDs were wired in a matrix and connected to an Arduino Uno by a MAX7219 LED driver, while the reed switches were connected via a Centipede card. [Dobres] notes that you’ll want to test that the reed switches are positioned correctly — otherwise they might not detect the pieces!

A small LCD screen and four buttons also connect to the Arduino for configuring options a number of options, computer difficulty, and play styles, while a Raspberry Pi acts as the main computer.

The Raspberry Pi is using ChessBoard 2.05 as a rule set with consideration for special moves (such as en passant and castling). It’s currently unsupported but used with permission by its creator, John Eriksson. The chess program Stockfish is the actual engine; be sure to adjust the skill of the AI, as it defaults to an ELO of 2600! Unfortunately, it’s a rather finicky program, only running on Python 2.7. If that doesn’t appeal to you, [Dobres] has provided a nice list of other options to help you with your own build.

He has recently updated his design and done away with the need for the Arduino in the process which — especially if you use the Pi Zero — drops the cost of this project significantly. That should leave you with enough room in your budget to build a robot to make the moves for you!

[via Max Dobres]


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Raspberry Pi


  • Newsletter

    Sign up for the PlanetArduino Newsletter, which delivers the most popular articles via e-mail to your inbox every week. Just fill in the information below and submit.

  • Like Us on Facebook