In recent years, chess has undergone a technological revolution, with electronic chessboards taking the world by storm! Not only do they allow you to compete online while playing on the board, but they also offer exciting features, like self-moving pieces!
Since the automated chessboard world is relatively new, you might find it overwhelming when shopping for one. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of the top electronic chessboards with self-moving pieces to save you a ton of research. So, let’s dive right in!
1. Square Off Grand Kingdom Set: Best Overall
For those who enjoy Harry Potter’s chess game, the Square Off’s Grand Kingdom Set allows you to relive the scene. That’s because playing with this automated chessboard feels like competing against a ghost!
The Grand Kingdom comes with a rosewood-finished board and 32 well-crafted chess pieces that are both lightweight. That means the set isn’t 100% wood—some plastic might be in the mix to not make it heavy.
The set also comes with an adapter, a phone stand, a 1-year warranty, and a 30-day return policy!
All those features are available for slightly less than $500. You’ll also find flexible payment plans if you’re tight on budget. The best part is that using this automated board is straightforward.
Simply download the Square Off app, connect the board via Bluetooth, and play! You can stream a game, play online with other Square Off Grand owners, or challenge the adaptive AI. Once you finish the game, the board will reset automatically.
However, it’s not all roses when it comes to this automated chessboard. The Grand Kingdom Set makes some noise when it moves.
Additionally, the board can have some glitches, especially when you take one of the opponent’s pieces; it doesn’t fully push them outside the board.
Square Off’s Grand Kingdom is also slow compared to mouse clicks, so it might not be suitable for blitz or bullet. Not to mention the pieces are also a bit slippery; any breeze might knock them off.
- 1-year warranty and 30-day free return
- Comes with an adapter, a phone stand, and a free app
- Adaptive AI that provides game analysis
- Fails to fully kick the taken pieces outside the board
- Might not be suitable for speed chess like blitz or bullet
2. Phantom Robotic Chessboard: Best Automated Wooden Chessboard
Unlike the Grand Kingdom, the Phantom Robotic Chessboard is fully made of wood. The idea behind the product is to combine the feel of classic wooden chessboards with modern technology.
They use a sophisticated sensor and a silent mechanism to detect the pieces’ location and glide them according to your movement.
The set includes a birch or walnut wood board, 32 wood chess pieces, and two extra queens. You can choose between a modern or a classical design.
The Phantom Robotic Chess Board also includes an adaptable AI designed to mimic human play. Still, you can play against any chess engine of your preference, like Stockfish.
What makes this automated chessboard unique is that it includes a Play with Your Voice option where you can direct your troops using voice commands! That can be handy if you want to enjoy a game of chess while doing day-to-day tasks.
What’s more, you can analyze your matches or let the board play historical games while you watch them—a great way to bring all of Paul Murphy’s chess games to life!
All that sounds good on paper. However, currently, the Phantom Robotic Board is available as a prototype; the final product isn’t ready yet. You can pre-order it and catch the early bird price, which starts at slightly under $700.
- High-quality wooden chessboard with modern and classical designs
- Sophisticated sensory array and silent mechanism to ensure a smooth, quiet game
- The Play with Your Voice feature enables you to voice command your pieces
- Available as a prototype only
3. Square Off Neo Z Chessboard: Best Budget
Another Square Off board making this list is the Neo Z chessboard. The former is one of the company’s newest products, and like the Phantom, it’s only available through pre-ordering.
Unlike the Grand Kingdom, the Neo Z is a lightweight board made of injection-molded plastic. It contains 32 pieces and two extra queens.
The set also comes with an adaptor, a mobile stand, an adaptable AI, and a 1-year warranty. To play online, simply download the Square Off app, connect the board via Bluetooth, and challenge your friends!
All the above sound similar to the Grand Kingdom, so what’s special about the Neo Z?
Since the board is made of economical material, it’s more affordable, costing slightly under $280. Additionally, the frame is smaller and lighter than the Grand Kingdom board, making the former more portable and travel-friendly!
The good news is that the Neo Z is compatible with other Square Off boards, so you can play against other automated boards.
- A lighter, smaller board that’s easy to carry when traveling
- Affordable, costing less than most automated chess boards
- One-year warranty
- Injection-molded plastic might not be as high-quality as wood
- Small dimensions might not fit those who prefer the standard chessboard size
What to Consider When Buying an Electronic Chessboard With Self-Moving Pieces
Here’s what to consider when buying an automated chessboard:
Size and Portability
While playing online chess on a board sounds great, you should consider its size and portability, especially if you travel a lot.
Consider buying a small, lightweight board since it might be more comfortable to carry than a large, heavy one.
Regardless of the material or brand, most automated chessboards use magnetic sensors and internal robotic arm mechanisms to move the pieces.
The problem is that there’s a lot that might go wrong during that process. For instance, the computer may fail to detect the position where the pieces moved.
For jumping pieces like knights, moving them can be tricky. That’s because the horizontal and vertical motion of the internal motors can knock down pieces while sliding the knight on board.
That can take away the fun during a chess game. For that reason, check the performance of the self-moving pieces once you get the board.
Compatibility is another important factor to consider when purchasing an electronic chessboard with self-moving pieces. Make sure that the chessboard supports different online servers and engines to get the most out of it.
As you can see, electronic chessboards with self-moving pieces offer a new level of excitement for chess players.
When buying a chessboard, it’s important to consider size, portability, and smooth performance. Additionally, the product should be compatible with chess services and engines so that users can enjoy connecting and playing with numerous people.
The Square Off Grand Kingdom, Phantom Robotic, and Neo Z are all great options, each with its unique features and drawbacks. Regardless of the board you choose, one thing is for sure: an automated chessboard can enhance your chess experience and make it more enjoyable!