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Connecting Chess for Android with a Certabo Chessboard


The Italian company Certabo Chess manufactures several beautiful electronic chessboards and chess sets.

Since v5.9, Chess for Android can connect to a Certabo chessboard over USB. Long press the notation window in Chess for Android to open the extended menu. Then select "Connect to EBoard", pick the Certabo USB, choose an initial orientation (white at bottom when checked) and LED function (enabled when checked), press "CONNECT", and select the right connected device.

Unlike other electronic chessboards, Certabo chessboards do not necessarily come with their own, fixed chess set. Instead, a set of 34 identifying chips is provided, which can be attached to the bottom of pieces in any chess set (including a 3D printed one, as shown in the video below, courtesy Gerard Harbers). This implies that the GUI must first match unknown chips with the right chess pieces. Chess for Android does this by assigning pieces on the GUI board to unknown detected chips on the electronic board. Thus, the easiest way to get a match is by starting a new game on the GUI with the chess pieces on the electronic chessboard in the opening position. However, you can start with any position on the GUI and place the right pieces on the electronic board accordingly. The LEDs are used to indicate remaining mismatches or still unidentified pieces. If a (minor) promotion happens during the game, any piece with a still unidentified chip will get the proper assignment. Of course, an already identified piece that matches the promotion can be used as well if that piece was captured earlier in the game. If at any time, a mismatch occurred, simply use the menu to disconnect/reconnect the board to restart the identification process.

[CHIP] Setting up the start position with white on either the bottom or top of the electronic chessboard will start a new game with Chess for Android using that orientation. Move a piece to make a move, and follow the LEDs or GUI to make the computer's response. To capture, remove the opponent's piece from the chessboard. To castle, move the king first two squares to the left or right. To capture en-passant, move your own pawn first before removing the opponent's pawn. To promote, move your own pawn to the last rank, select the promotion piece on Chess for Android, and then replace the pawn with that piece on the electronic chessboard (a piece with a previously unseen chip is automaticaly identified correctly). To set up a position, long press the notation window, pick "Position Setup", after which Chess for Android continuously syncs its internal chessboard with the electronic chessboard. After pressing "OK", the game can proceed from the given position (if valid).

[CHESS3DPRINTER] When LEDs are enabled in the dialog and available on the Certabo chessboard, the computer move is indicated with LEDs. Similarly, if an illegal move is made, or the electronic chessboard is somehow out-of-sync with Chess for Android, the LEDs are used to indicate the difference. Correct all differences before proceeding with the game. Likewise, if the game navigation buttons are used to go backward or forward in a game, the LEDs indicate how to resolve differences. Without LEDs, the GUI appears unresponsive when an illegal move is made or the electronic and GUI's chessboards are out-of-sync. In such cases, carefully match the position on the electronic chessboard with the GUI's chessboard before proceeding, or use the position setup to correct the difference (this may break the game flow, however).

Other features, including playing against third party chess engines, are explained in the Chess for Android Manual and the instructional videos below.

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