Best Chess Computer in Comparison.

Chess Computer Reviews & Buyer Guide.

Chess computers are the ideal companion not only to play chess alone, but also to learn the game effectively. Especially chess rules and moves are executed very well by the AI. Even chess world champions have already been defeated by chess computers. Everyone from beginners to experts can practice with a chess computer at different levels.

By looking at our comparison table, you will see that the performance of chess computers varies widely. Hobby players have different needs than tournament participants, which also explains the extreme price differences. So choose the chess device according to your personal goals.

Best Chess Computer Comparison

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The 10-Best Chess Computer

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Chess Computer Buying Guide:

How to choose the right product from the above chess computer test or comparison.

  • With a chess computer you can learn the game of chess from scratch as a beginner or prepare for tournaments and optimize your chess moves as an already skilled player.
  • The range of functions of a chess computer usually includes special learning aids, e.g. warnings and improvement suggestions during the game or the possibilities to undo moves and save the score.
  • When buying an electronic chess set, also make sure that the computer has a playing strength that suits you and an easy-to-read, illuminated display that shows you the moves.

“Chess is like love – it’s less fun alone.” – Stefan Zweig is said to have once said. But with a chess computer, you never actually play alone! Whether the professional program of the last world champion or the beginner’s variant, where the computer helps you to win by making deliberate mistakes: For every level and every type of game, an electronic chess computer acts as a suitable opponent.

In our 2021 chess computer comparison, we have taken a closer look at learning computers for children and beginners as well as professional devices for tournament players. In our buyer’s guide, we explain which types of piece recognition are possible, what the international playing strength ELO is all about, and which functions you should by no means do without when playing chess against the computer.

Chess coach or opponent: Are chess computers suitable for beginners as well as for professionals?

If you think chess computers are only something for children who want to learn how to play chess, you are mistaken. Because even the best players in the world compete regularly (even in special chess tournaments) with a chess program on the computer.

So, if you want to buy a chess computer, the wide range on the market allows you to choose between inexpensive entry-level devices with learning aids for children and absolute professional chess computers with the highest game categories.

Types of piece detection: How does the chess computer detect moves?

As a rule, two types of how the chess computer detects which moves are made are distinguished. The most common variant, which is mainly used in beginner devices, is a piece detection via pressure sensors.

In order for the computer to detect your move, you need to press the pieces lightly on the board – both on the initial square where your piece is before the move, and on the target square where the chess piece is placed afterwards.

You can save the light pressing with a fully automatic piece recognition. For this, either resonance circuits with different resonance frequencies are built into the pieces or the recognition works via integrated chips with sensors.

With this type of piece detection, it is elementary that you do not push the pieces across the board for the move, but lift them. Otherwise, there is a risk that the computer will assign the piece to the wrong square.

If used correctly, automatic piece recognition works more reliably and faster than the method using pressure sensors.

The advantages and disadvantages of automatic piece recognition at a glance:

Advantages

  • particularly reliable method
  • very fast
  • no pressing necessary while playing

Disadvantages

  • pieces have to be lifted
  • chess computers with this technique are mostly more expensive

Playing strength according to ELO-number: only relevant for advanced players and professionals

The playing strength of a chess computer is almost always given by an ELO number. This international rating number is calculated for chess players and computers to quantify their performance. Behind the ELO number are complex mathematical formulas that take into account, among other things, the most recent results achieved in chess games.

In general, the better the player or the chess computer, the higher the ELO number.

The best chess players in the world can have ELO values of over 2,600, while tournament beginners have ELO numbers well below 1,000. With an ELO number of 2,000 or more, you are already considered an expert!

The playing strength as ELO number is ultimately only relevant for skilled players and professionals who already play chess tournaments or would like to play in the foreseeable future. If you are a chess beginner or if you want to buy a chess set for children, you do not have to pay attention to the given ELO value at first.

Feature set: move retraction and warnings help to learn

In order to improve your chess game, it is especially important that the chess computer helps you learn by giving you tips and tricks. For this purpose, most devices have special functions in addition to an integrated chess clock.

Particularly practical: the move undo function, which allows you to undo your move. Some chess computers allow unlimited move retractions, while other models limit this function to the last two moves.

With a chess trainer function, on the other hand, the chess computer actively intervenes in your game. For example, it gives warnings if a move could lead to a piece loss or provides you with suggestions for improvement if another move makes more sense in the game situation.

To enable you to interrupt your chess game at any time and continue it at another moment, chess computers have a game state memory.

The respective settings are also saved and even if, for example, the battery is empty and the computer therefore switches off, you don’t have to start again from the beginning.

Display & lighting: Small LED lights visualize the moves

In order to show you the moves and positions of the pieces in the game, many chess computers have small LEDs built in. There are two variants: Either the lights are located on the entire board between the individual squares or the moves are visualized by LEDs on the edge of the board for each row of squares.

If the chess computer also has a display, this is usually illuminated as well. The brightness can usually be regulated individually, or you can turn off the display’s illumination completely if necessary.

A few models, such as the chess computer “Millennium Karpov Chess School”, also have a voice output, i.e. the computer tells you the exact moves. Alternatively, there are chess computers with acoustic signal tones, which sound, for example, when moves are made against the rules.

Technical data: Chess computers made of wood are of particularly high quality

If a chess computer is cheap, this can be seen in its appearance and design. Particularly high-quality chess computers, e.g. the DGT Revelation II or the Chess Genius Exclusive from Millennium, are made of real wood.

This refers on the one hand to the chess board, but also to the chess pieces, which are often additionally equipped with felt on their underside.

In simple versions, the entire chess computer is made of plastic, as are the pieces, which are often slightly magnetic to prevent them from easily tipping over on the board. These, on the other hand, have the advantage that they are easier to clean and also do not need to be protected from sunlight.

How does a chess computer work?

Chess computers have highly complex chess programs that are based on intelligent algorithms. Moreover, a chess computer naturally knows the rules of chess.

The chess computer stores moves that have already been made, for example in major chess tournaments (in the so-called opening book), which it plays to open a game.

Based on the respective piece constellation, you can very quickly determine which moves to develop and execute. The computer thus calculates all the possibilities and ultimately moves to the position where the probability of capturing another piece or winning the game is greatest.

From what age are chess computers suitable?

Most chess computers are suitable for children from the age of 6 or 7. Of course, it is then important that the computer can also play at the appropriate level for your child. For children under the age of three, there is also often a warning from the manufacturer, as the chess pieces are easy to swallow.

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REVIEWS & COMPARISON – BUYING GUIDES