A couple of chess enthusiasts and creative woodworking professionals in Hungary began making a unique wall mounted chess board to solve something they encountered while playing chess.
The challenge of keeping the figures in place while playing chess over multiple days was compounded by the reality that their dog also enjoyed the chess figures. Hence they wished a more elevated chessboard on which to make moves while passing by.
I caught up with David, co-founder of this new, exploratory venture. They are seeking to make an excellent wall mounted chess board with not just their skills, but input from the community.
I asked David to tell more about his creation, the challenges they have found, and what they plan to do next.
The idea and inspiration to make this wall mounted chess board came from the week-long chess games one of our team members used to have with his father. They would play on a regular board which they placed on a small table in the entrance hall of their house and they would take their turns as they passed by board.
So the “messenger” way of playing was already created then, but when the family bought a dog the dog seemed to be very much interested in the game too – every now and then he would steal some figures or knock the board off the table. This is why the regular chessboard had to be modified a little bit.
The vertical chessboard is made of CNC machined beechwood for long lasting quality with glossy surface. The chess pieces are made of 3D printed Polylactic Acid (PLA) a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane.
The biggest challenge so far is finding the right partner for the production of the 3D printed figures. The ones we have now are fine with regards to functionality but we are not sure if their finishing or perceived quality would meet the expectations of the end users. We would actually love to hear opinions about this.
We think that the wall mounted chess board is great in terms of functionality but we are not sure if the design can be considered final and even whether it is possible to successfully introduce to the market just yet.
Looking to the future, we think of our chessboard as an active interior design piece, therefore we think there are many design options to be explored.
This first option features a minimalist design style.
This second one is for children, to attract more young players to the game while we also believe that chess could serve as an important educational tool between parent and child: it can help children learn to concentrate, cope with failure or success, it teaches them self-discipline, while it also improves their imaginative, problem solving and learning skills.
But the best is that these chessboard also take out the time pressure from the game, so children can take their time and make decisions at their own pace, without being frustrated by the presence of the adults.
Thank you David for sharing your project!
I invite those of you reading this page to comment on the designs and share any ideas on what you like or don’t like and how to make the product better!
David is following this as well in Hungary.
The Social Experience of a wall mounted chess board
The vertical wall mounted chessboard is a unique social experience in that it enables people to play chess without being physically present at all times during the game. Hanging on the wall, it both decorates your home or office interior and engages you to play with family or co-workers.
Which of the designs do you like more? What changes do you recommend? Comment below.
One of the finished boards as of this writing is available at Chess House and here’s the listing to order.
Looks pretty cool and a great innovative idea.
One thought as I look at it, it would appear that as a wall mount the top will always be farther from the wall then the bottom. Thus an angle tilting all the pieces forward. I would think that the shelf that the pieces sit on be a little wider so the pieces do not hang over the edge, minimizing a possible spill of the pieces. Very nice idea.
Hi Ace! Thank you for the comment, we are happy that you also like the idea. You are right about the shelves and the thing is that the model in the pictures was the first board we made. Since then, we have made the shelves wider so as to counter balance angle tilting.
Placing a small magnet behind each square relatively near the surface would attract a small steal/iron piece placed behind or within the chess pieces; it would serve to hold it in place better. That metal could also extend the piece outward just a bit giving you a better handhold to the piece.
Also, sensors magnetic sensors could be placed behind the squares that sense which specific piece is located in that square–this identification allows the board to sync with a smartphone and/or networked device and communicate the move to your opponent, making the boards automatically synced with each other and communicating any possibly accidental piece misplacement. LED’s behind each square could even backlight your opponent’s current piece square and then flash backlight the new location of their current move. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone, anything like that could be used for a project like this.
I concur w Main’s comment regarding a magnetic surface and some sort of indicator for last move and current player. Maybe an option for storing moves and games w a memory card or flash drive if it doesn’t price it out of a novelty set. I see potential as a great set for teaching and casual play. It looks like a great complement to study using books.
If using a 3D printer for the pieces, the flexibility in design is incredible since you could essentially make it to order. Leftover pieces could possibly be used from other sets by just cutting them in two!
Hi Mark! Thank you for the new ideas, we have also thought about magnets, and we are sure that in the future we will make a magnetic version too. As for the smarthphone connection, it sounds really amazing,it would be great to get notifcations of your opponents move for sure. We only have to find a way to incorporate this into our product as electronics and app development are currently not our strongest field/expertise.
No.1 looks better.
Sorry, I should have written my sentence better to say this, “Once your opponent makes a move, an LED behind the square could backlight the opponent’s ‘from’ location and a flashing backlight illuminating the new move ‘to’ location.
Captured pieces could be stored inside the back of this if the frame opened like a cabinet door.
Also, an extremely steep incline of this board could be done and the pieces could hold vertically into position with a magnet. The incline could be like 70 or 80-degrees, nearly vertical, and the pieces would either be “plumb” vertical, the effect would be interesting I’d think.
It’s a great idea but I don’t like it because it is not a normal view of a playing surface.
I suggest that the board and frame be ferrous metal. The chessmen have rare earth magnets in their bottoms. Captured chessmen can be adhered to the frame.
I like the idea a lot. I’m not sure either of these models is quite right, though. It doesn’t bother me that the board is vertical because that’s how we look at chessboards in books or on computer screens usually. My concern, though, is whether there’s enough contrast between the two armies.
Hi Chuck! Thank you for the comments. We have versions with classic black and clear field-the board in the image was the first one we made as a present and so we new where it would be hung and deliverately chose these colors to match the interior.Also, you have a very nice dog-looks like he/she is a hungarian breed called vizsla!
The perspective is wrong and makes the diagonal lines less obvious. Chess is all about patterns and having an asymmetrical board is disconcerting. Would suggest making the squares square!
Also I would prefer more contrast between the light and dark squares.
Very good points Mark, I completely agree with both points!
Just to add, I already use a wall mounted board (classic presentation fabric –
magnetic one) to save and work on chess puzzles which I leave for a few days at a time set in position. It works very well but I love the idea of a nicer looking board too.
Hi Mark! Thank you, we got your points! We designed this board to be a piece of decoration too and so its shape resembles the rectangular shape of images hung on the wall, but after all it is a chessboard so it’s fair to say that squares should be squares:)Thank you.
I’m not entirely sure why you feel the need to use different pieces for a board of this style. If you simply make the grid a bit deeper, you could use standard pieces.
Also, a couple of the close-ups seem to show the base of the board looking rather rough. I would recommend sanding that smooth before the grid is attached.
A little drawer at the bottom for captured chessmen would be nice too.
Since this is meant for long-lasting games, it would seem good to have some marker to indicate who made the last move
Hi Don! Thank you, this is something we have also thought about but so far could not come up with a solution that is not only functional but also aesthetic. We are on it though!Thank you!
Why not just use a standard or Magnetic DEMO BOARD?
Hi Ed! We made this so that it serves as a piece of decoration too, adding some personal touch to any interior. But as it has been suggested before, magnets can be useful and we are probably going to use magnets at one point in the future. Thank you!
More on the DEMO BOARD IDEA…. I use one for the Correspondence Game ACME PAWN PUSHERS is playing with a member in Florida. If you want something “Fancy” I would go with the FIRST Choice as it is Most Standard. I would also like Larger pieces! Older “STUBBY” Fingers would have Problems with Smaller Pieces!
I would like a better place to put the taken pieces rather than on the top. Perhaps 2 empty rows at the bottom.
Hi Kenneth! Thank you, it’s a great idea and we will look into it!
Magnets are a good idea also a magnetized “penalty box” at the bottom (2 rows) so captured pieces can be displayed. It’s a really cool, more formal version of the cloth ones with pockets
I like #2 but I would prefer a deeper aperture so I could use a standard chess set. It would be a great way to display a chess set as well. I agree that it needs a way of showing whose move it is. Being able to disassemble it for shipping will be an advantage.
PLA (a biodegradable thermoplastic) is used in RESORBABLE Sutures also! IT RESORBS or disappears over time. Water(moisture) is required. I’m not sure how stable nor pet proof this material will be? (Cornstarch and sugar cane might taste good to a pet/animal/insect). Other “companies” already carry these “vertical boards”. Anything to bring the high cost down while keeping the quality and functionality up is appreciated. 3D printing should accomplish this in the future so this appears as a step in the right direction! Thank You.
Hi Dr Joe! Thank you for the comments, you are right PLA is biodegradable but from what we learned about it is that it takes a very long time to degrade. When they talk about composting it, they mention industrial composters at 200+ degrees with oxygen pumped in.So basically it only begins to “degrade” after being exposed to heat-according to our understanding. Yet, we are experimenting with different materials too, for example a bronze filament which after polishing has a beautiful silky surface and if it’s also treated with acid, it will oxidize and get an antique look- applying varnish can preserve both conditions.So we are looking into this as we speak.Thank you!
Thank you very much for all the comments they are all very much appreciated-as said in one of the answers, the chessboard in the image was our first one and we have since then improved our product with some of the modifcations that have also been suggested by some of you (wider shelves, stubbier pieces, new materials instead of PLA).
Hopefuly we will be able to share with you our future models and you will also be able to see many of your comments implemented.
Thank you once again and regards from Budapest!