Mobile phones and late arrivals

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Alan Walton
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Alan Walton » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:21 pm

Personally, I don't mind using the Monroi devices, it is just as quick using them as it is writing moves down, and in the numerous games that I used them in I haven't made a mistake inputting into the device. It is all down to using them more frequently, this same scepticism happened with digital clocks when these were introduced many years ago

Eoin Devane
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Eoin Devane » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:25 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:I disagree that this sort of thing will be the future of chess. I don't see how purchasing this sort of thing would ever become better than a scoresheet and pen. The advantages for scoresheet and pen are:
a) Quicker to write moves down - it's only three-four characters usually.
b) Less prone to go wrong - problems with recording are usually solved with getting a new pen. Electronic devices might run out of battery power, some other defect
c) Cheaper - 10p for a biro and 2p for a scoresheet, compared to £100s for Monrois, and £100s for iStuff and apps
d) Less prone to cheating - tough to cheat recording moves with a pen and paper, but electronic devices are always suspicious

Digital clocks and quickplay finishes both solve problems, specifically they keep time more accurately without arbiter interference to wind them back, and can finish the game without being able to get help from other people. I don't see how these electrical devices are solving anything though. I can't think of a single advantage of using them during the game over a pen and paper.
Okay, well I'd better continue trying to defend them, so here goes!

a) Hard to say, really. On the Monroi, it looks like you click the departure square and then click the arrival square, so I imagine a similar app would be pretty quick.
b) I thought you were complaining last week about all the games you had to input that were nigh on incomprehensible! This would solve that sort of issue, as all you have to do is click the piece you're moving and then click the square you moved it to. No need to work out what letter + number you need to write down.
c) I'm not going to argue that we're going to get smartphones down below 12p, but think back 10 years. Then all mobiles were up around £100, and you never would have thought that we'd reach the stage we're at now where literally almost everyone seems to have one.
d) As I've said above, assuming we're talking about local leagues and congresses rather than elite world-stage events (and even then, if you believe Topalov), there are plenty of opportunities for someone who wants to cheat to do so with things the way they are.

Edit: I see Alan's post provides the experience with the Monroi that I lack to back up my points a) and b). :)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:29 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:I don't see how these electrical devices are solving anything though. I can't think of a single advantage of using them during the game over a pen and paper.
Earlier it was suggested that a "free" Monroi style app would deal with the issue of broadcasting games with rather less setup issues than the DGT boards. In order to do this, it would have to be switched on and connected for outgoing communication. As a really old-fashioned idea, if you had a steward/demo board operator for each board they could be the ones with the phones doing the transmissions.

I'd imagine you could also use a Smart Phone as a digital clock - robustness issues permitting :)

From time to time, I play "friendly" games in a local pub. It's struck me that recording these games with a Smart Phone would be rather less ostentatious than using a scoresheet or scorebook.

As another example, Smart Phones (in the hands of stewards) might work well for a "telephone" match. This is where teams meeting in a "long distance" competition elect not to travel but communicate their moves backwards and forwards by phone.

Ian Kingston
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Ian Kingston » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:29 pm

To satisfy my curiosity, I've spent a few minutes looking for and installing a free chess app on my phone. It works very nicely and can be used as a game input app. It saves games in PGN, which can then be texted or emailed. The engine doesn't appear to be very strong, although I haven't tested it beyond 5 seconds per move.
Eoin Devane wrote:These people who are going to use the hacked version to cheat, are they currently going to the toilet between moves to check with their phones? Because that doesn't seem to be much more difficult. Basically, I'm saying that I agree there are potential ways to cheat using this, but there are plenty of ways to cheat in chess anyway as it stands. I might be naive, but I don't think there are particularly many players who are looking to exploit them.
You're right, of course. It's just one more issue that makes using mobile phone apps problematic - to my mind at least.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:47 pm

Eoin Devane wrote: b) I thought you were complaining last week about all the games you had to input that were nigh on incomprehensible!
I was doing the Under 10s and Under 11s though. Players that age may be able to input the moves, but it'll take a lot longer. They'll also spend more time faffing around with those than concentrating on chess. The were used in the Terafinal last year, and they all spent more time faffing about with those than playing chess.

If you miss a move out, it may be quicker to identify where the move was missed, an advantage. This is an issue with club standard play, rather than GMs.

Stronger players' games tend to be indecipherable only if the handwriting is poor. Using these would be an advantage in that situation, I agree.

Thinking more about it, perhaps it allows for game inputters to transfer their games quicker. This is no issue in club chess though, really.

Maybe they're not such a bad thing after all. :)

Eoin Devane
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Eoin Devane » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:52 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:Thinking more about it, perhaps it allows for game inputters to transfer their games quicker. This is no issue in club chess though, really.
It is for clubs that produce a bulletin.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Ian Thompson » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:54 pm

Eoin Devane wrote:b) I thought you were complaining last week about all the games you had to input that were nigh on incomprehensible! This would solve that sort of issue, as all you have to do is click the piece you're moving and then click the square you moved it to. No need to work out what letter + number you need to write down.
What happens if you make a mistake and click on the wrong square (without noticing immediately), or forget to record a move at all? What do Monrois do if the move you're trying to record is illegal, perhaps because of an earlier move in the game being incorrectly recorded?

Eoin Devane
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Eoin Devane » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:00 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:What happens if you make a mistake and click on the wrong square (without noticing immediately), or forget to record a move at all? What do Monrois do if the move you're trying to record is illegal, perhaps because of an earlier move in the game being incorrectly recorded?
I don't know - I've never used one. I'd have thought that, because you can visually compare the positions, it should be quite easy to avoid making a mistake (and if you do make one, you'd probably notice it quite quickly). Alan Walton's comment at the top of the page backs this up. He'll be able to provide a definitive answer, I guess.

Alan Walton
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Alan Walton » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:01 pm

From what I gather you cannot input an illegal move (though never done it), also if you click the square you move to first then the piece then you find that you cannot put the piece onto the incorrect square, but it is easy to take a move back.

If you realize that you have inputted a move incorrect, and have played a few moves extra, you can go back the error change it and it would not affect the extra notation, and you then can go back to current position.

Steve Rooney
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Steve Rooney » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:05 pm

A number of earlier posts have tried to address the potential advantages of a smartphone App in response to the 'young cynic'. (I see he has now warmed a little more to the idea!)

Of course a pen and scoresheet might be regarded as the most reliable system but most keen chess players have grasped the modern communication age with a vengeance. For many of us, and presumably most Forum readers, the internet has transformed the game we know and love; a game which many of us learned quite a long time ago with bits of wood and plastic rather than bits and bytes. Clearly some technologies are more trouble than they are worth but there are also some outstanding developments which we learn to love and embrace.

In addition to those pluses mentioned above, I can see a distinct advantage as a junior coach of having an easy method of games being recorded and transmitted. If you think it's difficult transcribing some tournament games, just try and recreate some early junior games from their notation attempts. Sometimes you spot an instructive phase of a game but when you try and go through it later to explain it, you can never get back to the position from the alleged scoresheet at least by means of legal moves. And yes I know that the poor dears will never learn to write the moves properly if they just enter them on a screen or keypad but then you could say that about all keyboards.

As to the difficulties of the chess authorities in regulating such systems I think it is something that will have to be addressed at the point where the right sort of Apps appear on the market and achieve high volume. Remember that the global chess market, below the elite level, is a significant size, and not one that is limited by language barriers to any great extent so there could be significant market opportunities for a £5/$5 App.

With my publishing hat on I think there is real potential here, where are the programmers when you need them ....

Justin Hadi

Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Justin Hadi » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:06 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
From time to time, I play "friendly" games in a local pub.
Roger, I love your use of quotation marks! As we all know there's no such thing as a friendly game of chess...

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:06 pm

Ian Thompson wrote: What happens if you make a mistake and click on the wrong square (without noticing immediately), or forget to record a move at all? What do Monrois do if the move you're trying to record is illegal, perhaps because of an earlier move in the game being incorrectly recorded?
It's four years since the only tournament in which I ever used one, but you are entering moves using a stylus on a touch screen device. As far as I recall you could take back moves with a "back" button. In terms of user experience, it doesn't differ greatly from inputting games on ChessBase and other database systems. I think it has some "intelligence" - at the start of the game you only have to click the d4 square to get the move d2-d4. (More recent users may wish to confirm this!)

As far as past incorrect moves are concerned, I would suppose it's up to the player to establish that the position on the playing board was the same as on the Monroi board. You can see both for the length of the game. I don't think illegal moves would be accepted - that could be an advantage.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:14 pm

People you are not adequately thinking out of the box.
1. when you make a move on an electro-sensitive board it is clear that the move should be recorded directly, the clock times change and the data transmitted to the web. 3 fold repetition and the 50 move rule should be signalled. None of this old-fashioned nonsense about making the move, pressing the clock and recording the move.
2. Surely within the lifetime of those of you who are younger, you will be able to have built-in computers which will not be visible and which will enable you to play chess at the highest conceivable level. The first ones may just be embedded into your spectacles. There will be other functions of course. An encyclopedia, for example, is really rather ridiculous. Already maps are old-hat.
3. If you wish chess to continue, then clearly, at the higher level, games will have to take place in an enclosed environment where there can be no transmission of any type of waves. This has already been suggested.

When I first showed Ian Rogers the prototype Monroi equipment he said, 'People are far too paranoid about cheating. There are so many possibilities already.'
Scorebooks are not cheating. It is looking back through the previous games in the book which is cheating.
Responding to your friend, who enquires innocently, 'How are you doing?' That is cheating.
In the early 1950s I was advised an effective way of putting a woman off was to 'accidentally' ladder her stockings with your foot. I never attempted this and possibly my legs were not long enough for this to be practical.

Stewart Reuben

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:24 pm

Eoin Devane wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Thinking more about it, perhaps it allows for game inputters to transfer their games quicker. This is no issue in club chess though, really.
It is for clubs that produce a bulletin.
Interesting idea. Maybe my club could produce one...

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Mobile phones and late arrivals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:29 pm

Steve Rooney wrote:Remember that the global chess market, below the elite level, is a significant size, and not one that is limited by language barriers to any great extent so there could be significant market opportunities for a £5/$5 App.
A £5 app sounds fine. But, that app has to work on a £200 phone, where you're immediately hooked into an 18-month contract, despite the fact that the next version will be out in 12 months (rendering your current one worthless), and it'll be costly to upgrade it. If anyone thinks Microsoft is dodgy with its ploy of charging for everything, Apple are ten times worse. It may cost £5 for one version of the app, but I don't like the idea of paying £250pa (or thereabouts) for the use of the associated phone.

So, I would just need something that only worries about chess, and doesn't do the aforementioned malpractice. So we come to a £300 Monroi device.

Make me a cheap (i.e. <£50) Monroi-esque device, that has a decent lifetime, and I'll be interested. Until then, scoresheet and pen please. :)

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