In the past couple of years, online chess has experienced a boom. Online chess communities are fun to access on smartphones and tablets but many of us still prefer playing on a real chessboard. The Chessnut AIR aims to address that. It is a gorgeous wooden chessboard that connects to your smartphone and lets you play on Lichess and Chess.com. You will also get to use it to train with AI.
The good folks behind this board were kind of enough to send us one to review. The board looks quite elegant. It comes with lights to show the moves. Chessnut AIR is smart enough to recognize each piece and where it is located. It not only lets you play chess but also Chess960. When playing this variant, you can easily see where to place each piece. If you do something wrong, you will quickly see it in the app. You can download various drivers from Graham O’neill’s website to use it with Arena, LucasChess and Chessbase.
This board is not too heavy but enough to stay put as you play. The pieces are easy on the eye and about the right size. Chessnut AIR comes with a USB-C port, status lights, and buttons on the side. You can use this chessboard to play online or offline.
Once you have connected your account, you will be able to play against online opponents. This board makes it easy to import games to analyze with Stockfish. You don’t need to hard press pieces for moves to register. There is virtually no lag, so you can play fast games on this board.
This smart chessboard has internal memory to save some of your games. Its companion software is available for smartphones and PCs. You can use this board to livestream your games. Chessnut AIR is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. You can also pick up a carrying case and smartphone stand to use it more conveniently.
In the past few months, we have covered a whole host of connected chessboards here. The Chessnut AIR is a pretty solid effort at a connected chessboard. You do not need to be a tech genius to get started with it. With additional drivers, you can use this board with your favorite software applications. I was also surprised by the price as I have seen inferior boards sell for twice as much. Apparently, a Pro version of this board is also in the works. It will be a full sized board with 55x55mm squares.