Have you ever tried to create chess diagrams without a white king and a black king? Did you ever manage to add markers, numbers and letters or draw lines and arrows? Or put a placeholder for your students to guess what piece it must be? All this is easy with LogiqBoard. The group behind the recently completed Erasmus + project 8by8 and the Hungarian company LearningChess joined forces to develop this online tool. It is now regularly being used by ChessPlus in online teacher training and in classroom teaching. The current version of LogiqBoard enables chess and other 8by8 games to be played online using a shared board.
Here is how you get started. Go to LogiqBoard.com and click on the +Create board button. You will be asked to enter your name. This is to identify you to others whom you invite to your screen by sharing the link. Each board that you create is identified by a unique link that is automatically generated in the cloud. You can share it with one or more people over the internet.
The interface is intentionally friendly and inviting. It is tempting to start drawing on the board canvass immediately – and indeed many children do. The board can be a normal checkered chessboard (the default setting) or an 8 by 8 grid. You can choose the piece set in the left box. With the arrows you can turn the chess pieces upside down or pick checkers pieces. Instead of White and Black you can colour the pieces by clicking on the palette symbol and picking one of the other eight colours.
You can populate the board with colourful chess pieces, counters of different shapes, mathematical symbols, smileys, flags, and many other icons. Drag the piece, symbol, or shape to the square where you want it. It is possible to paint individual squares of the board in a variety of colours. Export the diagram that you created as a PNG file by choosing in the menu Export Image.
Teaching on the screen
You can also use LogiqBoard to interact with others. The tool was developed with the idea to be as close as possible to the physical experience of playing or teaching on an actual board. Everybody who has the link can manipulate the board. Play is free, as there is no engine to supervise if a game proceeds according to its rules. The ruleset is for the attendees to enforce.
The experience is enhanced by a rapid set up. In the menu you can pick the standard chess starting position. You also find a variety of mini games as well as other strategy games on 8x8 squares in the menu under Games by clicking on Mini Games resp. Strategy Games. Each game comes with an outline of the rules. We added the rules thanks to the feature Board Notes, which you can activate for your own use under the menu point Board Settings. You can also use pre-set positions by creating boards before your lesson and sharing the links. Another feature is that you can flip the board to play from the other side.
For several reasons, including safeguarding children, there is no chat function. Thus, if you want to teach with LogiqBoard, you may need a second communication channel, ideally an audio channel. You can use Skype, Zoom, Teams, Discord, Whatsapp or whatever suits you. There is no practical limit to how many people can join the same board. As the person who created and named the board you assume the role of the teacher, and thus control who else can be on the board and who can manipulate it.
What is next?
The functionalities of LogiqBoard are expanding. The current version that includes most static tools and interactive features will also have special features for classroom teaching, such as facilitating the easy distribution of boards by the teacher on so-called breakout boards. Registered users will be able to store their boards in their own libraries. Teachers will use their library to create e-worksheets and solution sheets. Both exercises and their solutions will open as instances of LogiqBoard. There is also a plan to create a selection of e-workbooks on the platform that users can buy. Chess teachers have not been forgotten either: LogiqBoard will handle variations and import pgn files in the future. A pricing model is in the works, but many functions will remain free.
At the start of the 8by8 project there was nothing suitable on the market for presenting and playing strategy games and chess and mathematics problems. As seasoned chess and games instructors, the project team knew what functionality was required. We believe that the fruit of our collaboration is a great new interactive online tool, whose impact in the teaching of chess and chess-like games will be long-lasting.
This article is based on the final chapter of “21 Strategy Games for the Classroom – A Manual of Educational Games Playable on a Chessboard”, available as a PDF. Atkins will talk about LogiqBoard and strategy games at the FIDE EDU Conference on 25/26 June.