Sleuths called shenanigans on a robotic chess board. Kickstarter called checkmate.

Chess-perts said a company’s Kickstarter campaign wasn’t above board.


March 8, 2020

Last week, Kickstarter suspended a controversial campaign that had boards flippin’ and pieces flyin’ in the world of online chess.

Here’s what went down, courtesy of Vice: A company called REGIUM launched a campaign for a flashy internet-connected board that let people throw pawns with their online rivals — using real pieces moved by electromagnets. 

A promo video showed Team Black’s bishops makin’ moves all on their own.

But chess-perts said they saw something else…

…signs that the pieces in the video were moved by stop motion, not magnets.

The team behind Lichess, a chess platform and community, posted a Zapruder-level film analysis that laid out the case for stop-motion subterfuge. They also poked holes in claims on REGIUM’s site and in its marketing.

The strife didn’t stop at stop motion

Chess24.com said “an army of online investigators” raised “multiple red flags” about Regium. Among the most bizarre accusations — that the engineers listed on the company’s website were actually just headshots from thispersondoesnotexist.com.

In response to Vice’s questions, REGIUM denied the claims about its engineers and said the sleuths were making “delirious” accusations.

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