Tiny spy cam for chess

No. Not for any nefarious intent but chess broadcasting. Why tiny? Because something like below is too obstrusive (and I have done it before).

pix courtesy of blog.roboflow.com

I was particularly impressed with how tiny the camera was in the recent Candidates tournament in Toronto, Canada. It made the setup less cluttered compared to other high level chess competitions where the cameras are all over the place.

Toronto: Indian GM Vidit Gujrathi during his round 11 match against Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (playing under FIDE flag) at the FIDE Candidates 2024 chess tournament, in Toronto, Canada, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (PTI Photo via FIDE/Michal Walusza)(PTI04_18_2024_000038B)

The tiny video camera is directly on each player’s side just under the chess board near the edge of the first rank. From that position it has no view of the position but captures the player’s facial expression quite completely. The DGT board and other cameras already do a good job of relaying the board position to commentators but the extra view of player’s reaction or lack of is refreshingly new.

Inspired by this, I want to try a similar setup. I do not know specifically what specs the Toronto organisers were using but this is what I will use:

Probably not as small but still less intrusive to the players compared to a traditional phone or full size DSLR or digital camera.

Instead of a computer which would necessitate a complicated long cable like what DGT boards need, a small android TV box would suffice.

Both equipment are at budget price with the camera @ RM 30 and the TV Box @ RM 60. The challenge will be the technical part making it work with live broadcasting.

Will try this at the next tournament which is the IGB Malaysian Chess Festival 2024. Probably just for one board. Now if I could get people to commentate on games 🙂

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