Plycounter Electronic Score sheet Review
PlyCounter is an electronic score sheet designed to record chess games. Moves are entered on the touch screen that displays the board and pieces, using the included stylus. The algebraic notation of the last moves is displayed on the lower part of the board and the complete game notation is also available.
The Plycounter electronic score sheet is about the size of the old Palm Pilot PDA system and uses a similar stylus. The screen is equivalent to that of the average smartphone.
The Plycounter has a sturdy feel to it. I initially considered getting some type of case for it but I no longer think there is a need. The screen is slightly recessed which keeps casual contact down to a minimum.
One of the early observations I had about the Plycounter is the simplicity of the device. There are no complicated features or buttons to get lost in.
I believe even the first time tournament director would have no trouble navigating around this device.
The device has been submitted to the USCF for certification and I would anticipate a rapid approval.
There is no reason why this device would fail the certification process, giving the past devices that have been certified.
One feature that is required by the USCF (United States Chess Federation), is illegal move allowance. No player wants to consciously make an illegal move, but since the rules dictate that you can receive no help from the device, illegal moves must be permitted. During my tournament test, I found myself a couple of times trying to move a little fast. One time I tried to move for my opponent twice and skip my move. I don’t think that worked, however, it will let you drop a pawn almost anywhere you would like.
I will probably end up getting one of those stylus/pen combinations from the office supply store or ebay. I am sure they are pretty cheap now.
Another actual tournament experience using the Plycounter was during sudden death or less than 5 minutes on the clock. I am pleased to report that I was able to easily record my moves without scrambling. This ability should greatly improve my personal game record keeping going forward.
I did not have any problems with the local tournament directors letting me use the device. Part of that acceptance could have been reputation however. I recommend that you read up on the USCF’s policy for electronic score sheets and be prepared to remind the tournament director that it is up to them. It helps to alert them to the fact that their is no chess engine or any other type of assisting technology in the device. I would go as far as also letting them know that their is no wifi transmitting/receiving capability either.
There are a couple of nice features built into the user interface of the Plycounter. The first is the colored box indicator letting you know whose move it is. This box is somewhat universal with chess puzzles. Also, the battery monitor is always visible, just in case you are getting low. Which brings up another important feature. The Plycounter is not meant to be always on. You should take advantage of the button at the bottom of the device that will put it in sleep mode. Using the sleep button is critical to extending the rechargeable battery life.
The Plycounter is $199 and available via Plycount.com