2013 Championship

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No More Pen and Paper

Want to record your chess games electronically? Want to spend less than it costs to fly to the Caribbean? Your solution might be eNotate from the North American Chess Association. You can buy the software for $25, or the software with a PDA for $125. The software is approved by the USCF for use in rated tournaments. Read this blog post from a chess player who is using the $125 eNotate package now. Using eNotate with a Pocket PC lets you use Pocket Fritz from Chessbase when the eNotate software isn't running! If you buy the software only and then shop for your own Pocket PC you can buy a model with WIFI (not accessible when eNotate is running) and other extra features. You might try eBay to look for a deal.

Please note that I have not personally tested the products mentioned in this post. The information is based on manufacturer claims and offered here for the consideration of members of the Elizabethtown Chess Club. The only other devices known to be approved for tournament use by the USCF are the MonRoi used by several club players and DGT electronic chess boards.


Jerry said...

I purchased an eNotate from the North American Chess Association. While I can't give it the type of evaluation it deserves due to my limited
computer expertise; I'll try to cover it well enough to aid those who may be thinking of buying one.

I placed my order on 9 April and received my eNotate on 19 April. The unit was shipped via USPS and requires a signature on delivery. My total cost including shipping was $133.10.

Although the program is available for $25 I chose to purchase it already installed on a Dell PDA. It came on a Dell Axim X50 PDA with Windows Mobile 5 and eNotate preinstalled, 1 Power brick with cord and dongle, 1 USB Sync cable, and 1 USB to power outlet converter. Also included was a page listing the aforementioned contents and directions to the web site in order to download the 16 page instruction manual in PDA format.

The progam is easy to run if you are not a dummy like me and set up the PDA first!! Googling Dell X50 owners manual took me to a user manual which was also in PDF form and over 170 pages. I printed out about 25 selected pages I thought I might need. My biggest problem was rushing to "play" with it before setting the current time and date on the PDA.

Operating the program is intuative and may even be easier than using a Mon Roi. I still haven't used it in an actual game situation.

You will probably want to purchase a memory card. The X50 uses a memory card that the tech guy at Best Buy called a Flash Card, I found them at Staples in the camera section; Best Buy does not stock them. I purchased a 2Gig card for $16 and change.

I have yet to explore all the Windows programs; but there appears to be the usual programs to include e-mail, blue tooth etc. I understand that Pocket Fritz and other search engines can be installed which makes the e-note much more versitile than the Mon Roi. I prefer the Mon Roi green and white chess board to the red and black board used by eNotate. The black pieces are harder to see if placed on a black square.

All things considered I would have chosen the eNotate over the Mon Roi if I had a chance to compare them prior to purchasing my Mon Roi.

There are video evaluations available by clicking on the links in Bob's post. I thought that my evaluation might help. I will bring it to our Tuesday meeting for anyone who'd like to give it a hands on try.

Jerry said...

A quick update on the eNotate. I have discovered that tilting the PDA by placing it on a "wedge" makes the graphics a lot easier to see. I will bring two that I made from "junk" I had in my workshop next Tuesday. Any number of things will work and the cost should be no greater than $5 even if you have to buy all the materials. I believe even Mon Roi users will like this idea.

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