Building a better USB Chessboard

After the success (over 5000 views!) of my prior USB Chessboard project, Bryan and Jimmy talked me into going back to the well and putting together a new design. The reason was simple, it's gotten hard to source the Dream Cheeky USB Chessboards, so we wanted something that we could recommend to people months and years into the future.

So, while recovering from a surgery recently I discovered the Teensy USB development board. This simple hardware device could be readily programmed in C and interacts with the computer natively as a USB HID device. It didn't take long to get the first few prototypes out. More importantly thanks to Bryan and Jimmy (Bryan Whitby and James Patterson) we had the bugs worked out and a successful run of the new "Sish" board.

I've started up a new blog on blogger to cover the board, how to build your own, and other interesting chess computer meets real world projects I put together.

Stop on by and take a look, get the code, buy a Teensy, and build your own usb chessboard.

Trust us, it's a lot of fun!



  • 19 months ago


    The andoid device, or whatever device you are using should be able the pawn promotion for you on the screen.

    Software... use the Sish software for the teensy board.  Teensy, I don't believe, will compile C.

  • 19 months ago


    Hellow, I start to make the project. I build the hardware and now I need the software someone now a site that have a software for usb chess project in C?

  • 3 years ago


    one question, how to identify pieces? i meant when a pawn promotion takes place, how to tell what the new piece is. 

  • 3 years ago


    I've finally finished my project.  This board will be used by my town's chess club.  I made a little video showing it off.

    Thank you Matt and Teensy!

  • 5 years ago


    Thanks! There's no detection though, it's just like a simple USB Keyboard, when you press "e2" then the keyboard transmits "e2" to the computer. It's very, very simple, but lots of fun to play on!


  • 5 years ago


    Nice project! Thought about something like this, but never figured out how to detect which piece is on what square?

  • 5 years ago


    Really makes me wish I had some electronics knowledge and woodworking skills. Unfortunately, I have neither. Interesting to read about, though. Since they can be built like this, it's really surprising to me that no company has come out with a good quality board, etc., as you have, while making it a decent price (definitely under $200, maybe even $100). Maybe they're watching your blog for instructions. :-)

  • 5 years ago


    The future is two player and clocks pgn save.Been able to save more games by using usb chess.  Keep up the great work Matt.

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