September 20, 2016

Checkmate! Two Finns make the winning move

Iiro Kumpulainen and Eero Valkama developed algorithms that digitalise chess.

The chess innovation of a young Finnish duo has been awarded a special prize in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).

Iiro Kumpulainen and Eero Valkama, both 18, participated in the competition with their project in which they digitalised chess games using computer vision.

The pair developed a program for following chess moves using a camera that’s set up above the chessboard. The program tracks the game move-by-move using algorithms developed by the innovators themselves. This allows viewers to follow the game in real-time and also provides players with an opportunity to re-watch their own matches using cheap and easily accessible technology.

During their presentation for their project, the innovators report that the accuracy of the application is 96 per cent, which makes it superior to existing alternatives.

Both Kumpulainen and Valkama play competitive chess. Their target group for the innovation consists of over 600 million chess players around the world.

The special prize, Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), includes a five-day visit to the Czech Republic and the National Supercomputing Center in Ostrava.

The aim of the annual competition is to promote the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists. Kumpulainen and Valkama were chosen to represent Finland in EUCYS after they won the Design category in The Finnish Contest for Young Scientists. Mei Xu, who won the research category of the Finnish competition, also participated in EUCYS with her experiment that evaluated the potential correlation between green tea and probiotic bacteria in the human body.

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