After the successful introduction of the digital game timer DGT was looking for ways to broaden the base of the company. The development of an electronic chess board was the natural challenge, as chess and electronics are at the heart of DGT.
A few technologies were on the market, some for tournament presentation, others for use at home with a PC. Most systems worked with touch and push connections and some worked with individual piece recognition, but all boards were extremely expensive and "live" tournament presentation on the internet was only possible for well sponsored top events as most systems needed professional attention to correct technical instability.
The development target was a traditional wooden tournament size chess board, that would be easy to use, reliable and relatively affordable, combining the functions of an input device for chess moves for home use and data collection with live recording and broadcasting of games for tournaments.
When the International Chess Federation FIDE expressed the wish to use electronic boards at the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista, DGT took up the challenge and set out to develop a system of some 300 electronic boards integrated into a single network, to collect all data for live internet presentation as well as the gamescores for the printed daily bulletin. Achieving this goal turned out to be difficult, and many technical problems had to be solved between the development paper and actual production. At the start of the Olympiad however 328 DGT e-Boards were up and running and the system developed by DGT functioned smoothly.
Since the Elista Olympiad many electronic tournament boards have been produced by DGT and nowadays almost all chess tournaments use the boards to broadcast the games live via the internet.
DGT continued to develop the electronic boards releasing a USB version and a Bluetooth version for home use. Most major commercial chess engines and computer chess programs can communicate directly with the boards and non-commercial open source programs have the interface implemented. Several websites and apps support the use of the DGT e-Board to play online against opponents on the other side of the planet.
Software for tournament presentation has improved immensely with the release of the DGT LiveChess software. Another complete overhaul and upgrade of the LiveChess software with many new features and improvements was released in 2017 making live tournament broadcasting easier than it has ever been and within easy reach of small clubs and private users. Now anyone can very easily broadcast their games live using the free DGT LiveChessCloud service and show their games to any audience and on any device.
In 2017 DGT finished development of the Smart Board, an affordable high quality plastic version of the wooden live boards making chess even more accessible.
In the old days chess fans and players could only play through games after they were published in print. With the rise of the internet and the development of DGT e-Boards millions of chess lovers around the world can now follow the games move by move as they happen. With the e-Boards DGT again made another major contribution to the development of chess for the 21st century.