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Publication numberUS3893671 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 8, 1975
Filing dateSep 3, 1974
Priority dateSep 3, 1974
Publication numberUS 3893671 A, US 3893671A, US-A-3893671, US3893671 A, US3893671A
InventorsRobert C Gardner
Original AssigneeRobert C Gardner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fiber optic chessboard
US 3893671 A
Abstract
A chessboard includes sockets at each position which receive and supply electricity to playing pieces. Fiber optic tubes connect light transmitting stations at each position on the chessboard with light receiving stations at other positions. When a playing piece is plugged into a socket at one of the positions, a light bulb inside the playing piece directs light into a set of fiber optic tubes and this light is conducted to the positions on the chessboard over which the playing piece can exert control.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Gardner FIBER OPTIC CHESSBOARD Primary ExaminerDelbert B. Lowe Attorney, Agent, or FirmQuarles & Brady [76] Inventor: Robert C. Gardner, 1629 W. Lawn Ave., Milwaukee, Wis. 53209 [22] Filed: Sept. 3, 1974 [57] ABSTRACT A chessboard includes sockets at each position which [2 Appl' 502,757 receive and supply electricity to playing pieces. Fiber optic tubes connect light transmitting stations at each 52 US. Cl. 273/136 A; 35/8 R position 011 the chessboard with light receiving stations 51 lm. Cl. A63f 3/02 at other position When a p y piece is p gg 58 Field of Search 273/131, 136; 35/8 into a svcket at one of the Positions. a light bulb i e the playing piece directs light into a set of fiber optic 5 References C d tubes and this light is conducted to the positions on UNITED STATES PATENTS the chessboard over which the playing piece can exert 3,579,856 5/1971 Way 35/8 R control.

8 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures 67 40 6 7 3a 3 66 l 1 i L H r VII 1 FIBER OPTIC CHESSBOARI) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of the invention is game devices, and more particularly, game devices which aid in teaching the fundamentals of positional games such as chess.

Devices for teaching games of position are well known, however, these typically require that each player manually indicate the position as to which he can move his pieces. For example, in US. Pat. No. 2,679.397. an electrically controlled chessboard is disclosed in which each player manually indicates the squares which his pieces potentially control so that his opponent and spectators may observe at a glance the immediate results of each move. Other known a ds include automatic chessboards in which prerecorded chess games may be replayed. Such game devices are shown, for example, in US. Pat. Nos. 3,579,856; 3,595,463; 2,65l,52l and 2,490,092. Remote control chess and checkerboards are also known. For example, that shown in US. Pat. No. 3,654,392, discloses digital circuitry for automatically transmitting the moves of a remotely located opponent over conventional telephone lines. Also, systems such as that shown in US. Pat. Nos. 2,492,916 and 2,356,057 include electrified chessboards in which the pieces are not manually moved, but instead, are electrically moved on command from an associated keyboard.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a game device having one or more playing pieces which are each movable to one or more positions on a playing board. More specifically, the invented game device includes light passage means located beneath the board which connect between selected positions thereon, and playing pieces which generate light into selected light passage means when moved onto one of the positions, and wherein the light generated through the selected light passage means by each piece illuminates the other positions to which the playing piece can be moved.

A general object of the invention is to llustrate to the players and spectators the apparent strategic intent of each player and the consequences of each players moves by automatically indicating the moves which each playing piece can make. When a piece is plugged into a new position on a chessboard, for example, the playing piece generates light which is transported through fiber optic tubes to all other positions on the board over which the piece exerts potential control.

Another object of the invention is to automatically indicate the control which pieces having different moves can exert when such a playing piece is placed at various positions on the playing board. When the inention is applied to the game of chess, for example, each playing piece has a distinctive set of moves which it can make from any position on the board. These moves are automatically indicated by coding each playing piece according to its character and including means at each selectable position on the board which is responsive to this coding to select the particular set of fiber optic tubes which will illuminate the other positions to which the coded piece can move.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide a teaching aid for novices who desire to learn the fundamentals of complex positional games and a teaching aid for more advanced players who desire to sharpen their skills.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear from the following description. In the description reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and in which there is shown by way of illustration a preferred embodiment of the invention. Such embodiment does not necessarily, however, represent the full scope ofthe invention, and reference is made to the claims herein for interpreting the breadth of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a chess game which incorporates the present invention,

FIG. 2 is an electrical schematic diagram of the chessboard of FIG. I,

FIG. 3 is a side view with parts cut away of a playing piece in one of its positions on the chessboard of FIG.

FIG. 4 is a partial top view with parts cut away of the chess game of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5 is a view in cross section taken along the plane of the line 5-5 shown in FIG. 4, and

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram which illustrates a portion of the fiber optic tubes that connect the positions on that portion of the chessboard shown in FIG. 4.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 5, a chessboard l is molded from a thermosetting plastic and includes a square playing surface 2 bounded by four integrally molded side walls 3 which extend downward to form an enclosure. A square bottom panel 4 is also formed from a thermosetting plastic is fastened to the bottom of the enclosure by screws 5 which extend upward into threaded openings in the side walls 3. The top of the playing surface is divided into 64 squares arranged to form eight columns and eight rows. The squares are defined by integrally formed parallel ridges 6 and they are alternately colored to form the well known checkered pattern. Each square is a position on the chessboard to which playing pieces can be moved.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3, each position on the chessboard includes a socket 7 which is formed by a pair of metal sleeves 8 that fit through openings in the playing surface 2. Each sleeve 8 is flared at its top and fits tightly within its opening. Each socket is connected to a source 9 of l 10 volt a-c current through a pair of conductive buses 10 and 11 which are enclosed beneath the playing surface 2 and which are soldered to the respective sleeves 8. The source 9 connects through a switch 12 to the primary winding on a stepdown transformer l3, and the buses 10 and 11 connect to the secondary winding on the transformer 13 which provides a 3-volt a-c current to each socket 7. The transformer I3 and switch 12 are mounted to one of the side walls 3 and are enclosed within the chessboard 1.

Referring particularly to FIG. 3, each playing piece is molded from a thermosetting plastic and includes a body 14 which is shaped on the outside to indicate the character of the playing piece. A cavity 15 is molded on the interior of each playing piece and a 3-volt light bulb I6 is mounted to the ceiling of the cavity 15 by a socket 17 which is molded in place. A pair of electrically conductive wires 18 connect to the socket l7 and extend downward to connect with a pair of metal pins 19 that extend through the bottom of the body 14. The wires 18 and pins l9 are molded into place and the pins 19 are spaced to fit within the sockets 7 on the chessboard I. A circular insert is removably retained to the bottom of the playing piece to fully enclose the light bulb l6 and as will be described in more detail hereinafter, one or more light openings 21 are formed in the insert 20. The bulb 16 can be colored to indicate the nature of the playing piece, or as in the present case, to indicate whether the playing piece is black or white.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 4 and 5, the pins 19 on each playing piece are off center and serve as a key which aligns the playing piece directly over a set of eight light transmitting stations that are arranged in a circular pattern on each position of the chessboard l. The pins 19 also electrically connect the bulb 16 to the buses 10 and H and when the switch 12 is closed, the bulb 16 in each playing piece is illuminated.

By properly aligning the light opening 21 on each playing piece over a selected light transmitting station 25, the playing piece is coded to indicate the particular set of moves which it can make from any position on the chessboard 1. As will be described in more detail hereinafter, each of the eight light transmitting stations 25 is connected to a selected set of other positions on the chessboard 1 by fiber optic tubes. Therefore. by aligning one or more light openings 2] on a particular playing piece directly over selected light transmitting stations 25, the bulb 16 in that playing piece emits light which is coupled to the positions on the chessboard l to which the playing piece can be moved. For example, a knight 26 shown in FIG. 4 has a single light opening 27 which aligns above a light transmitting station 28 when the knight 26 is plugged into one of the positions on the chessboard 1. On the other hand, a bishop 29 includes a pair of light openings 30 and 31 which align directly above a pair of selected light transmitting stations 32 and 33 when the bishop 29 is plugged into one of the positions on the chessboard 1. Light generated by the bulb 16 in the bishop 29 is directed on to the light transmitting stations 32 and 33, and this light is coupled to all positions on the chessboard 1 which lie on a diagonal with the bishop 29. Similarly, a queen 34 includes a set of four light openings 3538 which align directly over the light transmitting stations 32 and 33 and over an additional pair of light transmitting stations 39 and 40. The bulb 16 in the queen 34 directs light on to the light transmitting stations 32 and 33 to illuminate all positions on the chessboard l which lie on a diagonal with the queen 34, and the bulb l6 directs light downward on to the light transmitting stations 39 and 40 to illuminate all the positions on the chessboard l which lie in the same column and row as the queen 34. The other playing pieces are similarly coded to reflect the particular set of moves which they can make from any position on the chessboard 1.

As shown best in FIGS. 46, light is coupled from the light transmitting stations 25 to other positions on the :hessboard l by fiber optic tubes which are located Jeneath the playing surface 2 and within the enclosure :Iefined by the chessboard 1. More specifically, a bunile of fiber optic tubes 45 connect to each light transnitting station 25 and each fiber optic tube 45 in the Jundle connects with a light receiving station 46 at an )ther position on the chessboard 1. Thus by properly connecting the fiber optic tubes 45 in each bundle, the light which is directed onto their associated light transmitting station 25 is coupled to a selected set of positions on the chessboard Each light transmitting station 25 and light receiving station 46 is defined by an opening through the playing surface 2. The fiber optic tubes 45 are connected by inscrting one end of the fiber tube 45 into the opening from beneath the playing surface 2 and bonding it into place with a silicon adhesive 47 which is compatible with the fiber optic tube material. The end of the fiber optic tube 45 is then cut flush with the top of the playing surface 2 and is polished to improve light conduction.

Every position on the chessboard l is connected by fiber optic tubes 45 with every other position on the chessboard 1 from which a playing piece can exert control. Referring particularly to FIGS. 4 and 6, the receiving ends of the fiber optic tubes 45 are bundled to form nine light receiving stations 46 at each position on the chessboard 1. A set of four light receiving stations 50-53 are located in the upper left hand corner of each position on the chessboard l, and these connect with fiber optic tubes 45 which emanate from light transmitting stations on adjacent positions. For example, the light receiving station 50 on the upper left hand square receives a fiber optic tube 54 which emanates from the center square. Similarly, the light receiving station 51 on the upper right hand square is also coupled by a fiber optic tube to the center positionv The fiber optic tubes 54 and 55 are bundled together at a light transmitting station 56 and when a pawn of suitable "color is positioned on the center square, the light receiving stations 50 and 51 on the respective upper left hand and upper right hand squares are illuminated to indicate that the pawn exerts control over these positions. Similarly, another light transmitting station 57 at the center square is coupled by fiber optic tubes 58' and 58 to light receiving stations 50 and 51 on the respective lower left hand and lower right hand squares. A pawn of opposite color will illuminate these light receiving stations when plugged into the center position.

The light receiving stations 52 and 53 at each position on the chessboard 1 indicate control by a playing piece from an adjacent position in the same row or column. Referring again to FIG. 6, for example, the light receiving station 52 at the center square receives a fiber optic tube 60 which emanates from a light transmitting station 59 at the middle left hand square. The light receiving station 53 at the upper left hand position receives a fiber optic tube 61 which also emanates from the station 59 at the middle left hand square. When the king is plugged into the middle left hand square, for example, one of its light openings 21 is aligned over the light transmitting station 59 and the light receiving sta tions 53 at the upper and lower left hand squares and the light receiving station 52 at the center position are illuminated to indicate the kings control over them.

A fifth light receiving station 63 is formed at each position on the chessboard 1 and indicates control of the position by the knight 26. Referring again to FIG. 6, for example, the light receiving station 63 at the lower left hand square receives fiber optic tubes 64 and 65 which emanate from the upper middle and right hand middle squares on the chessboard l. The fiber optic tubes 64 and 65 connect with the light transmitting station 28 at each of these positions, and when the knight 26 is plugged into either one of them, the light receiving station 63 at the lower left hand square is illuminated.

Four additional light receiving stations 66-69 are located in each position on the chessboard 1 to indicate control of the position by playing pieces on the same diagonal, row or column. As shown best in H0. 6, for example, the light receiving station 66 at the upper right hand and middle right hand positions receive fiber optic tubes 70 and 71 from the light transmitting station 39 at the lower right hand position on the chessboard 1. The light receiving stations 66 thus indicate control by a playing piece such as a queen or rook located in the same column. Similarly, the light receiving stations 67 at the lower left hand and lower middle positions receive fiber optic tubes 72 and 73 which emanate from a light transmitting station 40 at the lower right hand position on the chessboard l. The light receiving stations 67 thus indicate control by a playing piece in the same row. The light receiving station 68 at the upper left hand and center positions on the chessboard 1 receive fiber optic tubes 74 and 75 which emanate from the light transmitting station 32 at the lower right hand position. The light receiving stations 68 thus indicate control of the position by a playing piece such as a bishop or queen located on the same left hand diagonal. Similarly, the light receiving stations 69 at the upper right hand and center positions on the chessboard 1 receive fiber optic tubes 76 and 77 which emanate from the light transmitting station 33 at the lower left hand position. Light receiving stations 69 thus indicate control of the position by a playing piece located on the same right hand diagonal.

The remaining light transmitting stations 25 and light receiving stations 46 on each of the 64 positions on the chessboard l are similarly interconnected with fiber optic tubes 45. When a playing piece is plugged into a socket 7 on one of the positions, its bulb 16 is energized and light is coupled to the positions to which it can move by a set of fiber optic tubes emanating from the light transmitting stations 25.

It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that a number of variations can be made in the above described game device without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, a light transmitting station can be provided at each position on the playing board for each distinctive type of playing piece rather than for each distinctive type of move as described above. Although such an alternative would reduce the number of light transmitting stations to seven at each position, the number of fiber optic tubes would be substantially increased. For example, the fiber optic tubes necessary to indicate the moves of a queen from any position on the chessboard 1 would be duplicative of the fiber optic tubes required to indicate the moves of a rook and bishop. Other arrangements of the light receiving stations at each position on the playing board are also possible. For example, a single light receiving station could be provided at each position to reduce the amount of labor required to assemble the structure. However, a single light receiving station would provide no indication of the direction or identity of the playing piece having control over the position and the educational benefits of such a structure would be substantially reduced over that described above. At the other extreme, a replica of the checkered playing surface may be provided at each position on the chessboard l and the light receiving stations may be arranged to indicate the exact position on the chessboard from which a playing piece exerts control. Also, the fiber optic tubes 45 can be bundled at each position on the chessboard 1 to form receiving stations which indicate the type of playing piece that exerts control. In the game device described herein, for example, the light receiving stations 63 at each position on the chessboard l indicate control by the knight 26, but provide no indication of the direction from which this control is exerted.

Furthermore, although the sets of fiber optic tubes which connect light transmitting stations with light receiving stations serve to indicate the positions to which a playing piece can be moved, other things can also be indicated. In the preferred embodiment described herein, for example, the sets of fiber optic tubes for the pawns indicate only the adjacent diagonal positions to which the pawns can move when capturing a piece. In the case of the rook, bishop and queen, the sets of fiber optic tubes indicate the positions to which these pieces can move only when there are no other playing pieces in their path. In a broader sense then, the sets of fibe optic tubes are connected to indicate the character of the playing piece which is positioned over their associated light transmitting station, not just the positions to which it can move.

There are thus many variations which can be made in the game device described herein without departing from the spirit of the present invention and reference is made to the following claims for interpreting the breadth of the invention.

1 claim:

1. In a game having playing pieces and a playing board which indicates a plurality of positions to which a set of playing pieces can be moved, the improvement therein comprising:

illuminator means mounted within each playing piece; light transmission stations formed on said playing board and located within indicated positions thereon to receive light from the illuminator means within a playing piece which is moved onto one of said indicated positions; light receiving stations formed on said playing board and located within said indicated positions; and

light conducting means connecting each light transmission station with a selected set of light receiving stations, each of said sets of selected light receiving stations indicating the character of a playing piece positioned on its associated light transmitting station.

2. The game as recited in claim 1 in which each of said sets of selected light receiving stations indicates the positions to which a playing piece positioned on its associated light transmitting station can be moved.

3. The game as recited in claim 2 in which there are a plurality of additional sets of playing pieces each of which sets of playing pieces has a distinct set of moves which can be made from any indicated position on said playing board, and in which there are additional light transmitting stations formed on said playing board and located within the indicated positions to receive light from the illuminating means within a playing piece within one of said additional sets, and in which each additional light transmitting station is connected to a selected set of additional light receiving stations by light conducting means.

4. The game as recited in claim 3 in which a socket is formed at each position on the playing board and each playing piece is keyed to plug into any one of said sockets such that the playing piece is directly over the light transmission stations on said one position.

5. The game as recited in claim 4 in which said illuminator means is a light bulb mounted within a cavity in each playing piece and the playing pieces in each of said sets is distinctly coded by a light opening in the bottom of the playing piece which is aligned over a selected light transmission station.

6. The game as recited in claim 1 in which the illuminator means is a light bulb, and in which sockets are provided at each position on the playing board to supply electricity to the light bulb in a playing piece which is moved onto any one of said positions.

7. The game as recited in claim 1 in which said light conducting means is a bundle of fiber optic tubes and each light transmission station is defined by an opening in the playing board into which a bundle of fiber optic tubes is inserted.

8. The game as recited in claim 7 in which one fiber optic tube in each bundle connects to one of said light receiving stations in said set associated with the light transmission station to which the bundle connects.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3579856 *Jul 22, 1968May 25, 1971Frederick L WayAuto-chess apparatus and punched card therefor
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4324405 *Mar 31, 1980Apr 13, 1982Product Dynamics, Ltd.Board games having variable game-piece-energized circuits
US4343609 *Apr 24, 1981Aug 10, 1982Cardinal David VChess instruction apparatus
US4369975 *Apr 30, 1980Jan 25, 1983Andrew TarcDisplay tile for electronic chess game
US4391447 *Nov 20, 1980Jul 5, 1983Raymond DudleyElectronic chess game
US5328187 *Mar 8, 1993Jul 12, 1994Marchi Laura S DeChess game apparatus
US5462281 *Jun 30, 1994Oct 31, 1995Gaito; Andre A.Electrified board game
US6213467Oct 20, 1999Apr 10, 2001Patricia L. AndrewsElectronic game board
US7677564Jul 31, 2007Mar 16, 2010Marc KrigerSudoku-type puzzle board game and method of play
US8568216 *Jan 27, 2006Oct 29, 2013Koninklijke Philips N.V.Pawn with triggerable sub parts
EP0063926A2 *Apr 22, 1982Nov 3, 1982David Victor CardinalChess instruction apparatus
WO1997013563A1 *Oct 10, 1996Apr 17, 1997Durand Assignees LtdGame board with light directing means
WO2007089671A2 *Jan 26, 2007Aug 9, 2007Marc KrigerBoard game and method of play
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/238, 434/128
International ClassificationA63F9/06, A63F3/02, G09B19/22
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2009/0637, A63F3/00697, A63F3/00643, G09B19/22
European ClassificationA63F3/00P, A63F3/00E, G09B19/22