Sunday, April 15, 2007

MonRoi - the future of recording chess moves?

Imagine having your game in an electronic format ready for review as soon as you are finished playing! No more lost games. Your games will be automatically saved for later analysis. With Personal Chess Manager you will stay connected with your family and friends wherever you are through live broadcast of each and every one of your moves during tournaments.

Personal Chess Manager uses pictorial symbol recording, allowing a user to record chess games, to review games instantly, and to upload and download chess games from a computer.

Easy to Use
USB enabled
Rechargeable battery
FIDE Certified
Fully secure


Have you ever seen a MonRoi device? Have you ever used a MonRoi device? If you have used one, what do you think about it?

Here is the MonRoi website and here is more information about MonRoi Women's Grand Prix.
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JB said...

I have one and it's awesome! All my friends use it. We love it!

Anonymous said...

It's so cool. 2 thumbs up for MonRoi.

Anonymous said...

Be careful. MonRoi claims a copyright for all game scores published on its web site, and if you sign up for that site one of the "terms" to which you are agreeing is their claim of copyright ownership.

Several prominent chess columnists are running into problems using games originally published by Monroi for this reason, and have had their columns rejected by newspaper legal departments.

Until now, unannotated scores of chess games have been universally treated as uncopyrightable. MonRoi is apparently trying to change this, in their own favor.

Anonymous said...

More lies from chess politicians to insult their sponsors. It's too bad people like Mr. Sloan and Schultz are allowing this. This shows that they're unfit to be reelected. MonRoi has no such claim.

HKN said...

I used scores from MonRoi to publish a game in my local chess newsletter. They have no problem with it. I credited them as the source for me to retrieve the moves. MonRoi is great!

Anonymous said...

4. Copyright
The WDC or any part of the WDC, namely and without limitation, the user interface, the software, the source code, the web-pages, the collection of archived chess matches, the information, the notes and all other data contained in the WDC, as well as all broadcasts made via the WDC are the exclusive property of MonRoi Inc., or where applicable, its affiliates and business partners. As such, all of the above-described information is protected by Copyright under Canadian Laws and International Conventions, and any use other than as expressly permitted in this License is strictly prohibited.

Where does it say about copyright of the moves?

Anonymous said...

Post from Boylston Chess Club Weblog

Anonymous said...

They are claiming copyright in the "collection of archived chess matches".

Anonymous said...

I prefer to write down my moves on paper!

Anonymous said...

here is how I view it.

Lets say ABC TV broadcasts a football game and copywrites it. well their broadcast of the game is copywrite but not the game score itself.

For example you can still make a list of all the plays of the game. That is not copywrite. But the actual TV images and the words by the broadcasters are copywrite.

Sort of the same thing here. They need to copywrite the actual broadcast but not the moves of the game pre se.

They do seem to want copywrite over the games collections. For example lets say they broadcast a lot of the olympiad games. and you want to bring out a CD of only those game which were broadcast by them and attribute and advertise it as such. Well you can not do that. However, you can make your own games collection from the olympiad and use the game scores from them but you would want it to be a different collection then the collection they put together. Or you would want to present them in a different way or different order.

I think someone above was correct. some person running for the EB caused a big panic on this topic at the uscf forums. It is all politics of attack against good chess people. Make sure you vote for Susan and her supporters. Big changes are needed at the USCF and Susan can do the job.

Anonymous said...

Chessbase charges 30 € / year to view chess games:

ICC charges $60 / year to view chess games:

Incidentally, to view games at Monroi I need to pay nothing.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting question is why GM Polgar is doing MonRoi commercials in her blog.

Is this part of giving chess tournament sponsors "good value"?

I guess that is fine as long as everybody knows about it, but it does rather undermine the independence and objectivity of the blog. Journalistic outlets generally try to keep the advertising and the editorial content separate and to label advertising as such if there is any room for doubt.

SusanPolgar said...

This is the typical way of how chess politicians operate. They attack and mislead the members about things they do not like.

I promote hundreds of individuals, products and websites, etc., all for FREE. My concept is to promote chess for the benefit of the entire chess community.

This is a product that is endorsed and approved by FIDE and the USCF. I merely ask for user's opinions. I do not sell or distribute MonRoi products. I saw it the first time in 2003 and I like it very much.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Sunday, April 15, 2007 12:29:00 PM

You are just jealous that Susan’s blog has 100 times better news then any other chess site. Maybe you should take care of your own “news”, quality is certainly poor and delayed (probably topics that would be interesting in the 19th century) when compared with Susan’s blog. Discussing games and new products which advance chess is certainly interesting for readers like me. I like it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Ms Polgar, but your post reads exactly like an ad, and doesn't come close to being an impartial review of a new product that you are merely introducing to your readers. Surely, you can tell the difference?

I think you should rethink just putting your blog at the disposal of various companies and chess organizations for their messages. Promoting chess doesn't require that.

In the case of MonRoi, there is quite a lot of controversy surrounding this product, which nobody would ever guess from reading your post.

Besides the copyright issue, there has been concern about the device being usable to cheat, for example. There have also been controversial rule-changes regarding scorekeeping which were made by the USCF in order to accomodate the MonRoi device.

All this controversy isn't just being trumped up by chess "politicians" just being evil for the fun of it, or to drive away chess sponsors. It seems like anytime someone commenting on this blog disagrees with you, he is accused of being some kind of in-league-with-Satan chess "politician" who could not possibly hold views contrary to yours in good faith. (Or else the comment is deleted.)

Regarding the MonRoi, in fairness to you, your behaviour isn't so different from almost all the other chess blogs and sites. It is almost impossible to find a balanced, impartial review of the MonRoi that doesn't read like a press release or ad from the company.

The USCF site is the worst. But, they have negotiated an "endorsement" of the MonRoi where they receive 1% of the US revenue for the product. Personally, I don't think non-profit organizations ought to be "endorsing" anything, and certainly not because they were paid off.

SusanPolgar said...

Many people do not know what a MonRoi device is. Therefore, I put a little explanation which was copied directly from their website. Then I let people discuss about their experience with the MonRoi device.

So far, it seems that the people who used it like it and the people who have not used it are afraid of it. MonRoi does not pay anything for my blog. I do not accept any paid ad for my blog. I discuss and promote anyone, any product or anything I feel is good or interesting for chess.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Anonymous said...

Susan is doing a good thing by publicizing MonRoi. Commercial related threads can be just as valid as any other. It always depends on the quality of the topic.

MonRoi-like devices are fantastic, something chess is starving for.
Before this century is out, it will become routine for ALL USCF rated chess games to be published, as digital PGN, on the web.

The vast majority of chess games played are at the club or class level. Yet I can find only about 300 digitized class level games. (One rare source is Tacoma Chess Club)
In contrast, at the moment I have access to millions of master -thru- grandmaster chess game scores, on DVD and the web.

Non-Analogy: "TV broadcasts of Major League Baseball games are common, but darn it NBC is not broadcasting enuf high school baseball."
The baseball analogy would apply only to other analog sports, but chess is a digital sport.
As just one for instance (of why the baseball analogy fails) -- Walk around any club tournament a couple hours after the round began, and you will find oodles of interesting or challenging endgame positions.
Another for instance is -- As a club player, I am interested to study the games of the opponents I will likely face in my rating brackett. Kramnik can do this for his opponents. But my opponents' games are not digitized.


Someone recently wrote that the MonRoi device has a chess engine, but that it is precluded when the device is set into tournament game mode (or whatever it is called). The talk went on to say roughly "No problem, the T.D. can inspect your setting on your MonRoi, and can determine that you have it set in tournament game mode, so you could not cheat with it during the game."
Might be Unacceptable if True, because...

T.D.'s ain't got time to be inspectin' everyone's brand of electronic recording device, at that level of detail. Keep it simple and unambiguous. Heck, most T.D.'s cannot even set the time on the ill-designed Chronos chess clock.

The MonRoi movement will suffer mightily if these devices are associated with cheating.

The biggest problem with MonRoi is its high price. MonRoi company needs to recoup its costs, and to make a profit, but the price is just too high.


P.S. I would encourage that blog contributors not feed anonymous posters who make unwarranted statements, like "MonRoi claims copyrights to the moves of chess games recorded with their device." MonRoi makes no such claim, nor could they.

Jack Le Moine said...

There is a number of things to say:

1) This was discussed on the USCF Forums. There was concerns about the US Championship. Paul Truong came on and asked for further information about people's concerns. He stated that he would handle it with one phone call to Mon Roi's management. A little while later, he came back on and announced that it was done. Several USCF leaders thanked him for taking care of the matter.

2) On advertising: as long as Susan has a strict policy and adheres to it, I see no problem. The blog problem in general is that there is so many commercial things: selling books; google ads; there's even a program where people post things and then get paid for their posts behind the scenes. I don't have any problem with advertising (I do it myself) as long as it is clearly labeled as such.

3) At my last tournament, a kid using a MonRoi started using it as some kind of gaming device and couldn't get it to go back to score sheet mode. The TD was puzzled as to what do about this. I think he had to record the rest of the game on paper. Couldn't figure out what had happenned.

Paris said...

what sort of world would it be, where people aren't even allowed to admit if they like something??

Also I think the opinions of chess professionals is really important with this sort of thing. I don't want to buy it if it is just an offering, or even a fad. But if I know the right people like it so it will be around a long time, then it is time to at least examine it and decide.

I am sure when digital chess clocks came out, there were many club players wanting to hear endorsements from GMs before investing in one.

Steve Owens said...

SusanPolgar said...

This is the typical way of how chess politicians operate. They attack and mislead the members about things they do not like.

I would appreciate a list of the chess politicians that GM Polgar thinks have done so on this topic.

SusanPolgar said...


At least 2 of the current board members have done it. It is a problem that I want to change if I am elected.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Anonymous said...

This is ron from Albuquerque.

At last year's National Open, a couple of my opponents used the device (I believe several were available for use on the upper boards). The late GM Wojtkiewicz clearly preferred MonRoi instead of writing down his moves. FM Eric Schiller was more cautious, using MonRoi while also writing down on paper (the time controls were slow enough to permit this). (My interpretation was that perhaps he was suspicious but willing to give it a try.)

The present design of the MonRoi makes it also a portable chess set. A slight design change would be to have the chess diagram always be blank - so that it is only a scoresheet. Would this be so bad? Would it be desired?

BTW, I run the scholastic chess leagues (HS,MS &K-5) in Albuquerque. I am perhaps one of the few who is in favor of the rule change USCF 15A (move before writing) - I don't believe it is solely connected with the MonRoi device. In fact, the new rule resulted in quite useful discussions since various coaches had incorrect ideas about what was allowed or not in way of writing notes to yourself on your scoresheet (i.e. many seemed unaware of existing rule USCF 20C - use of notes prohibited). Obviously it is hard to run a fair event if coaches teach kids different rules (writing down analysis, mnemonics for analysis, --- scary stuff!). While not everyone is happy, we are using the new rule USCF 15A (move before writing) and I am more convinced than ever it is a good idea.

-ron (Albuquerque)

Blue Devil Knight said...

How long before someone hacks it and uses it to cheat? This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

I used a MonRoi device at the Kings Island Open in 2006 and enjoyed it very much. Not only is it a relatively easy method of entering moves with no potential for ambiguous move notation, but the live broadcast option allows friends and family to follow along with your games at home. I recieved congratulation messages from my wife (left at home) after my wins, and consolation when I lost.

The MonRoi representative was very professional.

I intend to buy one of the devices as soon as they come down a bit in price. Right now they're just a bit too expensive. I would pay $100, however.

Brad Hoehne

Anonymous said...

You have to move first and then record, right? I like the other way around!

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed to see so many ignorant comments from people who has never used this device.

SusanPolgar said...

Anon, this is my blog. I do not charge a penny for any product, tournament listing or any service on my blog. Don't come to my blog as an anonymous poster then insult me. MonRoi did not ask me to post this.

They did not pay me to post this. I am glad to endorse their Grand Prix program. I also like their products. I had seen their original prototype. Then I saw their improvement in the past few years.

I also see the incredible benefits for thousands of kids who play in national events where there parents are excluded from the tournament hall. With the MonRoi device, they can follow their children's progress in their hotel room or at home.

Yes, your post will be deleted each time. It's false and obnoxious.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Anonymous said...

it would be so easy to fake a PDA to look like a monroi. How can we be sure a player is not secretely using computer help while usinh such devices?
I think it is fooloishness to encourage such devices.

Anonymous said...

You can't fake it if you've seen it. They have unique colors and large visible embrossed logo on it.

SusanPolgar said...

Again, please read what I write very carefully before you start to insult me and have your posts deleted.

This is what I posted:

"Have you ever seen a MonRoi device? Have you ever used a MonRoi device? If you have used one, what do you think about it?"

I simply ask for the opinions of the people who have used this product. I have asked thousands of questions on my blog and allow people to express their opinions. I did not ask about the copyright issue. I did not ask the people who has never used this product. I did not offer my opinion one way or another.

You ignored what I posted and posted more insults and lies. That is why your post was deleted, again.

This is MY blog. It is not a place for you to come and attack people or companies anonymously. If you do not like my policy, you do not have to post.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Jonathan said...

As a chess columnist, the copyright issue has long been of concern to me. I have never clicked through the MonRoi copyright agreement. I might have run a game that happens to be in the MonRoi database, but if I did, I obtained it from another source.

In my limited experience, Canadian lawyers seem to write impossible user agreements. I had run into that earlier at my ISP, and also at the currency / money transfer site I gritted my teeth and signed on with my ISP, but said no to xetrade and MonRoi. It could be that MonRoi has entirely benign intentions, but it seems that the highly-paid lawyers of the NY Times have erred on the side of caution. Why should I think that I am smarter than they are?

I am very glad that Susan has mentioned MonRoi, immediately clicked for the Comments, and have found interesting followup, including the Boylston Chess Club blog article. Susan's weblog is sui generis, the best at what it does, and I have only praise for her.

Turba said...

By the way, I am searching for a palm or similar, to play and analyse chess games - with ELO 2200 at least. ( actually,i need more to play games that analyse ) If someone have a sugestion, where I get a good one, a site, etc,I will be gratefull. The product has to be delivered far from USA, in south of Brazil. I have seen some of these pocket eletronic chess, but not of them is the ideal for my needs until now.
Susan, I appreciate if you consent I use space in your blog for this kind of help.

Anonymous said...

It's fine for Susan to post these press releases but it was not obvious from the beginning that Susan did not write the thing herself and was not endorsing the product. I'd request that when Susan republishes this type of announcement, that she clearly say at the very beginning that it came from the company and not directly from her. She usually does that with news articles so I think it's just an accident that this post was confusing.

I agree with the concerns about copyright and I wouldn't want to contribute to a Monroi-copyrighted game collection by using Monroi equipment, unless Monroi was actually paying me.

Anonymous said...

Well, you may be contributing to the Chessbase game collection, which costs $162 + VAT, without using the Monro equipment. And is Chessbase paying you? Is Chessbase paying any player or organizer? Monroi is not charging for games, nor to view those games.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Chessbase compiles collections of games, as do several other sources. However, nobody but Monroi claims copyrights in anything except game *annotations*. People publish games that they obtained from ChessBase all the time, and nobody at Chessbase has ever made an issue of this.

Monroi claiming a copyright in the collection of games on its website and requiring people registering on their web site or using their device to agree to MonRoi's copyright claims are facts. MonRoi and its advocates can say now that this is a "non-issue" -- that it is being trumped up by chess politicians who don't like them, but the New York Times Legal Department thought MonRoi's claims were a problem and blocked the publication of chess columns by Dondis and Dann because the columns included a game collected by MonRoi. And the NY Times is not made up of chess "politicians" who render legal opinions on the basis of chess politics or to make trouble for MonRoi.

Hayri said...

Susan, we believe that you are not paid by Monroi.

But, another point is that let's think MonRoi paid you and you mentioned their products in this blog so what?

Is this something to be shamed? No surely. What is the problem with this? Noone can blame someone to get money for an advirtesement, especially if the advertised product is not a fake thing. I don't have MonRoi product and probably I will have not, because I am only an amateur chess follower. But product seems well enough for club players.

Anonymous said...

The issue here isn't whether Susan is taking money from MonRoi. If she is, it would be better if she said so, and nobody could object. It would be good if advertising were separated from editorial content, but that is hazy on many blogs and web sites, and Susan shouldn't be held to higher standard than any other blog.

Be that is it may, I think everybody takes Susan's word for it when she says she isn't getting anything from MonRoi, that her post wasn't advertising, and that she is just trying to promote something she thinks is good.

But the problem is that, rah-rah cheerleading for everybody who does anything for chess isn't smart. Susan has a tendency to dismiss any criticism of anything she promotes as, at least, "negative", and, at worst, as the machinations of evil "chess politicians" who have no ideas of their own and only try to tear down chess. You can see that right in this thread.

A lot of people don't want rah-rah cheerleading from Susan or any chess leader. We are sick of that, and we look to Susan to change that tone. She keeps disappointing people by getting up to the same antics that we are tired of.

There are actually issues in the chess world on which people disagree in good faith. We want calm discussion of those issues, with respect for people between who disagree.

As Susan knows perfectly well, MonRoi and its device is one of the things on which there is disagreement.

It may be that people who have concerns about the MonRoi device are wrong. But their concerns should be *discussed* -- not just dismissed as the demented ravings of drooling devils (i.e. chess politicians).

Anonymous said...

Regarding "Be careful. MonRoi claims a copyright for all game scores published on its web site, and if you sign up for that site one of the "terms" to which you are agreeing is their claim of copyright ownership."

I was under the impression, when I read the terms and talked with president of Monroi president Brana (last name too difficult to type) that MoiRoi simply had exclusive rights to the live broadcast of games. The games themselves are often published elsewhere- many of the the Foxwoods games, for instance, are freely available on

Here's the boilerplate from the MoinRoi site, which is, of necessity, very specific:

" This disclaimer does not pertain to individual game copyrights, which are non-copyrighted materials. It however strictly prohibits re-broadcasting of chess matches. Using content for the purposes of selling or charging a user fee is strictly prohibited. Media, chess players, organizers and spectators are legally permitted to download a PGN file from the MonRoi World Databank of Chess for purposes of printing and reviewing the game and publishing chess articles. We kindly ask media to include source. "

... so basically what they're saying is "Don't broadcast LIVE the stuff that we're broadcasting. The games themselves are 'uncopywritable' as are all chess games. If you take the PDF article that we provide on our website, kindly give us credit." My impression is that this is entirely reasonable, given that the MonRoi corp is providing the servers by whcih to broadcast the data. (I would expect that they would welcome 'formal' requests to re-broadcast the moves of games for some of the more noted tournmanets.)

If my impressions are misguided, I'd love to know. Anonymous of 11:48's claims are interesting, though I think it would require some specific information to render them something other than Hearsay.

Brad Hoehne

Anonymous said...

Well those terms are not as innocuous as you are making out. Here is the situation:

(1) MonRoi is selling a $400 device that allows the real-time recording of games.

(2) They are also selling tournament organizers on a wireless system to which the personal devices transmit the games from a tournament. The scores end up on the MonRoi website.

(3) Organizers who do that will probably *not* be collecting scoresheets and making the game scores available through any other means. For one thing, there won't be any scoresheets for them to collect. It might not even be possible for journalists physically present in the venue to get the moves, other than from the MonRoi web servers. It is possible, even likely, that the MonRoi website will be the only source of game scores.

(4) People are expected to agree to MonRoi's terms in order to gain access to game scores (or to use their devices). Those terms give permission to publish a game score in a journalistic review or article or to use it to follow or replay a game. *BUT* they prohibit use of the score to provide a real-time ("live") report of the game, or to use the game in a commercially-sold collection of games. This cuts out Chessbase, ICC, and everybody else which currently publishes chess scores, in the form of "live" reports or on DVD's.

I don't like any of that, and I am very concerned about MonRoi doing deals with chess federations like FIDE and USCF essentially to gain ownership of chess scores.

Am I going to be able to follow the US Championships "live" on ICC, for example, given that MonRoi has done a deal with the organizers and players are going to be compelled to use the MonRoi device? My read of all this is that the answer is NO.

I think it is outrageous that USCF and FIDE are doing backroom deals that essentially give control of game scores to a single commercial company.

Anonymous said...

In the interest of free and fair trade, if FIDE/USCF starts allowing these devices, they should also permit similar devices from other manufacturers. After this, there will be pure chaos (cheating will become easy).

Anonymous said...

It may be that being able to control "live" game scores would lead to a source of revenue for tournaments.

There is apparently an audience for them, as shown by the success of programs like ICC's "" and various internet radio shows provided by Chessbase.

Right now, ICC and Chessbase get some members and revenue on the strength of these "live" features, but none of that money flows to tournament organizers or, more importantly, to the players.

I don't think it is necessarily bad that distribution of live scores should generate revenue for people. But if there is economic value to the creation of a chess game that draws an audience, that value should flow, at least in part to the players.

I don't see any reason whatsoever that the company that is merely providing the hardware should control the scores. Organizers and players should definitely not let MonRoi gain control of score distribution, and FIDE and USCF shouldn't be doing sleazy deals against the interests of chess players (and other chess publishers) to give one company control of score distribution.

As someone who has done broadcasts and live blogging of elite tournament games, and as a Grandmaster herself, Susan should think a little more deeply about what she is promoting.

ejhuerta said...

To "Ron from Albuquerque",

Can you please contact me? I would like to send you a flyer for the US Amateur West in Tucson, AZ on Memorial Day weekend.

maxoftat (at)

- Enrique

Turba said...

Nobody answered my ask. :(
But yesterday I saw that there is a "Pocket Fritz" in a site. Its exactly what I looking for.

Turba said...

Hiarcs has a pocket chess too

Anonymous said...

MonRoi for sale, pretty cheap!

Anonymous said...

The Monroi is a very expensive notation device, my kids have 2 of them. Having the game notation done correctly with a time stamp of the moves, allow you tell if they are playing to fast.

Anonymous said...

I have seen MonRoi's Personal Chess Recorder and it seems like an excellent device. I am very interested in the playback machine and downloading to my computer for post game analysis.

I understand USCF need to control the capability to “tamper” with the software but I am little concerned about the pricing. I understand that MonRoi are entitled to profit from their invention but I believe if you want most people to use these devices then prices must come down. Are there are any competitive devices?

Even if it is a device that can be used after the game outside but it must be hand-held. I have even looked into buying a cheap new pC $450 and loading software on that.

If anyone reading this knows of any devices that are similar to this product - PDA sized chess recording device – I would be very interested in hearing about it via email at

atreides said...

I have a question.
I am considering to buy Monroi PCM but not sure. Monroi requires to you sign and accept service agreement. Do you know what kind of agreement is that? Membership, monthly fee or annual fee to pay? I just want the device itself not to use as tournament director just regular user. I am trying to find info online but nothing to mention what kind of agreement is and their certificate software expires and Internet Explorer is blocking me to see and read the agreement. If you could help I will be grateful, Eduardo.