06 September 2020

Square Off Chess Set

While I was developing my short list for this month's edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), I noticed a large number of similar items. The following screen capture shows the top six of those items.

The item in the top left is titled 'Square Off Grand Kingdom Chess Set Limited Edition Black Smart Automated AI'. It sold for US $553.80, 'Buy It Now'. Its title is a straightforward concatenation of the phrases used in its description:-

Square Off • Grand Kingdom Chess Set • Limited Edition • Black • Smart Automated AI Chess Board • Board Measures 24" x 19"

At the present time (it hasn't always been this way), eBay includes the shipping cost in its calculation of 'Top Items by Price', and I noticed a large number of auctions -- not just the Square Off items -- with the shipping cost reaching three digits. The 'Square Off Black' added $136.65 shipping, and the next two items in the image were:-

  • 'Square Off Grand Kingdom Chess Set. A Smart Automated Chess Board. BRAND NEW'; $362.05 + $119.08 shipping
  • 'Square Off Kingdom Chess Set. A Smart automated AI Chess Board'; $349.00 + $120.28 shipping

What exactly is this 'Square Off' set? Its web site, World's Smartest Chessboard | Square Off, lists four attributes...

  • Automated; ('your opponent’s piece moves on its own')
  • Connected; ('globally connected game-play')
  • Intelligent; ('20 levels of difficulty to challenge this chess set’s built-in AI')
  • Handcrafted; ('intricately carved pieces')

...and three contact addresses: two in India plus one in the USA. The 'Grand Kingdom Set' lists for US $469, and the 'Kingdom Set' for US $399, both with 'Free Shipping'. A note mentions that the engine is Stockfish 10.

Why the big interest on eBay? A blog connected to the web site has more articles on running a company than on playing chess. I suppose that eBay is a marketing tool to gain more widespread exposure. After all, it got my attention.

No comments: