Report from game one just in: human makes few embarrassingly sloppy opening moves, gets humiliated by STM32. Epic struggle of human vs machine continues. Chess fans from the embedded community – help needed.


Can you checkmate an ARM® Cortex®-M4 MCU?

For moviegoers in 1968, it was pure science fiction to see Astronaut Frank Poole play chess against HAL 9000 in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Frank also moved pieces with spoken commands – “anyway, Queen takes pawn” was his final losing move.

Three decades later, in 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue beat Kasparov in a controversial and tightly contested match.

Today, world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen (ELO chess rating 2877) wouldn’t stand a chance against Stockfish or Houdini, the two most powerful chess engines (both rated above ELO 3200).

The best among us are no longer able to compete against computers that rely on 32 processor cores and 256 GB of RAM like the Houdini chess engine does. How about the amateurs then? Can we still win against microcontrollers?

The chess shown here is based on the Fairy-Max engine. It runs on mikromedia plus for STM32. The STM32F407ZGTG 32-bit ARM® Cortex®-M4 MCU operates at 168MHz, has 192x8KB of RAM, and a maximum program size of 1MB. It uses no external memory. The code is up on Libstock. We challenge you to beat it in a blitz game.

Our chief of software can do it fairly consistently. Our copywriter (yours truly), not so much (I’m prone to blundering which the MCU quickly exploits). How well will you fare?

To make it easier for you to skim a book on chess openings while playing against your mikromedia, we enabled the game to work on speech recognition with SpeakUp click. Which brings us to another point:


Enhancing touch screen interface with speech recognition

This is not just about chess but a demonstration on how you can effectively use the SpeakUp with mikromedia to enhance your touchscreen user interface with speech recognition. Sometimes your hands are busy, other times the environment is too noisy.

If you’re interested in designing a visual interface with speech recognition, you have three possibilities to choose from:

SpeakUp & mikromedia plus for STM32 (offered as a bundle for $239, shield and wire jumpers included)
– SpeakUp & mikromedia for STM32 M3 (this mikromedia is on sale for $79, regular price $99)
SpeakUp & SmartGLCD (offered as a bundle for $124, regular price $138)

These discounts last only while the supplies of current stock last. SmartGLCDs and mikromedias are up for grabs like hanging pawns, and it’s your move.

Yours sincerely,

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