USB gadgets were huge in 2006, whether you looked on gadget sites like Firebox and Iwantoneofthose, or in high-street shops like Argos. US firm Dream Link targets all of those retailers, and had a new gadget on show at CES.
The roll-up chess set connects to your PC, and has sensors in each of the board squares which let the companion application know what pieces you’re moving where. You can play against the computer, and it records your game and gives hints on demand. Or you can just play a friend, and have the program record it for posterity.
You get a warning sound if you try to make an illegal move, but the coolest feature is an online multiplayer mode, although I didn’t get to see how you get matched up with other users. In the US, the set costs $35-40. So far, Argos is the only UK retailer that’s committed to selling it, in either the Spring or Summer.