Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

DGT ECHO

The DGT Echo is a talking game clock manufactured by Digital Games Technology. Read the manufacturers page.

Batteries

The clock takes two AA batteries. The battery compartment is located on the underside of the clock towards the back and can be opened by squeezing the two tabs.

Sockets

There are three sockets on the chessclock. The two headphone sockets protrude from either side of the clock.The digital board connection is slightly recessed on the left side of the clock and more towards the front edge. Do not attempt to force the headphone plug into the digital socket.

Powering on and off

The power button is located on the underside of the clock in the front-left corner.

The clock makes no sound externally when it is powered on however, a message is spoken through the headphones.

Turning the clock off will effectively return the clock to the start of the game.

Choosing a preset program

The options for choosing a time control are presented when the clock is first powered on. They can only be reached in this way. Options 1 to 25 are preset and cannot be altered. Options 26 to 30 are called manual programs and can be altered. To choose a time control, do the following.

  1. Power on the clock.
  2. Use B or D to select a program.
  3. Press E to confirm the program.
  4. If the program is preset (1-25), the clock will immediately be ready for play.
  5. If the option is a manual program (26-30) and can be altered, pressing C will accept the program as it was last used and the clock will be ready for play.
Reusing a manual program

A previously set manual program can be quickly reused by doing the following.

  1. Power on the clock.
  2. Use B and D to select the program to be reused.
  3. Press E to confirm the option.
  4. Press C to accept all settings and make the clock ready for play.
Customising a program
  1. Power on the clock.
  2. Press B or D to select a program between 26 and 30.
  3. Press E to confirm the option.
  4. Pressing C at this point will accept the program as it was last used and the clock will be ready for play.

The clock will show a set of options for programming the time control. The screens will depend on which options are chosen but the following applies to all stages of programming.

  • A goes back to the previous option.
  • B decreases the current option.
  • C confirms all settings and the clock will be ready for play. This can be done at any time so it is not necessary to go through every option if only one needed to be changed.
  • D increases the current option.
  • E moves to the next option.

The options presented will depend on which timing method is chosen. The following are all of the options which might be offered.

  • Timing method
  • Time for left-hand clock
  • Time for right-hand clock
  • Extra time for left-hand clock
  • Extra time for right-hand clock
  • Moves
  • Sounds
  • Freeze
Choosing a type of period

If one of the manual programs (26-30) was chosen, the first task is to choose a timing method for the first period.

Period is the Echos name for each phase of the time control. EG: period 1 could be 30 moves in 75 minutes and period 2 all remaining moves in 20 minutes.

Period 1 can have different time limits for each player but following periods cannot.

The timing methods available are as follows.

  • Time: the clock counts down until reaching zero.
  • Fisher: a fixed increment is added to a players time after they make their move.
  • US Delay: the clock waits for a fixed amount of time before it starts counting down.
  • Delay: (known as Bronstein delay). The extra time is added to a players time as soon as their thinking time begins.
  • Byo-yomi: literally "counting the seconds". Used in Go and Shogi. A normal time period is followed by the Byo-yomi phase which is similar to sudden death. A player has a fixed amount of time in which to move. If they move in time the clock is reset to the fixed amount. If they do not move in time the clock will show a flag and the rules of the game will determine the outcome.
  • Canadian Byo-yomi: Similar to Byo-yomi except that a fixed number of moves must be played in each Byo-yomi period. The clock is reset to the fixed time if a player makes the required number of moves. When a player meets the time control they must reload the next period by pressing a button on the clock.
  • Upcount: used in scrabble. The clock counts down and then starts counting up again.

Briefly pressing buttons B and D move between the timing methods and button E selects the method.

Setting the time

After pressing E to select a timing method, the hours digit on the left-hand clock is highlighted.

Use B and D to change the digit and E to move to the next digit.

There are five digits on the clock: hours, tens of minutes, single minutes, tens of seconds and single seconds.

Pressing A moves back to the previous digit.

IMPORTANT: only briefly press the buttons. Holding down a button will quickly repeat its function. This will either rapidly change a setting or jump over digits and options. This will happen if a button is held down for roughly one second.

Pressing E to confirm the number of single seconds will move to the hours digit on the right-hand clock.

The right-hand clock is set in the same way as the left-hand clock.

Pressing E to confirm the single seconds on the right-hand clock will either go to the next period or the minutes digit of the increment.

Increments / bonus time

Noet: the Echo uses the term "extra time" to refer to increments or delays.

Setting the extra time works in the same way as setting the initial time and there are separate options for the left-hand and right-han clock.

The only difference is that the extra time only has digits for single minutes, tens of seconds and single seconds.

Moves

IMPORTANT: It is not possible to view or hear the number of moves at any time. The manual claims that holding D will show the number of moves but this refers to the DGT3000. On this model holding D lowers the right-hand volume.

Neither the DGT3000 nor the DGT Echo can be set to go to the next period when the required number of moves have been played. This is deliberate and the arbiters or players must decide if the move requirement has been met.

Moves can only be counted in periods that use Fisher time>

The moves options come immediately after setting the increment. There are three digits for hundreds, tens and units.

Pressing E on the untis digit will complete the period and the next option will be for the timing method in period 2.

Games with only one period

When all of the options for the first period have been set, the clock will present options for period 2. At this point, choose END in stead of a timing method. The clock will then go on to the sounds option.

Adding more periods

At the end of setting period 1 the options for period 2 will be shown. If only one time control is required, choosing "END" as the type of control will skip past options for further controls and go to the sounds screen.

Follow the instructions previously given to set the next period.

Note that only the first period allows for different times on the two clocks. In all other periods only one time can be set for both clocks.

Sounds

The option for sound is presented after choossing END to stop adding periods.

The only choice is to turn sound on or off. Turning sound on will make the clock play beeps towards the end of the time control.

Note: the quick guide says that this can be changed at any time by holding down button B but this refers to the DGT3000. On this model holding B raises the left-hand volume. For this reason the sounds option must be correctly set during the initial setup.

Freeze

The freeze option is presented after the sound option has been set.

Turning freeze on will cause the clock to stop as soon as either clock reaches zero in the final period. This ensures that the clock shows how much time the player who won on time has remaining.

When freeze is turned off the player who lost on time can still press the lever and cause the opponents clock to run down. In this case a flashing flag is shown next to the clock which ran down first. Note, there is no way to have this fact spoken.

Note: the quick guide says that the freeze setting can be changed by holding down E before the game starts but this refers to the DGT3000. On this model holding E will raise the right-hand volume. It is therefore necessary to correctly set the freeze option during the initial setup.

Note: at the time of writing, FIDE rules require that freeze is turned on when Fisher time is used.

Once the freeze option has been chosen, the clock wil be ready for play to begin. Note: the message spoken once programming is complete will announce which option is selected just as it does when C is pressed at any time during programming.

Playing a game
  • C starts or pauses the clock below the raised end of the lever.
  • Pressing A announces the left-hand clock to the left hand player.
  • Holding A lowers the left-hand volume.
  • Pressing B announces the right-hand clock to the left-hand player.
  • Holding B raises the left-hand volume.
  • Pressing D announces the left-hand clock to the right-hand player.
  • Holding D lowers the right-hand volume.
  • Pressing E announces the right-hand time to the right-hand player.
  • Holding E raises the right-hand volume.
Time correction

Time correction is use to adjust the clock during play. There is no voice feedback when correcting the time so this feature is not easily accessible but it can be accomplished with some concentration.

  1. Pause the clock by pressing C.
  2. Hold C until "time correction" is spoken. This will take at least three seconds.
  3. Use A and E to move between the digits.
  4. Use B and D to decremant or incremant the selected digit. EG: to add two minutes to the right clock, press E seven times (the right-hand single minute digit is the eight digit and the left-hand hours digit is already selected). Then press D twice.
  5. Holding E for several seconds will exit time correction.

Since the lack of speech feedback makes mistakes likely, it is recommended that the time is checked before restarting the clock.