Chess With Friends from Newtoyinc is a simple free application that does exactly what you want it to do and does it well.
The object is simple – you want to play chess with your fellow iPhone or iPod touch owners and this is the application that lets you do it.
After downloading from the app store you will need to set up an account with Newtoy so that you can start beating (or losing to) your friends at chess.
Once the account is set up, starting a game is as simple as selecting someone from your contact list from within the app. The familiar site of the chess board will then spring up before you ready for you to make your move. Naturally, as the starter of the game, you will be playing as white and after you’ve made your move, it’s over to your friend to make theirs.
Opening the app on their iPhone or iPod touch will present them with a screen telling them they have a move to make. They simply select that game, accept the challenge and make their move – it’s that easy! They can of course select a friend from their contact list to play against in a different game at the same time as playing you. From here on in this is how the game is played, back and forth until checkmate.
To move a piece within the game, you select it by tapping with your finger. Once selected, the available squares for that piece will then be highlighted for those new to the game. All standard rules are obeyed as they should be for castleing etc, although I haven’t tried en poissant out yet! Of course, if you’re nearing the end of a game and it looks like it could go on forever, or if you’re being totally outplayed, there’s a little option at the bottom right to end the game either by resigning or offering your opponent a draw.
It’s all pretty straight forward, but what really makes this app an essential is the extras, where the developer has gone that little bit further. One great feature I use quite a lot is the ability to chat with whoever your opponent is. Just tap the chat button top right and a little window similar to the SMS app opens for you to chat away. When you’re done tap the board button to go back and make your move. I always have at least a couple of matches on the go every day so it’s nice to be able to chat with my friends within the app rather than using up my SMS allowance!
The other great feature is the ability to be notified by email when your opponent has made their move. Just go to the account settings from the main page and enter your email address. Those of you lucky (or unlucky!) enough to be on AT&T can also set up to receive an SMS.
If you’re at home or with friends and don’t have a chess board, you can set up a game with other iPhone users. No more passing your phone back and forward to play a game. The moves are sent to your opponent almost instantly and what’s more, you can see two big eyeballs in the top right to signify that they’re looking at the chess board at the same time as you!
Overall, if you want to play chess with your friends, or even a randomly selected opponent you’ve never met, download Chess with friends. It’s simple to use, looks good and has great little extras. What’s more it’s free!
Chess With Friends requires the 2.1 software update and is compatible with both the iPhone & iPod Touch.