Chess is a game I’ve played and enjoyed, but I can’t claim to have the best grasp on. I want to improve and play more, but reading manuals and tips can get dull – it’s more helpful to have live coaching, or watch someone play.
This is the goal of Chess Trainer, an app designed by DoggyBag. While I reviewed the free version, you can make an in-app purchase of $2.99, the description of which is a little vague. (The free version says it helps you “solve every type of problem,” while the paid version offers “more than 600 positions of every type and every difficulty.”)
It should be noted that this is not an app that teaches you how to play chess; some knowledge of basic moves is necessary, or you’ll likely end up frustrated. After tapping “Play,” a small countdown appears and your screen fills with a chess board, pieces already well in play. A five minute timer counts down, and you are only allowed a certain number of failed moves before the game is over regardless of time.
Once you’ve failed (at least, once I failed), the app shows you the proper moves, both spelled out at the bottom of the screen and by allowing to to see it on the board. Your ELO is tracked both during the game and in a graph you can view from the main menu to chart your improvement. You can also see how you compare to other users in the ranking section.
Again, this app is for those who are experienced with chess and are looking to improve. There is no actual guidance or tips during the session, and the solutions the app provides are not explained, but only showed. However, if that is the type of training you are looking for, I’d say the free version of Chess Trainer is worth a look.
Chess Trainer [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.