The Best Android Apps For Chess

The Best Android Apps For Chess

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
Feb 15, 2014, 6:01 PM |
65

NOTE: Hello all Due to the popularity of this particular post, I have decided to update it regularly(ish) so as to keep it a current resource. Mostly, I will add new and excellent apps as I am aware of them. I will indicate the most recent additions via the (NEW) tag. If you have a suggestion, please message me or mention the app in the comments, and I will give it a shot.

I recently enjoyed reading Jeremy Silman's Chess Life Online article on his favorite chess apps (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12291/719/). However, as IM Silman notes in the first sentence, the article is exclusively about apps for Apple products. As an Android user and fan, I wondered if there was a comparable write-up on Android apps. After a little searching, I did find a few articles, but they were a bit dated, and they didn't include some of my personal favorite apps; so I decided to write an article for the Android fans out there. I have played with many of the popular android apps that are available, but I am sure I am missing some so please include them in the comments!

NOTE: I currently use a Nexus 5X and a Pixel C, both of which are running the latest versions of Android 7.0. Your experience with different devices and Android versions may vary.

Chess Servers

Chess.com - What is there to say? Clearly, I'm a huge fan of what we do on Chess.com as I've been playing, writing, and now working on Chess.com for years  The app allows you to easily play live and daily chess, to solve puzzles, to watch videos, read news, etc. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it is the most complete chess app out there. It's almost as richly featured as the site is, and new features like engine analysis are making it even better! Price: FREE

Chess at ICC - ICC is the grandfather of internet chess. There are many GMs on regularly, and the app works well. The app also includes great features like access to puzzles, a full featured console, pgn viewer and more. Price: FREE

Playchess.com - Admittedly, I have limited experience with playchess because it is tied to Chessbase products which don't work on LINUX (my preferred OS). However, it is by all accounts an excellent server with many strong players, and the app, like all chessbase products, is very well done. Price: FREE

Chess24 - Chess24 is the newest server on the web, but it is clearly a very innovative and well thought out venture with big aspirations. You can play live games, solve tactics, watch videos, and follow live tournament coverage. The android app is well-designed, and it allows much of the functionality that is available online. Price: FREE

ChessKid (NEW) - Our site for kids is an amazing way for kids to play and learn, with puzzles, games, videos, and lessons. It's all the same technology on Chess.com, but in a kid-friendly presentation. If you have a child or student who plays chess, you should definitely get them on it Price: FREE

Your Move (NEW) - For those of you who are serious correspondence players, Your Move is the perfect way to tap into correspondence sites like ICCF on the go. Price: 1.99

Engines

Analyze This - Analyze This is a very nice engine app. It includes Stockfish and Critter (other engines are installable) in a very appealing and smooth interface. There is both a free version and a pro version available. The pro version includes additional power features such as the ability to add annotations and comments. It is my go to app when I want to seriously analyze a game on mobile. Price: 4.99 to go pro

Komodo 10 - Currently, the world's most highly rated chess engine, Komodo 10 will make mincemeat of even super-grandmasters. Personally, I find it the most positionally savvy of the engines; that makes its evaluations more human readable and instructive. Note that this is only the engine, you have to connect it to a GUI like Analyze This. Price: 4.99

Droidfish - This is a solid port of the stockfish engine to Android. It is a very powerful, free engine. While it may not have the prettiest interface, it works very well and is quite full featured. Price: FREE

Shredder - Shredder has a very nice interface, but it lacks many of the features available in Stockfish. It is also more expensive, and I have found it buggier Frown Price: 7.99

Chess PGN Master - I'm not sure the name describes the app well, but Chess PGN Master is a wonderful PGN viewer and editor with Stockfish included. If you are a power PGN user, this app is great. If not, it is still a very good interface for working with Stockfish. Price: FREE

Databases

Scid on the go - This app is a personal favorite. You can add any SCID formatted database into the scid folder and load it into the program. You can then easily search the database on your phone. SCID on the go also allows you to load engines in so you can combine your database and engine fix in one single app! Price: Free

Chessbase Online - If you want access to a 5,000,000+ game database on the go, Chessbase Online is the way to go. The app has a great UI and (a huge advantage over SCID) the ability to view the database "tree". However, the last time I checked, you cannot load your own databases. I personally prefer SCID because I can use my own database of Elo-2400+ games. Price: 10.49

Tactics

iChess - The puzzles can be a bit basic, but this app has a great interface and a great business model. It comes with a few tactics packages, but you can expand it by purchasing further thematic tactics packages for 99 cents. It's both a great way for you to get fresh puzzles and for the developer to keep adding content. Price: Free

CT-Art 4.0 (NEW) - The android version of the legendary chess tactics training course, CT-Art. It's packed with all the thematic puzzle goodness for which the course is legendary. I HIGHLY recommend this app if your tactics are weak. The thematic training cannot be beat. Price: Free to try, 7.99 to unlock

Chess Clocks

Chess.com Clock - Chess.com's clock app release is IMO excellent. The app has presets, delays and increments, and an excellent UI. Price: Free

Chess Clock Deluxe - This UI is so great, and the UI makes very good use of haptic feedback so you know that you pressed the clock. It is basically two HUGE but aesthetic buttons. Price: 0.99

Real Chess Clock - This is an interesting little clock. It works well, but I don't like the UI as much as my other recommendations. It does however have a very nifty statistics feature that lets you see exactly how you are using your time—a great feature to try in a training game! Price: Free

Miscellaneous

Chess Book Study - This app is AMAZING. The app allows you to load in any chess book in pdf or epub format and play through the material with a split screen chess board. Not many people have pdf or epub chess books (and I'm not encouraging pirating them!), but if you do, this is a must-have app. I manually scanned all of my books (chess and otherwise) to PDFs some years ago so I have a huge PDF chess book library. I recently read Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games" for the first time this way, and it was a wonderful experience. Price: 3.99 for the pro version

Chessfimee (NEW) - This is a new OCR scanner for chess diagrams. It has some really nice features like cloud analysis and convenient positions storage as well as a sharp UI. I've not done enough tests to see if it is as accurate as ChessOCR, but it's quite promising. Price: FREE

ChessOcr - You HAVE to try this app out! This app is super specialized, but when you need it, it's a godsend. ChessOcr allows you to use your phone to scan a chess diagram (book or computer screen) and import it into one of your other chess programs for saving or analysis. It is remarkably accurate and only takes seconds. I use it regularly to validate analysis in the books I am reading. PRICE: 1.49 for the Pro Key

Chess 960 Generator - This app fulfills a very specific need. The app generates random Chess960 (Fischer Random) starting positions so you can play Fischer Random easily offline. You may not need it often, but if you feel like some Chess960 at the club, you will be glad you had this. Price: FREE

Follow Chess - This fantastic app allows you to follow lots of major supertournaments live. The app is currently broadcasting six major tournaments including the Dutch Championship and the European Women's championship, and support was just added to easily view all previous rounds of a tournament. The UI is gorgeous and unique, and the games can easily be passed over to Analyze This for engine analysis. I can't imagine why any chess player wouldn't absolutely love to have this in their pocket. Price: 1.49 to remove ads

Forward Chess - Forward Chess is a very impressive chess ebook app. The app comes with several ebook samples and provides access to a store from which one can download many more books. The developers seem to be expanding the store rapidly. As you are reading through the book, you will come across chess moves and you need only tap the move to pull up a half screen chess board. to play through the game as you read. Engine analysis is included as well! It is absolutely the most perfect way to read a chess book on the go. My only concern is that the books are protected so I can only use them in the app. If the app should someday stop being supported or the company were to go bankrupt, I would lose access to the purchased books Cry Price: FREE 

Chess Tournament - This is a nice simple app for running Swiss System or Round Robin tournaments on a mobile device. Currently, the app is missing some major features such as support for Elo seeding and adherence with USCF or FIDE pairing algorithms. Still, the app might be just the thing you are looking for to run an unrated tournament at your local club or school. Price: 1.96 to go pro