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Best Chess App Out of These Three?

  • #1

    I'm a high school amateur of chess, probably still considered a beginner as I've only gotten back into it in the last couple months. Lately I've been toying with what Ive heard are some of the better apps available for the iPhone/iPod Touch 4g, looking to improve my game - Shredder, tChess Pro, and Stockfish.

    Shredder used to be my preference since it was the first one I got, but the other two are also grabbing at my attention. However, tChess seems to stomp me into the ground just at 500 Elo, and Shredder gives me unnaturally high ratings like 1300 when in real life I can barely beat a 9 year old at club chess. I want to like them all, but I'm wondering which would be best to mess with for a relative beginner. Any opinions, pros, or cons?


  • #2

    I have Stockfish and Shredder Lite on my iPad.  There are things I like about both of them.  Stockfish looks very nice and has a lot of useful features.  I agree with you about Shredder giving unrealistic strength ratings, but it seems like its play is a little more human-like than Stockfish.  Stockfish at its highest setting is much stronger than Shredder Lite(the dumbed down free version of Shredder.)  If I had to pick between the two, I'd keep Stockfish.  No experience with tChess Pro.


    Another app that I've just started using a few days ago is Chessimo.  I only have the free version of that, as well, but I'm really enjoying it.  It includes an engine(some version of Crafty) that seems to me to play a little more human-like than Stockfish.  As best as I can tell, Chessimo doesn't inflate your rating as much as Shredder does.  The Chessimo app comes with some training modules that would be very useful for a beginner.  Check out Chessimo if you don't already know about it.

  • #3

    I like Shredder (full version) as it packages thousands of tactics puzzles, plus in-game opening identification, in-game analysis, computer's playing style (solid-active-aggressive), ability to save games or email the moves, optional coach, and a bunch of interface options.  Primarily I like Shredder for its offline tactics puzzles.  It just feels like a more complete package.  If there are better ones, I'd definitely like to know :)

    However, if all you want is to practice tactics, there's also the app called "Chess Tactics", because it's an online app that gives you thousands of puzzles, plus the reasons for the solutions, as well as online discussions for a particular puzzle.  I have yet to see another app that supplies the reasons for solutions in plain english like it does on Chess Tactics, instead of relying on lines as proofs.  The problem with this app however, is sometimes I get a feeling that a given puzzle's solution was just plain wrong, or maybe that's just me not seeing it.

    tChess Pro is another good one, and is perhaps better if you like to input pgn databases of grandmaster games with its easier navigation, however don't expect annotations in this app or any other app for that matter.  Engine differences aside, feature-wise, it's pretty much everything Shredder (full) is but with pgn compatibility, and lack of offline tactics puzzles, which is why if I were to choose only one, it'd be Shredder.  

    I also play HIARCS (full) because its engine can go from 1000 elo if I want a confidence booster, to 2775, if I ever feel like getting a beat down from a faceless computer.

    The official chess.com app includes much of the video resources and tactics puzzles and learning positions of the website, but much of its content is restricted until you upgrade to a pay account.  Don't play the computer that comes with this app, as it's just not realistic.  However within the computer opponent options, that's where you'll find the "Learning Positions", oddly enough.

  • #4

    Thanks guys! I'd get the full versions of shredder or hiarcs if the holidays hadn't sucked me dry, so for now I have shredder lite and Stockfish. I did download Chessimo and while I haven't played a full-length serious game yet, I love it already and look forward to using it more! It may become a favorite. The exercises are particularly helpful and give good reasoning.

    I ended up kicking out tchess pro though, just since my Chess folder was starting to look a little messy.

  • #5

    I found this topic through google. Sorry for necroposting.

    I've been using the chess.com app to play against the computer, but someone here commented that it's not "realistic." What does that mean, exactly?

  • #6

    Is there an android-app that estimates your rating?

    I have an app that allows installing engines and supports Ponder (calculating during the players move).

    With Critter 1.6 it of course totally smashes me.

    Something that estimates your rating and adjusts it's strenght would be quite nice.

  • #7

    HIRACS plays very human like,.. But you need to be above 2100 to really get any benefit and you need to be able to sit down for 30+ minutes,..

    Shredder is from my experience able to replicate different 'human' levels,... I started it at 1850 and played matches of 20 10, then 1950, then 2050, then 2150, and then 2250,... 10 games alternating black and white,... I used a HIRACS opening book;  I cannot speak for anything over 2250, because I lost 4-6 / 3-7 / and have gone back to 2150 so I do not lose my self-respect,... 

    The opening book in HIRACS is superb and if you buy a subscription (yearly) you get updates every quarter,... The interface is excellent and the support is 100% and personal.  

    Shredder support is non-existent as are (Houdini, Fritz, and the various other free)  I have Houdini & Acquarium on another machine,...  Houdini and others are in Absolute terms Stronger than HIRACS but a lot of top GM's use HIRACS.

    I use the computer to run a check on my analysis to mainly point out tactical shots that I miss,... but if you are short on cash,.. Stockfish is excellent and is free and can be put on everything from Android to iPad Mini's,..i.e. OSx.

    I hope that is helpful.


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