App Saturday: Chess - Play & Learn

Chess had always been one those games where I knew what it looked like but I didn't know how to play it. Pixar's short film Geri's Game made it seem fun, while every version of Sherlock Holmes made sure to have the hero brood over the board game at least once. Chess.com's Chess - Play & Learn, has been helping me to play chess and enjoy it. The app's resources, which include news and live tournament feeds, has also gotten me excited to know about the chess world at large. 

Related: Offline Games for iPhone: 5 Fun Games That Don't Need Wi-Fi

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Chess - Play & Learn (Free)

 

What It Does

The Chess app helps people at any level learn something new, strengthen their skills, and get connected to chess players around the world. You can use the app without creating an account; but if you do, the the app will keep track of your scores and show your average rating. You can play against the app's computer, challenge another player, or join a tournament. I've only been playing against the computer, so I don't have any stats other than my highest rating for a game. For games against the computer, I can choose the difficulty level and toggle other options to help me learn as I play.

 

Why We Love It

I can never get bored with this app. It provides thousands of videos, lessons, and drills to improve my chess-playing skills. The sidebar has everything neatly categorized so I can explore what the app has to offer with ease. I can also customize the look of the app with different themes, which changes the color and style of both board and pieces. There's also the option to analyze the game I played—the app replays the moves with suggestions of what was good or weak. I have daily limits to how many videos or game reviews I can do with a free account, but there are also three subscription tiers I can pay to broaden my access in the app.

 

Worldwide Chess

The app has users from all over the globe. The ChessTV tab can show me someone screencasting the game they're playing in-app on the other side of the world and the Watch tab lets me view my choice of games or tournaments. The News and Articles tabs keep me up to date with almost everything chess related. The Forum tab is very active with users asking about strategy or discussing incorrect chess set-ups seen on films. It's a large and energetic community based around a game that's been played for hundreds of years.

If you've ever wanted to try chess, or could use some more competition, Chess - Play & Learn is the right move.

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Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.