Hello, good evening and welcome ……
… to my geeky chess-related blog. It seems ‘geeks’ are almost cool now so maybe I don’t need to apologize for the moniker, but hand-in-hand with ‘chess’ the title ‘geekchess’ may conjure up some unfortunate stereotypes. Fear not, I am human, and whilst
perhaps not über-cool I’m certainly a rounded individual with at least a modicum of dress sense (there is another reason for use of the word geek which is related to my name, see more in ‘about’).
Technology and chess are by no means the only interests in my life, but chess software from a user’s perspective is an area in which I have garnered some knowledge and having explored the chess options on various gadgets I thought it would be fun to share my views. Chess players are relatively spoilt these days; for quite a while now personal computers have given access to Grandmaster-rated opponents, extensive databases, learning tools and online play. As I have recently been using various chess software offerings on several mobile platforms I thought this would be a good place to start, but I never stick to one subject for too long so in time I hope to cover lots of other ‘geekchess’ stuff. For one thing, like much of the chess world I have woken up to the fact that Fritz is not the only chess engine in town and I am particularly interested at the moment in the use of remote chess engines. Ultimately for chess players MS Windows is the operating system that is most extensively supported so there will be plenty of PC related stuff, mostly Windows-based with possibly a bit of Linux software if I get time (Macs don’t really cut it here I’m afraid, I don’t have one to try but Shredder is about the only decent offering I’ve seen available for OS X, and I’m basing that opinion on the mobile versions). Chess servers will get a mention shortly as part of my overview of mobile applications, but they deserve consideration in their own right; other topics that spring to mind include good chess websites, live event coverage on the internet and Kindle books.
The ability to play live opponents - via an internet server – on a smartphone or tablet device is a potential nirvana hitherto associated with expensive dreams of DGT sensory boards (look, I know this sounds sad, but if you are into chess you WILL understand). I think we are approaching the point where a tablet could be the ideal chess players tool, and following on from the advent of smartphones this means that - for me at least – chess on mobile apps is a hot topic. I’ve recently moved from carrying an Apple iTouch to an Android phone, and have acquired a part share in an iPad 2, so I am fairly ambivalent as to the platform used and will try to remain impartial (at least until someone offers me a wad of cash to be biased). Research has shown me that whilst it’s not too hard to find a list of, say, ‘the best 5 iPhone chess apps’, there are not too many (if any) comparative guides as to the merits of apps across the platforms. I believe I possess most if not all of the best apps out there, so my next posts will cover these. Ultimately I hope to post some useful feature tables to make it easier to assess whether a particular piece of software is likely to meet your needs.
Thanks for reading, next post soon!