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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Best Apps To Learn Chess

7 best apps to learn chess

Chess has always maintained a certain level of popularity being a game which is simple to start, but with an amazing level of depth to keep you engaged and want to keep on learning.

On top of this, it also has a very active community with many people playing chess casually or on a more professional level.

This is also paired with a more recent obsession with chess with show’s like Queen’s Gambit giving the game an increase in relevance.

Because of this more people than ever want to learn how to play chess.

Knowing how to play chess is a great skill to have and can help you bond with many different people with how popular the game is, as well as the intergenerational appeal the game has too.

Because of this, you can understand why so many people are eager to learn how to play such a well established game.

While you can of course go out and buy a board with them not being too expensive if you buy one pre-owned, or you can invest in a new one, many people now prefer to play chess digitally due to convenience and ease of accessibility.

These platforms are usually and will have a healthy online community meaning you will never have to wait to have someone to play with.

However, because of how common these platforms are, many people struggle to know which is best for them, and which will be best for beginners who are learning to play the game for the first time.

Because all of these platforms offer the same game, it can be difficult to understand what the differences are between them, so because of this, we are going to go through some of the best options and explain their unique appeal and why you might like them.

So, if you are looking to learn to play chess, and want to go online to do so using an app, we are going to go through all the best apps to learn chess will help you learn to play chess, so keep reading!

The Best Chess Apps

There are plenty of options here, and since most of them are free, you do not have to worry about committing to a specific platform.

Once you have read through our options, we recommend installing the few you think will suit you the best, and then playing through them so choose which feels the best for you!

Chess.com (On Desktop, iOS, And Android)

What Is This Chess App?

As you can tell by its obvious name, Chess.com is one of the most popular choices when it comes to chess players and is quite a refined service because of this being a good choice whether you are new to chess or a grandmaster.

One of the best features is that you can set the game speed to whatever choice you want from anywhere from a minute for a move or a lengthy 5 days if you really want to think it through.

You can jump straight into just playing games, but there are various other chess related features which other platforms do not offer which makes this such an interesting platform.

For example, instead of playing against actual people you can play against AI bots which have their own style and strengths.

If, like this article suggests, you are looking to learn chess, there are tutorials and puzzles which will help you get better at playing chess.

There are also chess livestreams which you can watch if you want to watch the professionals, and you can even use the service to look for a personal mentor in chess.

However, as you can imagine, with all these services, there is a subscription which you will need to pay to get some more premium features, but if you just want to play against an AI bot or real people, you will never have to pay.

After you have been playing for a certain length of time you will be given a specific rating for your skill level which will take a few games to stabilize into its more narrow range.

After this you will get matched accurately with players at your level or close to it so you will always have a good challenge.

As you can tell by its simple name, chess.com works on browsers but also has an app which will make the experience as simple as possible.

The only issue will be that if your phone is quite small, you may struggle to choose pieces.

For payment there are multiple tiers at $5, $7, and $14 monthly but this will get to around half if you pay yearly.

These tiers give you various features which we would only recommend trying if you feel like you want a more premium version after playing around with the free version for a while.

Why SHOULD You Use This App?

  • Plenty of unique features which other services do not offer
  • Easily accessible on multiple platforms
  • Popular so you will never be lacking in partners to play with
  • Great skill matching
  • Paying is not necessary to enjoy the service
  • Massive choice in game timing

Lichess (On Desktop, iOS, And Android)

What Is This Chess App?

Lichess is also a very attractive option as it also features many similar options to Chess.com with its own large community as well as different game types, puzzles, and watching livestreams.

The platform itself has quite a striking simple appearance making getting around the service very simple which is great if you do not want the potentially cluttered appearance of some other services.

This site also has the bonus of not needing to create an account to play, of course this will not allow you to check your progress over a different game and will limit your skill matching, but it is a great option if you want to try out the service to see if it is right for you.

You can just chill on the service as well watching livestreams and chatting in the comments giving this site a great feel of community.

Another similarity this service has with Chess.com is that it uses an open-source engine called Stockfish which will analyze your games once they are finished and will give you some great information on your game once it has been played.

Another fun feature which is included is letting you see which of the top players on the service have done similar moves to you and then see the outcomes of those games.

You can also look at parallel games which you have played and see how they turned out as well.

There are also graphs which are produced after the game so you can track who was winning after each move and what advantage each player had when.

The app version is just as popular as the browser with the common criticism you will see here of looking at the screen can get tiring after a while.

But what perhaps makes this one of the most attractive services is that there are never any ads and that you will never need to pay, with the service run by donations.

Why Should You Use This App?

  • Completely ad free with no price of entry
  • Great analytical features to compare your games to other players
  • Sleek interface makes it aesthetically pleasing
  • Just as popular as other services like Chess.com
  • Does not need an account to start playing
Board Game Arena (On Desktop, And Mobile Web Compatible)

Board Game Arena (On Desktop, And Mobile Web Compatible)

What Is This Chess App?

While Board Game Arena features a great online version of chess, it also features their own version of almost every tabletop game you can think of.

However, because of this lack of specialization, the chess games are going to be much less competitive and much more casual.

This also means there is not a timer which when it runs out you lose like there usually is, instead, you will simply be able to be booted by your opponent if you are taking too long to make your move making Board Game Arena a much less competitive atmosphere.

But, if you want a platform with more games than just chess, you also have over 285 other games to pick from as well, so this is a great choice if you are not that committed to learning chess specifically.

While some of these games will only be accessible to members who are paying, most of the games on the site are free, and chess is one of these.

It is worth noting that there is no dedicated mobile app for this service, but you are able to access and work it fine on most mobile browsers.

Why Should You Use This App?

  • Great for more casual play
  • Gives you a wide variety of options other than chess
  • Accessible on browser meaning it will not use up any phone storage

SocialChess (On iOS, And Android)

What Is This Chess App?

If you are a bit overwhelmed with the variety of options and the more serious atmosphere of services like Chess.com and Lichess, a service like SocialChess is a much better option which will likely suit you.

SocialChess has a slightly more casual atmosphere than some of the other options on this list which is appealing to some users.

You are also lucky with this mobile app since it does not have any obnoxious ads or ugly aesthetics which some of the other app versions of chess do, so you do not have to worry about the app being overwhelming to use visually.

There is also a useful mechanic when it comes to pairing when playing with other people.

You are able to make a challenge which is suited to the game speed which you prefer, or you are instead able to view a graph which will let you select challenges by other players which will display the speed they want as well as the rating of the opponent.

You are also able to take advantage of display options which will let you know which moves you are able to make as well as displaying the move history of the opponent.

It is worth noting that SocialChess also features a paywall like some of the other services.

It is only at a cost of $10 every year and it only adds some other non-essential features like game analysis as well as playing more than 5 games at the same time.

Why Should You Use This App?

  • Much more calm and chill atmosphere than other services
  • Nice aesthetic
  • No essential features behind a paywall
  • Goof matchmaking mechanics

Really Bad Chess (On iOS, And Android)

What Is This Chess App?

One of the main reasons why chess has remained such a popular game throughout history is that it has gone almost completely unchanged for the time it has existed.

However, this was not something which was considered when creating Really Bad Chess which makes chess games with completely random setups, for example, having multiple queens, or getting all of your pawns changed for bishops.

This is great for levelling the playing field for new players while also giving experts a completely fresh challenge.

This app is completely free which is appreciated for such a strange offering and while it may not teach you much when it comes to learning the standardized version of chess, it is a great concept for something a bit more fun which will make you a more adaptable chess player.

It is worth noting that this app does have some rougher edges than some other choices on this list, as you can imagine based on its nature.

An example of this is that you are not able to draw in this game, and perhaps the biggest weakness is that there is no multiplayer and the only games you can play are against AI bots.

One strength of only facing AI is that the game will start by giving you piece advantages over the AI, but slowly it will learn and start to challenge you more!

Why Should You Use This App?

  • Dumb fun
  • Does not cost anything
  • Good distraction if you are tired of standard chess

Shredder Chess (On Desktop, iOS, And Android)

What Is This Chess App?

This platform is available on all services where you will need it, and this is perhaps the best option when it comes to specifically training you in chess instead of just standard games.

This is a training app which will give you puzzles as well as giving you AI challenges which will match your strength the more you play.

One thing in particular which we like about Shredder Chess is just how simple it is to work with, it does not have multiple pages to get through and you can play through some simple easy selections.

You are also able to play games very quickly by just using your browser.

On iOS there is a paid and free version of Shredder Chess with the paid having 1000 puzzles and the free only having 100, on Android however, the paid option is the only one you have.

The paid version also lets the AI develop much more.

Why Should You Use This App?

  • One of the best options for learning about chess
  • Simple lay out
  • Unique structure compared to more standard options

Learn Chess With Dr. Wolf (On iOS, And Android)

What Is This Chess App?

This is another dedicated training option and you will be getting taught directly by the old main character being the face of this game who you are actually able to customize as a neat option.

This AI will be teaching you and will change and adjust their play to match your level.

The mascot will never get too far ahead of you and will comment when you or they make a move and will hint at what they are doing essentially including mini puzzles within the larger game making this a much more engaging option.

This service will only give you three games for free, however, after this you will need to pay $5 for a month, or if you are more confident, $35 for the year.

Why Should You Use This App?

  • The most engaging training service
  • Unique approach to learning chess

Takeaway

Hopefully this list has made you aware of the vast array of choices you have got when it comes to learning chess using apps and online platforms.

Some of these platforms are much better for beginners, while others will be much more enjoyable when you are more established, so maybe you will start off using one service and then move to another, so do not feel pressured to stick with something specific.

However, if you are willing to pay for any of the services which include paywalls, make sure you are going to be willing to use this service for the length of time you are going to be paying for!

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