I play chess regularly, about 1600 rated. Sometimes I want to play chess on my phone (Android). The chess app I use, Chess free, is strong enough. However, it does not play regular openings, so when I am preparing for a regular match, it is quite useless.

Does anyone know any good apps that play regular openings and are otherwise also decent overall?

It's kind of a broad question, but I thought it's worth a shot here,

  • If your phone can handle large apk of Alien Chess and you have time to learn such a big program, you might enjoy it later. Many functions for opening training including playing against opening book, strategy info for every book position etc... – hoacin Oct 9 at 12:05
  • Play Magnus apo will simulate fairly well the experience of playing a human player at different levels. If your OTB reading (not chess.com!) is 1600, you should try playing the virtual Magnus at 9-10 years old in the app. – Gregory Klopper Oct 21 at 4:43
  • But... Having said that... You should really focus on understanding WHY each move is played the way they're played and what's the reason placing pieces there. Sometimes it's very obvious - pawn grabs center, knight attacks pawn, knight defends, etc... Other times - not so much. E.g. 4...Qc7 in Taimanov Sicilian gees against many opening principles, but it's a GREAT move. Not the best, but very strong. Since you never know what will be played against you, you should spend less time memorizing exact lines and variations, and a lot more time understanding roles and value of pieces in their places – Gregory Klopper Oct 21 at 4:51
  • ...example: given a choice, is knight on c3 or knight on f3 more valuable on a particular opening? When do you trade bishop for the knight on, say, c3 after pawn to a3, when do maintain pin, and when do leave? When are flanks life valuable than center? Etc etc etc... I often play Grab attack and Borg defence (opposite of Grob). Both are definitely losing openings! I play them to practice recognizing any and all positional (dis)advantages and fight for turning a losing position into strong advantage. I win quite a bit. Because my opponents expect a "regular opening". Don't be that guy. – Gregory Klopper Oct 21 at 4:58
  • Thanks @GregoryKlopper. Funny, the things you mention are exactly things I struggle with. When does a knight belong on D2 and when on C3. Such things are not always explained when studying chess openings. You can see and practice the moves, but I still need to learn more about the reasoning behind it. – SQL_M Oct 22 at 8:36
up vote 2 down vote accepted

what is regular opening(are you going to study 1.E4 C5 2. Na3 because Magnus Carlsen played it)? and any app that supports opening book (chessbase, arena, chessmaster, etc) will play whatever you set in the book. also if you are 1600 - you should study chess, learn strategy, position evaluation and there will be enough opening information for you how to start game if you just read trough good book of 400-600 chess miniatures - they very well show and emphasize what are bad moves in opening that lead to quick loss and also you will learn what are good moves and approach in the opening. At your level opening is not the problem definitely! (My highest ELO was 2650 and I never studied openings explicitly - I always got them as side effect from the other studies)

  • Thanks for your comment. I understand your point. However, I would still like to play some games against the computer, where there is a reasonable chance that the situation might actually be on the board in my regular games. I know lots of great resources on the opening, but that's another story. – SQL_M Oct 9 at 10:18
  • And by regular I mean openings that are often played, not some grandmaster novelty that appeared in a few games. – SQL_M Oct 9 at 10:20
  • as I wrote - any descent app has opening book and its settings - I mentioned few, but there are many more – Drako Oct 9 at 12:23
  • Sorry, I Misunderstood that part. I am not familiar with opening book as a feature in a chess App. I will try chessmaster. Thanks! – SQL_M Oct 9 at 12:26
  • some apps even mobile let you set position and play against engine - so you can make desired first moves and play both colors with engine from same position - that would make sense in learning, but still - I strongly advice - focus on chess and not opening learning at your current level, and do openings when you reach at least 2000-2200 – Drako Oct 9 at 12:30

In the chess.com app, you can play in human-vs-human mode and at any time replace one of the human players by a computer. This way, you can play the first moves yourself, for the two players, and then once the opening position you want is achieved, you switch one of the players to a computer, and it will do its best for there.

From my experience Chess Genius (for Android and iOS) plays rather mainstream openings, if that's the meaning of your question.

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