I play a lot of online chess, but I am a federated player whose objective is to play well over-the-board games with 3D pieces.

During my hourly tactics exercises I turn on the computer and do it in the big screen because my results are better than on the smartphone.

For timed games I also play with the PC, as I am quicker with the mouse than with the finger.

But I also play correspondence daily; I use to have 20 games in progress.

I am getting used to analyze and make the moves on my smartphone, when I am not at home, or when I feel too much lazy to turn on the computer.

I know the best is to analyze on a physical chess board, which I sometimes do on correspondence when the position is interesting.

But my question is if I should be less lazy and turn on the computer when analyzing deeply with the analysis board.

I know, in deep, this is a neurology question, but at neurosciences SE they would say it is a question for a chess teacher or highly rated player as there are not specific neurology studies on it.

Just asking, as a 7 years old student could ask: "Teacher, should I always play on the PC or I can use my smartphone playing on the free net?"

  • 1
    It sounds a lot like you answered your own question unless a PhD in neurology shows up to give you some better answer, I think this is going to be people mostly giving their opinions. My opinion agrees with yours: Physical board is best>decent size screen is next best>small screen is worst. Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 19:26
  • @PhishMaster I am waiting for those opinions and thanks for yours. I know it is a tricky question.
    – user18196
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 19:45
  • That is why I did not submit a formal answer. :) I also do not answer programming questions, and no longer answer rules questions. I stick to the pure chess stuff, and how to get better. Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 19:47
  • If you want to see which can analyze faster, try using the same engine and max thread count on both. One test described as such: "My favorite test is how long it takes the engine to realize that Nxf7 is not the best move for white in the traxler counter attack: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5 now 5.d4 and 5.Bxf7 are the best moves but at low depth, especially with mobile engines from 2016-2017, the engines think 5.Nxf7 is good. Even now at depth 30 in lichess, it doesn't see it. You have to wait for depth 32." This is just an example of some kind of "standardized" test to do.
    – Mark C
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


Advisable to use smartphone? Not really. Okay occasionally if you must look at a position.

As you noted a PC is more helpful to seeing the board and planning your moves.

I have found no difference between using PC screen adjusted to my preferences and using a real chessboard with physical items on it. For me the difference between chess sets and boards is more than the difference between my preferred set and board and the PC screen with my choice of size and font.

Note that moving the men on your phone or pc will negate any OTB experience for a tournament that you would get by analyzing without moving them to improve your analysis vision for 'real' chess in an OTB tournament.


I know the scope of the question is not health related but there are concerns for the levels of electromagnetic radiation that we are exposed to from our phones. It is a minor carcinogen in some high doses at least in lab rats. But to answer the real question I think anywhere you play is a bonus and will help but recreating as close as possible the actual environment for which you hope to compete is ideal but if the option is less practice then use the phone but adjust the times to allow for your slower plays but you need actual times to get used to the appropriate timing so everyday make sure you get some big screen time at actual or faster speeds than you will face


  • There is no proven radiation problem with smart phones. Look at radio amateurs and others who sit next to high power transmitters for long periods with no problems. Look at all the people immersed in wifi radiation all the time. If there were a real problem we would know. There are always some people finding fault with anything we do or eat or think and say it causes a problem.
    – yobamamama
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 19:26
  • There is a growing body of evidence that there may be reason to be cautious I will link the study that the world health organization did that concluded that there is a cancer and health concern. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504984
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 23:03

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