Daily iPhone chess programs releases

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JuLieN
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Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by JuLieN » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:36 pm

After a few topics about chess and the iPhone/iPad (= iOS), I thought that as there are yet countless of chess software for iOS a dedicated topic about the new additions to the AppsTore would be a good idea. Furthermore, during the quite days, reviewing older but not yet reviewed programs could be done too. :)

As this is a huge task to review all those hundreds of programs, I invite you to join me in this effort. :)

Here I start.

------------------------------------------------

Today's program : Chess Tiger, by Christophe Théron (4.99 €, iPhone)

It was a surprise to see Chess Tiger make a come back... in the AppsTore, today. Amongst the hundreds of chess programs, Chess Tiger now joins a yet good bunch of classic programs: Fritz, Hiarcs, Chess Genius, Shredder, Stockfish... But how will it compare with them and justify its quite high price (4.99€)?

Interface:
Chess Tiger has a classic, sober and efficient interface. Not much candy, apart for a nice "paper corner rolling" animation when you click on a menu.
Image
You can actually choose different board layouts and sets of chessmen:
- 12 "visual themes"
- 7 "piece sets"
- 13 "board types"
- 4 "backgrounds"
This is just the broadest possibility of choices amongst ALL the programs in the AppStore, and if I'm not mistaken that makes for 4368 possible combinations of style: you will certainly find one that fits your tastes! ;)
The bad news is that the application is not universal, so the fonts will look pixelized on the iPad (but not the chessmen, as the graphics are antialiazed on the iPad).
Here are four examples amongst those 4368 possibilities:
Image

Functionalities:
This program will only play the classic chess game: no variants, no chess960. But it comes with many different levels and game modes.
You can chose the strength of the engine between 28 different levels, ranging from 100 Elo ("plays at random") to 2100 Elo ("Expert, candidate master"). The program comes with two scales of strength that you can set in the preferences: USCF or Elo. But you can also unleash its full strength by setting a "game in x min" or "game in x sec" mode.
Chess Tiger comes with 7 different game modes, ranging from "Tiger doesn't play" to "Me vs Tiger", with many interesting analyzing modes in-between: this is probably the best program in the AppStore to help you analyze a game.
Image
While playing, you can chose to let the program display a lot of tactical informations on the board (interesting if you're a beginner) :
Image
Or go for a simpler display:
Image
You can edit positions. During the game, you can ask the game for tips, you can go back or change sides. The engine is multi-PV and displays up to 4 pv while you play, which, again, is great in analyze mode. I don't remember there's another program doing that in the AppStore.

The program isn't meant to manage huge games databases, but it can save games and import/export them through emails and the clipboard, and it maintains a "game collection", which is yet something. You can change the name of the pgn file in the "game information" saving menu, hence using several of them. This could be made simpler but at least it exists.

Strength:
Chess Tiger is strong. VERY strong. I can't say if it's stronger than Hiarcs or Stockfish, as they all tear me to pieces, but it's Chess Tiger all right! And it's also a true tactical monster even on the small iPhone/iPad, considering its high nps for this handled platform: often over 600 knps!
You can also set the playing style in the settings, but don't expect a cool non-stress game, as these settings go from "normal" to "suicidal", with "aggressive and "very aggressive" in-between. ;)
The opening book is quite a mammoth of a book, as it includes more than a million moves. You can chose to turn it off in the settings.

Summary and score:
Plus sides:
[*] STRONG!
[*] wide variety of graphical settings
[*] many predefined strength level, easy to understand
[*] interesting informations for the beginner
[*] many game modes (perfect for analyzing!)
[*] good import/export functionalities (could be improved though)
Minus sides:
[*] not a universal app (doesn't look so good on an iPad)
[*] the price! 4.99€ is a lot on the AppStore!
[*] the program is not localized: english only.

ReviewScore: 8.5/10

Conclusion:
The best program in the AppStore to analyse games and train your chess. Clearly Christophe designed this program as a teacher and a partner to the club player, despite it' still can be a killing machine, and it does a great job for both. Could be a bit cheaper though.
"The only good bug is a dead bug." (Don Dailey)
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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by AdminX » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:48 pm

Very nice looking app!
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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by DomLeste » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:43 pm

Thannks julien for the review keep them coming :)
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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by tiger » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:53 pm

Wow Julien you are damn fast!

The application has appeared on the App Store less than 12 hours ago and is still on the fourth or fifth page (yes the last page) when you search for "chess". In other words it is totally lost amongst 200 chess programs or so...

I have not even started talking about it and Thorsten sends me an email with your review!

I have no idea how you have been able to get the product and review it in such a little time.

I think your review correctly grasps the spirit of the application: I would like Chess Tiger to be less intimidating for beginners than other chess programs, so for example I have included the rules of chess as a 14 pages eBook inside the application, and in the default playing mode Chess Tiger suggests the best moves. This has been done in the hope that a newcomer can just start the program and move pieces around and not being crushed instantly and then maybe he will take the time to read the rules and try again... and really learn to play.

What I have not included in the App Store description is that the chess engine is exactly the same as the PC version of Chess Tiger 2011, which has not been released yet for PC. So even advanced players, as you have noticed, will get a run for their money! :)

I will leave it to the rating lists to measure the strength of the program, however I have already noticed that Stockfish has problems against Tiger on this platform, which was not totally unexpected as Stockfish is a 64 bits program and runs slowly on a 32 bits iPhone/iPad.

About the minus sides you have mentionned:

- This is an introductory price. Sorry, but it will go UP in a few days.

- The application has High-resolution graphics built inside, so on iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4 it uses the full definition of the retina display. Unfortunately the iPad does not use these high-resolution graphics, which is a shame. However has you have noticed the pieces have been antialiased so they still look good in the iPad (I know because a friend of mine has an iPad and we have done special work for it).

- Localization in several languages is in the works, I just did not want to hold this application much longer as most chess enthusiasts will already be able to use it in english. You will not believe it but I have started working on Chess Tiger for iPhone in October 2009!



// Christophe



JuLieN wrote:After a few topics about chess and the iPhone/iPad (= iOS), I thought that as there are yet countless of chess software for iOS a dedicated topic about the new additions to the AppsTore would be a good idea. Furthermore, during the quite days, reviewing older but not yet reviewed programs could be done too. :)

As this is a huge task to review all those hundreds of programs, I invite you to join me in this effort. :)

Here I start.

------------------------------------------------

Today's program : Chess Tiger, by Christophe Théron (4.99 €, iPhone)

It was a surprise to see Chess Tiger make a come back... in the AppsTore, today. Amongst the hundreds of chess programs, Chess Tiger now joins a yet good bunch of classic programs: Fritz, Hiarcs, Chess Genius, Shredder, Stockfish... But how will it compare with them and justify its quite high price (4.99€)?

Interface:
Chess Tiger has a classic, sober and efficient interface. Not much candy, apart for a nice "paper corner rolling" animation when you click on a menu.
Image
You can actually choose different board layouts and sets of chessmen:
- 12 "visual themes"
- 7 "piece sets"
- 13 "board types"
- 4 "backgrounds"
This is just the broadest possibility of choices amongst ALL the programs in the AppStore, and if I'm not mistaken that makes for 4368 possible combinations of style: you will certainly find one that fits your tastes! ;)
The bad news is that the application is not universal, so the fonts will look pixelized on the iPad (but not the chessmen, as the graphics are antialiazed on the iPad).
Here are four examples amongst those 4368 possibilities:
Image

Functionalities:
This program will only play the classic chess game: no variants, no chess960. But it comes with many different levels and game modes.
You can chose the strength of the engine between 28 different levels, ranging from 100 Elo ("plays at random") to 2100 Elo ("Expert, candidate master"). The program comes with two scales of strength that you can set in the preferences: USCF or Elo. But you can also unleash its full strength by setting a "game in x min" or "game in x sec" mode.
Chess Tiger comes with 7 different game modes, ranging from "Tiger doesn't play" to "Me vs Tiger", with many interesting analyzing modes in-between: this is probably the best program in the AppStore to help you analyze a game.
Image
While playing, you can chose to let the program display a lot of tactical informations on the board (interesting if you're a beginner) :
Image
Or go for a simpler display:
Image
You can edit positions. During the game, you can ask the game for tips, you can go back or change sides. The engine is multi-PV and displays up to 4 pv while you play, which, again, is great in analyze mode. I don't remember there's another program doing that in the AppStore.

The program isn't meant to manage huge games databases, but it can save games and import/export them through emails and the clipboard, and it maintains a "game collection", which is yet something. You can change the name of the pgn file in the "game information" saving menu, hence using several of them. This could be made simpler but at least it exists.

Strength:
Chess Tiger is strong. VERY strong. I can't say if it's stronger than Hiarcs or Stockfish, as they all tear me to pieces, but it's Chess Tiger all right! And it's also a true tactical monster even on the small iPhone/iPad, considering its high nps for this handled platform: often over 600 knps!
You can also set the playing style in the settings, but don't expect a cool non-stress game, as these settings go from "normal" to "suicidal", with "aggressive and "very aggressive" in-between. ;)
The opening book is quite a mammoth of a book, as it includes more than a million moves. You can chose to turn it off in the settings.

Summary and score:
Plus sides:
[*] STRONG!
[*] wide variety of graphical settings
[*] many predefined strength level, easy to understand
[*] interesting informations for the beginner
[*] many game modes (perfect for analyzing!)
[*] good import/export functionalities (could be improved though)
Minus sides:
[*] not a universal app (doesn't look so good on an iPad)
[*] the price! 4.99€ is a lot on the AppStore!
[*] the program is not localized: english only.

ReviewScore: 8.5/10

Conclusion:
The best program in the AppStore to analyse games and train your chess. Clearly Christophe designed this program as a teacher and a partner to the club player, despite it' still can be a killing machine, and it does a great job for both. Could be a bit cheaper though.

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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by JuLieN » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:13 pm

Hello Christophe :)

Well, I will unveil the mystery: on the iPad you now have "advanced" sorting options in the AppStore. For instance, when I look at chess app's actuality I set the filter to "last 7 days". Right now, with this filter on, it displays 2 apps for the iPad and 2 apps for the iPhone...

So you can guess how surprised I was when I saw "Chess Tiger" popping up in the results this morning. I can confirm that you made strictly NO publicity for it, so it was really unexpected... especially when we all more or less thought you were half retired of the chess scene since a while... now we know why :)

I won't discuss the price: you're the master of your own app for that, of course. As for me, I'm too currently in the process of developing some apps for the iPhone/iPad (so, btw, I DO believe you when you say you're working on it since one year and a half: so do I, the learning curve is steap with this 100% different platform from our usual Windows... ;) But what a pleasure to use xcode, once one feel fluent enough! ), but I think I'll stick to the low pricing most people recommend. In the other hand, top chess apps are a niche market, so maybe it's a smarter move. Did you make pricing simulations?

Regarding Chess Tiger not being universal, I think it would be a good thing in the future (not mandatory for a first release of course). The main problem is not the graphics, but the feeling that it's just a big iPhone app. Some universal chess apps are really well done. The best example that comes to my mind is Shredder: it scales the iPad's big screen wonderfully: it's not just an upscaled version of the iPhone's version, it really makes use of the increased space. For me, it's the best iPad chess app, right now. If you ever decide to make a universal app, I suggest you to take a look at Shredder for iPad. I never saw such a fast growing of the chess software market than on iOS, and the iPad is clearly the ideal companion to the traveling player (especially the professional one...). The iPad 2 is double-cored and that is just the beginning. This is the future of chess! :)

But really, it was a really good surprise, and I was impressed by this first release. Excellent work!

(I only noticed that sometimes CT will hang if you change the PV display while it's thinking...)
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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by Tord Romstad » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:49 pm

Wow.

This is the best computer chess news I have seen since -- I'm not sure, but it must be several years. Thanks a lot for Chess Tiger for iPhone, Christophe!
tiger wrote:Wow Julien you are damn fast!

The application has appeared on the App Store less than 12 hours ago and is still on the fourth or fifth page (yes the last page) when you search for "chess". In other words it is totally lost amongst 200 chess programs or so...
Don't worry, it will climb. Believe it or not, Stockfish is close to the top of the list.
What I have not included in the App Store description is that the chess engine is exactly the same as the PC version of Chess Tiger 2011, which has not been released yet for PC. So even advanced players, as you have noticed, will get a run for their money! :)
There will be a Macintosh version too, I suppose? :P
I will leave it to the rating lists to measure the strength of the program, however I have already noticed that Stockfish has problems against Tiger on this platform,
I got 1.5-0.5 in Stockfish's favor in the first two games I played, but of course two games are nothing, and I was cheating by running Chess Tiger on an iPhone and Stockfish on the 25% faster iPad 1, and by using a development version of Stockfish which is stronger than the public iOS Stockfish.
which was not totally unexpected as Stockfish is a 64 bits program and runs slowly on a 32 bits iPhone/iPad.
Yes. I should probably write a 32-bit version some time. Thanks for pushing me. :)
About the minus sides you have mentionned:

- This is an introductory price. Sorry, but it will go UP in a few days.
I am not sure this is a good idea, but of course it is your decision.
- The application has High-resolution graphics built inside, so on iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4 it uses the full definition of the retina display. Unfortunately the iPad does not use these high-resolution graphics, which is a shame.
Not sure I understand what you mean here. The iPad has even higher resolution than the iPhone 4. Stockfish uses 40x40 bitmaps on the iPhone <4, 80x80 bitmaps on the iPhone 4, and 96x96 bitmaps on the iPad. Most of the piece sets are actually antialiased, down-scaled versions of 300x300 bitmaps.

A few feature requests:

Would it be possible to display all scores from white's point of view, at least as an option?

Could you please add an option for a plain, non-textured background?

Could you please add the possibility to take back and replay moves by swiping left and right, as in most other iOS chess programs?

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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by Tord Romstad » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:02 pm

JuLieN wrote:But what a pleasure to use xcode, once one feel fluent enough!
Despite having used OS X as my development platform of choice since OS X 10.1, I still hate Xcode. But then I dislike IDEs in general, except for highly dynamic languages like Lisp, Smalltalk or Factor. There is something about the workflow in C/C++ IDEs which is fundamentally incompatible with how my brain works, and working with them makes me feel miserable.

I almost never use Xcode, except in the very few cases when there is no other option. The rest of the time, pencil, paper, Emacs and a few terminal windows are my tools of choice when writing C, C++ or Objective-C code.

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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by JuLieN » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:12 pm

Tord Romstad wrote:
tiger wrote:- The application has High-resolution graphics built inside, so on iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4 it uses the full definition of the retina display. Unfortunately the iPad does not use these high-resolution graphics, which is a shame.
Not sure I understand what you mean here. The iPad has even higher resolution than the iPhone 4. Stockfish uses 40x40 bitmaps on the iPhone <4, 80x80 bitmaps on the iPhone 4, and 96x96 bitmaps on the iPad. Most of the piece sets are actually antialiased, down-scaled versions of 300x300 bitmaps.
I can answer this question for Christophe :) As you know, iPhone apps now include two sets of graphics: one "low res" for the older iPhones, and one "high res" for the retina display. But the iPad won't use the retina display graphics of an iPhone-only application, despite having actually a higher-res screen than an iPhone 4. Instead, it will use the low-res ones. So the only way to deal with that and get good graphics on the iPhones and the iPad is to make a universal app and include three sets of graphics: lowres, retina and iPad. And the problem is: Chess Tiger is not a universal App, so it's stuck with low-res graphics on the iPad: iOS on the iPad will smoother the bitmaps but not the fonts.
(Note to Christophe: from where you are, it should take ten minutes at most to make a basic universal app! ;) )
Tord Romstad wrote:
JuLieN wrote:But what a pleasure to use xcode, once one feel fluent enough!
Despite having used OS X as my development platform of choice since OS X 10.1, I still hate Xcode. But then I dislike IDEs in general, except for highly dynamic languages like Lisp, Smalltalk or Factor. There is something about the workflow in C/C++ IDEs which is fundamentally incompatible with how my brain works, and working with them makes me feel miserable.

I almost never use Xcode, except in the very few cases when there is no other option. The rest of the time, pencil, paper, Emacs and a few terminal windows are my tools of choice when writing C, C++ or Objective-C code.
Probably because you still code in C++, Tord? :) I learnt Objective C using Xcode, so it feels natural for me now (after a steep learning curve for the Delphi programmer I am.......)
"The only good bug is a dead bug." (Don Dailey)
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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by tomgdrums » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:06 am

tiger wrote:Wow Julien you are damn fast!

The application has appeared on the App Store less than 12 hours ago and is still on the fourth or fifth page (yes the last page) when you search for "chess". In other words it is totally lost amongst 200 chess programs or so...

I have not even started talking about it and Thorsten sends me an email with your review!

I have no idea how you have been able to get the product and review it in such a little time.

I think your review correctly grasps the spirit of the application: I would like Chess Tiger to be less intimidating for beginners than other chess programs, so for example I have included the rules of chess as a 14 pages eBook inside the application, and in the default playing mode Chess Tiger suggests the best moves. This has been done in the hope that a newcomer can just start the program and move pieces around and not being crushed instantly and then maybe he will take the time to read the rules and try again... and really learn to play.

What I have not included in the App Store description is that the chess engine is exactly the same as the PC version of Chess Tiger 2011, which has not been released yet for PC. So even advanced players, as you have noticed, will get a run for their money! :)

I will leave it to the rating lists to measure the strength of the program, however I have already noticed that Stockfish has problems against Tiger on this platform, which was not totally unexpected as Stockfish is a 64 bits program and runs slowly on a 32 bits iPhone/iPad.

About the minus sides you have mentionned:

- This is an introductory price. Sorry, but it will go UP in a few days.

- The application has High-resolution graphics built inside, so on iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4 it uses the full definition of the retina display. Unfortunately the iPad does not use these high-resolution graphics, which is a shame. However has you have noticed the pieces have been antialiased so they still look good in the iPad (I know because a friend of mine has an iPad and we have done special work for it).

- Localization in several languages is in the works, I just did not want to hold this application much longer as most chess enthusiasts will already be able to use it in english. You will not believe it but I have started working on Chess Tiger for iPhone in October 2009!



// Christophe



JuLieN wrote:After a few topics about chess and the iPhone/iPad (= iOS), I thought that as there are yet countless of chess software for iOS a dedicated topic about the new additions to the AppsTore would be a good idea. Furthermore, during the quite days, reviewing older but not yet reviewed programs could be done too. :)

As this is a huge task to review all those hundreds of programs, I invite you to join me in this effort. :)

Here I start.

------------------------------------------------

Today's program : Chess Tiger, by Christophe Théron (4.99 €, iPhone)

It was a surprise to see Chess Tiger make a come back... in the AppsTore, today. Amongst the hundreds of chess programs, Chess Tiger now joins a yet good bunch of classic programs: Fritz, Hiarcs, Chess Genius, Shredder, Stockfish... But how will it compare with them and justify its quite high price (4.99€)?

Interface:
Chess Tiger has a classic, sober and efficient interface. Not much candy, apart for a nice "paper corner rolling" animation when you click on a menu.
Image
You can actually choose different board layouts and sets of chessmen:
- 12 "visual themes"
- 7 "piece sets"
- 13 "board types"
- 4 "backgrounds"
This is just the broadest possibility of choices amongst ALL the programs in the AppStore, and if I'm not mistaken that makes for 4368 possible combinations of style: you will certainly find one that fits your tastes! ;)
The bad news is that the application is not universal, so the fonts will look pixelized on the iPad (but not the chessmen, as the graphics are antialiazed on the iPad).
Here are four examples amongst those 4368 possibilities:
Image

Functionalities:
This program will only play the classic chess game: no variants, no chess960. But it comes with many different levels and game modes.
You can chose the strength of the engine between 28 different levels, ranging from 100 Elo ("plays at random") to 2100 Elo ("Expert, candidate master"). The program comes with two scales of strength that you can set in the preferences: USCF or Elo. But you can also unleash its full strength by setting a "game in x min" or "game in x sec" mode.
Chess Tiger comes with 7 different game modes, ranging from "Tiger doesn't play" to "Me vs Tiger", with many interesting analyzing modes in-between: this is probably the best program in the AppStore to help you analyze a game.
Image
While playing, you can chose to let the program display a lot of tactical informations on the board (interesting if you're a beginner) :
Image
Or go for a simpler display:
Image
You can edit positions. During the game, you can ask the game for tips, you can go back or change sides. The engine is multi-PV and displays up to 4 pv while you play, which, again, is great in analyze mode. I don't remember there's another program doing that in the AppStore.

The program isn't meant to manage huge games databases, but it can save games and import/export them through emails and the clipboard, and it maintains a "game collection", which is yet something. You can change the name of the pgn file in the "game information" saving menu, hence using several of them. This could be made simpler but at least it exists.

Strength:
Chess Tiger is strong. VERY strong. I can't say if it's stronger than Hiarcs or Stockfish, as they all tear me to pieces, but it's Chess Tiger all right! And it's also a true tactical monster even on the small iPhone/iPad, considering its high nps for this handled platform: often over 600 knps!
You can also set the playing style in the settings, but don't expect a cool non-stress game, as these settings go from "normal" to "suicidal", with "aggressive and "very aggressive" in-between. ;)
The opening book is quite a mammoth of a book, as it includes more than a million moves. You can chose to turn it off in the settings.

Summary and score:
Plus sides:
[*] STRONG!
[*] wide variety of graphical settings
[*] many predefined strength level, easy to understand
[*] interesting informations for the beginner
[*] many game modes (perfect for analyzing!)
[*] good import/export functionalities (could be improved though)
Minus sides:
[*] not a universal app (doesn't look so good on an iPad)
[*] the price! 4.99€ is a lot on the AppStore!
[*] the program is not localized: english only.

ReviewScore: 8.5/10

Conclusion:
The best program in the AppStore to analyse games and train your chess. Clearly Christophe designed this program as a teacher and a partner to the club player, despite it' still can be a killing machine, and it does a great job for both. Could be a bit cheaper though.



Hi Christophe,

Will there be a Chess Tiger 2011 for the Android?

And will there be a PC release as well? I have been thinking about getting Chess Tiger 2007 from Lokasoft.

Thanks!

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Re: Daily iPhone chess programs releases

Post by Steve Maughan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:44 am

Hi Christophe,

Great news! It seems to play well on my iPod Touch.

Can you give us any insight as to what you've been working on for Chess Tiger 2011. If I remember correctly, after CT 2007 you thought the evaluation function may need work. I assume you've done tons more but the highlights would certainly be interesting.

All the best,

Steve

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