Little by little and step by step the ChessBase Online for Android app has evolved from a fancy curiosity with only online database lookups, to a full-fledged analytical tool, and once more a big step forward has been made. The great thing is that while software versions that bring such important new functions are usually charged as a new program, even the earliest adopters of this app can get all the new changes for free by just updating it.
The previous set of tools already allowed users to not only edit their games with all the fancy tools they could want, including variations, notes, symbols, and color commentary, and of course read games they might have imported from sites such as ChessBase News, or played online like Playchess. Now they can consult top engines taking advantage of even quad-core processors.
So, does the new engine functionality fulfill the promise of easy engine analysis that we have come to take for granted with our desktops and laptops? In a word: yes. Let’s take a look at the improvements.
The opening menu of ChessBase Online remains familiar, and
the new options can be found in the Settings.
Scrolling down to the bottom we can see the new engine options.
Clicking on one allows you to change them.
For example, clicking on Engine brings up a choice of engines:
Stockfish 3 or Critter 1.6a. In case you never heard of them, both
are roughly as strong as Houdini 1.5 in their desktop versions.
To use the engines, just open a game or a board to enter your
own. The old-fashioned way is to click on the button above
and select Engine. However, there is an easier way.
The easiest way to start the engine is to just press on the notation and drag it to
the left with your finger. If you want to return to the notation, drag it back to the
right. In modern vernacular that is "swipe to the left, and swipe back to the right."
This is the classic engine pane. There is a Start/Pause button, a node count, a + and - sign to increase or reduce the number of lines, and a menu. The above speed (575 thousand positions per second) and depth of 20 plies were reached after about ten seconds. Don't for an instant think this is particularly unusual. In a ranking list of benchmarks, my quad-core phone was barely in the top 100 fastest.
If you click on the plus or minus signs, it will show the top two or more lines
If you click on the menu button you are shown options to display threats, paste the
analysis to the notation, lock the analysis (meaning it will analyze this move even if
you are viewing another on the board) and arrows.
Once pasted, it shows the lines and which engine analyzed them
For reviewing games, the ChessBase Online for Android app was already my favorite, with a clean interface, and typically refined presentation that ChessBase is famous for, but now with the easy engine use, it will deservedly gain a hoard of new users and fans as its usefulness reaches new levels of excellence.
You can also scan the QR code with your phone or tablet to go directly to the Play Store link: