Gambit Studio: interactive chess books on an iPad

9/22/2013 – Remember when chess books were delivered on very thin slices of tree? The disadvange of traditional publication is that books require you to set up a chess board and follow the moves on it. If there are variations and analysis you have the daunting task of somehow geting back to the main game. Gambit Publications, probably the finest chess book publishers in the world, now offers an exciting alternative.

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The Gambit Chess Studio

Gambit Chess Studio is a new app, currently available for the Apple iPad, which allows you to enjoy Gambit chess books in a new and convenient format. It includes the ability to play over all the chess content of the book on-screen, so you no longer need a chess set to follow the games in Gambit chess books, as the app does everything for you. If you have played over a variation and want to return to the main line, there’s no tedious re-setting of the position – just one tap restores the main line.

Once you have bought and downloaded a book, it’s stored on your iPad, so you can easily take your chess library with you when travelling and use Chess Studio even if you have no Internet connection. The app itself is free to download and try out (a free sample of various Gambit books is provided for this purpose) and books can be bought as in-app purchases. On the right is the The Gambit Chess Studio icon in the App Store.

This app books page shows which books are currently available for Chess Studio and will show forthcoming titles as they are prepared.

This screenshot gives a detailed view of Gambit Chess Studio in operation. The text of the book appears on the left, and the live board, which shows the current chess position, on the right. Below the live board is the variation box, which shows any alternatives in the current position.

If you touch anywhere in the text area, then the live board will show the position at that point (provided you are within a game); additionally, the most recent move is both highlighted in the text area and executed on the live board. There is a slider to the right of the text area which can be used for large-scale movement through the book. For small-scale movements you can swipe the text area up and down.

If there is a branch, then the possible continuations are displayed in the variation box. Just touch the one you want to follow. The variation box can display a maximum of four lines at any time; if there are more than four variations, a scroll bar appears to the right of the variation box and you can swipe up and down to find the variation you want.

Other functions are available from the buttons above the diagram. The left and right arrows function much like the "back" and "forward" buttons on a browser. If you have previously followed a link, for example, pressing this button will take you back to the start of the link. Chess Studio remembers various actions, such as touching the screen to display a move or following a link. You can use this button to step backwards or forwards through these actions. The third button brings up a list of the "chapters" in the book so that you can jump to a specific chapter. The button on the right is the one to use if you want to search for any text in the book. You can also search for chess moves.

Chess Studio isn’t just a PGN reader. The app uses a proprietary format developed by Dr John Nunn which includes font and text style information as well as chess moves. This allows the app to display text using a wide range of formatting options which emulate (so far as is possible given the screen size) the appearance of Gambit printed chess books, which are widely praised for the clarity of their layout.

Chess Studio has many other features which you will discover as you use the app. Why not go now to the Apple App Store, download Gambit Chess Studio and try out the free sample?

Source: Gambit Chess Studio


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