Chess on tablets: Playchess broadcasts

by Albert Silver
7/24/2014 – Smartphones and tablets have impacted our lives like few technologies in the past years, and have evolved from gadgets to inseparables, and yet the very first iPhone, which launched the tidal wave, came out just seven years ago. For chess players, this has been a genuine boon, allowing for a degree of comfort and ease never seen before. Here is an article and video of the experience.

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While speaking recently with a couple of friends, one who is a strong FIDE player, and the other who is a grandmaster, I mentioned the joy of playing blitz games on a tablet, and chess in general on the device. "Blitz games on a tablet?", one of them asked. "Does that work?"

I was genuinely aghast. 'Does that work?' Not only does it work, it is hands-down the best experience, I answered. This exchange made it clear to me just how many chess players most likely had no idea what they were missing out on.

In order to share the core of the experience, this series on tablets will focus on sharing only a few essentials, coupled with a video showing what it is like hands-on. It goes without saying that all the information and videos are just as applicable to smartphones as they are to tablets, but tablets are simply a step up in comfort.

Bigger is better... except if you have to carry it

The first article will cover watching online broadcasts. There are plenty of ways to follow a game that is broadcast online on a phone or tablet, such as opening a miniature browser (yuck), but the Playchess app really is one of the best and most convenient ways. Why?

First, the graphical display is of typical ChessBase standard: clean and elegant, which make prolonged use pleasant. Also, opening a broadcast game and switching to another is a matter of two small taps in most cases: one to go back to the list and another to open the game in question, which makes it quick and easy. Finally, if you have the ChessBase for Android app installed, you gain two invaluable functions: opening stats and the almighty engines. The ability to open a game, and consult an engine with a swipe is immensely useful as will be evident in the video.

That said, even if you do not have ChessBase for Android installed, you can still view all the broadcasts just fine, and the Playchess app is free.


Video demonstrating broadcasts on Playchess on a tablet

For those curious, the tablet in the video is an LG G Pad 8.3 inches, which I find to be the perfect size for chess and reading.

You can download the Playchess app here.

Scan the QR code above with your phone or tablet's camera to go straight to the Android Market link.

In the next article, I will cover playing blitz and lightning games online at Playchess and demonstrate the experience.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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