Chess on tablets: Playing on Playchess

by Albert Silver
7/27/2014 – It is one o'clock in the morning and you just wanted a quickie before turning off the light? No problem. You can do it at a desk with a computer of course, but with a tablet you can do it in bed, just as if you were reading a book. Have a fifteen minute break during work? To scratch that chess itch while you sip some coffee or tea, just start the Playchess app. See how in this video.

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While chess is fun, blitz is addictive. There is no question about it. The allure of the game's infinite layers with the adrenaline rush and quick gratification were understood from the very earliest days of the chess clock, and anecdotes behind players such as Mikhail Tal abounded. In one story, while he was hospitalized, he escaped from his room to the nearest chess club where he was found playing blitz in his hospital pyjamas. This happened more than once. Had he been alive today, there would have been no need with tablets and smartphones offering round-the-clock opponents from all over the world.

Bobby Fischer enjoying a blitz game against Tigran Petrosian at the Moscow Central Chess Club

Being able to play blitz online is hardly new of course, but what tablets or smartphones bring is more than the convenience of portability, it is a slight change in the interaction and the way you play. One of the biggest problems with playing at a computer is the mouse. This may seem strange, since we have grown so used to them, but they create a degree of separation from you and the board. In a tablet, you remove that barrier and are back to directly moving the pieces yourself.


Video demonstrating how to play blitz or bullet games 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 studying chess games on ChessBase for Android 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.
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semprun semprun 7/30/2014 10:40
Yes, I have an iPad too... and ICC and Hiarcs work great on it...
anairo anairo 7/29/2014 03:41
IPads are an important share of tablets users. Please dont leave us behind!!
Ananke Ananke 7/28/2014 01:56
Unfortunately I have to agree with tkokesh. The iPad version crashes frequently and you constantly have to log out and in again to get a game. The clock is not visible enough / there is no time warning so bullet chess is out of the question. Updates and bug fixes are infrequent. Your competitors are racing ahead, which is a shame.
akhairat akhairat 7/27/2014 01:34
I had a very good experience using both (PlayChess and Chessbase) apps on my previous Android phone, but unfortunately after migrating to WindowsPhone, I was disappointed to know that you do not have versions for my new phone OS :(.
tkokesh tkokesh 7/27/2014 12:52
Someday, maybe Playchess will bother putting out a compelling version for the iPhone/iPad; the current version is almost unusable. (Same for the ChessBase app.) I have trouble believing that the Android version is any better.

And seriously, who designed your UI? Helen Keller?