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on February 11, 2011
I just bought the program today, and played a few games. I'm a fairly good player, but I usually just play non-serious games. It seems to take about 1 second/move on level 7, and about 3 seconds/move on level 10 on my Kindle 2 USA model. It didn't make any howlingly bad moves, so if you're a beginner you should use the lower levels. There is also a mode to play another person instead of the program, and it has a 'how to play chess' and instructions.

Here are some things to consider:

Good things:
1) If you leave a game in the middle and put your Kindle to sleep, it remembers and gives you the option to resume the game the next time you open it, which is a nice feature.
2) It doesn't seem to suck up very much battery on my K2, which I was worried about.
3) It has a good display at the bottom which shows the pieces taken by each side and the moves in standard notation.
4) You can 'take back' moves which is good if you're a beginner. (OK, I cheat sometimes too when I'm fooling around trying different tactics.)

Poor things:
1) It doesn't seem to have book openings, as other reviewers have said, which is slightly annoying.
2) It likes to exchange pieces, even when losing (which is not a good tactic, and typical of some chess programs).
3) When you advance your pawn to the 8th rank, it automatically gives you a Queen instead of giving you an option as per the rules of chess (there are certain times when you don't want a Queen, such as when it results in an instant Stalemate).

Still, in spite of some of these, I liked it. It has a nice, clean interface, runs quickly, and doesn't seem to make any big obvious blunders.

So, if you like to play chess, I think it's priced just right and worth getting for playing a game when you're bored and don't feel like reading.
22 comments236 of 239 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 13, 2011
I used to be a serious chess player, with a USCF rating of about 1850. This is better than about 75% of tournament players, but a long way from a master. This program has ten levels. Up to level 4, it is very weak and easy for beginners and I won every game.. I lost a game at level 5, and won at 6 and 7. The game at level 7 was long and hard even though I used a regular chess set, which makes it easer to see the game. Above 7, I have managed only draws ( you can't actually draw with this program. I mean I reached positions where people would have agreed to a draw). It won't replace a PC program like Fritz, but it's a great travel companion for non-masters. And it is an incredible bargain at $3!
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on February 13, 2011
This is about the most basic chess app imaginable, and has the feel of something rushed to market without enough attention to 'fit and finish', or even thought as to what a chess player might expect to see.

For example,
- when promoting a pawn, no choice is offered as to what piece to promote to: it assumes you want a Queen. According to the rules of chess, you should be able to pick Q, B, N, or R.
- it does not detect when there's insufficient material on the board to checkmate. For example, when only the Kings are left on the board, it should offer/declare a draw rather than wait for repetition of moves or applying the 50-move rule.
- the move list shows only the last 4 move pairs, and does not use a standard chess notation.
- does not seem to vary its move selection from one game to the next, at least at the levels I played.
- in the initial position, cursor is positioned on a piece that cannot even be moved (the King). At least it should default to KP or QP.
- navigation with 5way is awkward as there's no way to move diagonally. Some keyboard shortcuts could help with this (e.g. set up a navigation 'diamond' centered on 's' such that 'q' moves up-left, 'w' up, 'e' up-left, 'z' down-left, 's' selects, etc.).

That said, it is the best chess app for Kindle - but only because it is the only one right now. A little extra effort could have made it better, and I hope we see a better attempt in the future..
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on February 19, 2011
This is a very cleanly designed and attractive Chess game for the Kindle. It plays to a reasonable standard, certainly as good as the electronic chess games I have, although not as well as dedicated commercial computer versions, (as expected). For the price it represents great value, and a good challenge for those who like Chess at a casual level. I'd wanted a Chess game for my Kindle ever since active content games started to become available, and this does not disappoint. It's not perfect as others have mentioned - there are some improvements that could be made, but for the price this game fits the bill very well.
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on February 11, 2011
As a avid chess player, this has been the only app that I have truely been waiting for and it does not disappoint! The engine and graphics both are more than sufficient for me to enjoy my favorite game. I absolutely love the kindle and the growth of quality apps expands the useability of this ereader! What a great game and for only $3, you'll get hours of quality play! OSLS and kindle hit a home run as far as I'm concerned! Thank you!
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on February 11, 2011
I bought this program and have played a few games. Although the game are fun, the game lacks one big component-an opening book. It simply opens the game with the best move it can make. SO, if you are a better chess player, the game will not play any of the standard openings.

Even at level 10, a mid ranked chess player (say 1200 or so) can beat it every time (so long as you pay attention).

For that reason, I rated it only 2 stars.
22 comments22 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 22, 2011
This chess app reminds me of the one for apple 2e computers. Its not terribly good at chess, does not understand draw (lack of material), does not understand promotion, and apparently uses a short fixed time slice to compute its moves (meaning: the more stuff on the board, the easier it is to confuse the computer out of a couple of pieces).

If the computer lasts that long, on a simplified board (pawns and bishops for example), it can do decently.

The computer tries to use the center counter defense as black, which if not played by a master level player, is an immediate loss (its tricky to play this well, its used to cream poor players by bored experts) -- basicaly the computer loses on its third move.

If this software is fixed, so that it lets you promote properly, has a randomized move list so its not up to the human to make variety between games, learns just a few opening moves, and admits to draw by lack of material (easy: need at least 6 points of material or a pawn), it would be pretty good. It looks nice, and its not too hard to move (could use a diagonal button though).

Final verdict: not bad for the price, and its something to do when stuck out and about without an e-book, but for a chess game, its pretty weak. For all you kids, if you want to know what us old folks had, if you imagine this game on an old black and white computer monitor, this is exactly like what we had in 1985.
0Comment16 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 3, 2011
I'm compelled to take the time this morning to let potential purchasers know just how impressed I am with Oak Systems (the publisher/developer of this application).

I started using the Chess application on my 3rd generation kindle when at the completion of my game I was unable to get the kindle to sleep. In fact I had to do a hard restart, expecting it would be fine after that I tried again, and again after my game I was unable to sleep the kindle again.

I was a bit frustrated but figured something was wrong, not sure what to do I sent the developer an email via their 10pm...on a Saturday.

You can imagine my surprise when my inbox contained a personal response Sunday morning!

The team at Oak Systems helped me out (ended up being a bad install, simple re-install and I was fine), but that's not what I'm writing about. Simply put I've paid hundreds (and thousands in some cases) for personal and professional software with 1/1000th of the support this firm provided for a $2.99 game.

Some of those publishers could take a lesson or two from this firm. Treat customers with respect and show concern, it's a lost art, but not lost on these guys.

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on January 12, 2012
At first I was very excited to see a chess game available for Kindle. Now I regret ever having gotten it. I consider myself an "advanced" beginner, but even on Level 1, the game is too hard to beat! (I should have paid attention to other reviews that also mentioned this...) I have only beaten it once on Level 1 and never again. It's very frustrating. (>_<)

This Kindle chess game is definitely not for beginners or people who want to learn chess for the very first time. Not being able to win games on the lowest (supposedly the "easiest") level will quickly become very demoralizing. I have seen other chess programs that start with an "introduction" level or a "child" level and gradually increases the difficulty in subsequent levels... Not this chess program. After a couple of months trying to beat the extremely difficult Level 1, I finally ended up deleted the program from my Kindle.
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on March 25, 2011
My initial thoughts on the chess program were very positive. I soon realized that on the first few levels (1-6 out of 10) that the computer will always make the same moves in response to your moves, which means that the game lacks any real depth (at those levels anyway) In fact, I discovered that I could beat the computer every time on levels 1-6 with the following sequence of moves (I play White):

1 e2-e4 d7-d5
2 e4-e5 b8-c6
3 d2-d4 e7-e6
4 g1-f3 f8-b4 White is in check
5 c2-c3 b4-e7
6 f1-b5 c8-d7
7 e1-g1 c6-e5
8 f3-e5 d7-b5 White captures knight
9 d1-f3 b5-f1 Black captures rook
10 f3-f7 Checkmate: White wins.

This sequence can be executed every time on levels 1-6 with exactly the same results. I tried it on level 7 and the computer finally realized the threat and defended against the checkmate, but I still won the game anyway. I believe that the computer puts too much emphasis on attacking and not enough emphasis is put on sacrificing pieces to obtain better board position. Of course a sacrife means nothing if it's not accepted and people who play at an advanced level understand this and are not as prone to take the bait the way this program is. Most of the games that I've won were won when the computer had a significant advantage in pieces captured.

Also, though I've yet to experience this, the option to promote a pawn to anything other than a queen is not available. There are times when a knight would be a better choice for setting up a check or checkmate.

Still, for the price it is a nice pastime and a great way to introduce the basic concepts of stratagey, but not for the serious chess player.
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