There are a plethora of chess games in BlackBerry World and at times it is a daunting task to find one that stands out from the rest. By no means am I an expert but I grew up playing and still enjoy it when there is time. I briefly touched up on the features of the free version of Chess-wise in the roundup and how it is a nice little app for serious or novice players. Since then, the developer released a brand new version with enhancements, fixes, and split it into a free and pro version which can be unlocked with an in-app purchase. This time, my focus will be the Pro Version.
The first thing you notice is clean and friendly interface. While it does not employ 3D graphics for the board or pieces, it does allow for fast animation, captured pieces to fade away, and offers a choice between different sets of pieces depending on which version you have.
What sets this apart from other games is the FICS integration. FICS stands for Free Internet Chess Server and through this application you can play online as a guest, observe games, chat with online players and create a friend list among other features. It is quite a nice option to have especially for viewing games played by masters.
- Play a game: Play either against the engine, or against someone else with or without a clock
- Online: Chess-wise contains an interface to the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS). Play online against other people, get a rating or observe games played by masters
- Analyze: Chess-wise contains a separate screen for analyzing positions. You can try out side variations and return to the main line with a simple tap on the corresponding move in the move list. You can ask the engine for an evaluation, or look up the ECO code for a position
- Setup: You can setup a position using an intuitive interface
- Tablebase: And as long as there are no more than 6 pieces on the board, the exact evaluation is shown below the board. A really unique feature!
- Replay: Look through the game you just played, and email the game notation, or copy it to the clipboard
- Database: Chess-wise contains a large database with over 78000 games from over 700 tournaments, and a PGN viewer to play through these games
- Exercises: Finally, there is a collection of 300 exercises which keeps track of which ones you've solved
- Annotate a game: Add comments and side-lines to a game
- Browse the opening book: See which opening lines are popular
- Endgame tablebases: Play the endgames perfectly
- Puzzles: Try to solve the puzzles without using a hint
- Player index: Check out the player info of hundreds of grandmasters
Another option that stands out is the database functionality. From here not only can you view and download professional games and tournaments, but browse through a player index, candidates and world championships. All are stored in the cloud, you simple tap to download and then you can view all of the items stored in that particle folder. You can even load the game and view the board to see all of the moves and actions performed.
One item that novices will appreciate is the Video section which houses tutorials for a range of users going from Basic to Advanced. If you are determined to learn the ins and outs of chess and improve your game I do recommend upgrading to the PRO version for $1.99.
- Perfect for players of all ages and levels
- Tutorials and videos for beginners and amateurs
- Teaches and allows you to learn from your chess mistakes
- Interface lets you switch to analysis mode fairly easily
- Interface and layout are rather simple and lack advanced graphics
The Bottom Line
There is a lot of potential with this application and the developer has been making updates regularly. Chess-wise is a Built for BlackBerry application that supports BlackBerry 10. It is chock full of features to help you get started or improve your strategy. From analyzing and annotating moves, to playing puzzles and loading, saving and emailing games, it is valuable companion app for all levels of players.