Chess is enjoying a resurgence in popularity since the debut of the hit Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, with sales of chess boards spiking since the show’s release in 2020. But you don’t need a board to play – there are hundreds of apps available online to suit players of every level, whether you’re a beginner looking for a new lockdown activity, or an experienced player striving to be the next Magnus Carlsen. To celebrate World Chess Day on July 20, we’ve found the best chess apps to improve your game.
Chess.com boasts a community of over 60 million players around the world. You can meet new friends or catch up with old ones for a casual game or compete with thousands of players in tournaments online. The app analyses your games against computer opponents to identify where you can improve and offers more than 150,000 unique chess puzzles as part of an extensive suite of free and paid content that includes lessons, videos, articles and interactive tutorials to take your chess game to the next level.
The free chess app Lichess features a variety of playing modes including bullet, blitz, classical, and correspondence chess – as well as chess variants including Crazyhouse, Chess 960, King Of The Hill, Three-check, Antichess, Atomic chess, Horde and Racing Kings. With 150,000 users daily, you’ll find plenty of opponents to compete with alongside puzzles, game analysis and a board editor.
Chess Adventure for Kids
For younger players, Chess Adventure for Kids teaches children the basics of chess in a fun, magical world. Aspiring chess masters can embark on quests and battle more than 40 different fantasy bosses of all skill levels, solve more than 100,000 puzzles and play other kids online. A subscription is required to access all features.
What better way to improve your chess game than to train with the current world champion? Norwegian chess Grand Master Magnus Carlsen’s own app, Magnus Trainer, provides lessons based on real-life games by Carlsen and other leading chess players. While a subscription is required to access all features, Magnus Trainer caters to beginner and advanced players alike, with introductory lessons through to advanced tactics and strategies.
Really Bad Chess
Looking for something a bit different? The free app Really Bad Chess follows the same rules as the traditional game, but the pieces are random – you might find yourself starting with four bishops and two queens, or up against an opponent with seven knights. “For chess pros, Really Bad Chess will give you a new type of challenge,” said the app’s developer Zach Gage. “The pieces and the moves are the same, but you’ll have to throw out your openings and your understanding of normal patterns of play.”