Chess With Friends review

The first thing you should know about Chess With Friends is that it does not require you to have any friends with whom to play chess. Chess With Friends or Random Acquaintances would be a cumbersome name, but it would be one that described the app best – and highlighted its appeal. It’s the next best thing to wandering down to the park or local café and sitting down with a stranger for a game.

Getting started is the hardest part about Chess with Friends. The sign-up process is somewhat clunky. You need to provide an email address, and then once you’ve logged in, you create a game by tapping the Create Game button on the app’s home screen or by touching the plus sign in the upper right corner of the page. Then you can choose an opponent from your contact list or select Random Opponent to find a stranger to play against – the app will search out another opponent available for play. Alternatively, you can choose Pass and Play, which simply lets you hand off your device to a friend for a local game.

Gameplay mechanics are straightforward. Simply tap the piece you want to move. The app will show you which squares are open to you. Tap the square where you want to go and hit the Submit button.

If you are accustomed to speed chess, then Chess With Friends is definitely not for you. Although we’ve played a few games in which our opponent was actively engaged, the app is really about leisure chess: make a move and then wait an hour or two – or even longer – for your opponent’s next move.

The app is not very good at alerting you to your next turn. In theory, the app’s home screen icon should show you how many moves are awaiting your attention. In practice, however, you need to open the app for your games to update.

OUR VERDICT

It’s also impossible to know just how many players are online and looking for a game. You are left at the mercy of the app to find an opponent for you. Why not embrace the social networking concept completely and let players choose?

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