Most of us have suffered in an effort to study chess.  The only way to follow games and analysis was to set up a board, open a book and work through the text.  That is the start of the problems. Firstly the book will not remain open and we are continually trying to find the page and the position achieved.  We start moving the pieces around and then, after following some analysis, we have to replace the pieces to the positions they occupied before the analysis started.  It may be impossible to do this so we go back to the start of a game and work through until we reach that position.  Also, we accidentally place a piece on the wrong square and wonder why the author of the book is so silly.

Yes we have all been there and sometimes we are so frustrated that the book is closed and the pieces put back in the box.

What are we going to do?  Have faith, there is salvation at hand.

On Google Nexus 7 you can find several apps that cure the problems.  Here you can play through the text of the book and replicate the exact position that is being discussed.  Here is an example named "Forward Chess".



The first page we see on opening the application is a list of books available.

As you can see the books are very much up to date and can be purchased at a much cheaper cost than the hard copy of the book.

Many publishers are now alive to the fact that this is another way to market their products.  Chief among these are Everymans, but the others are catching up very quickly.  For example, the redoubtable John Nunn, who seems to be able to turn his expertise to everything, has designed an application that deals with "Gambit Books".  As yet this is not available on Google Nexus but, no doubt, this omission will soon be rectified.

So, click on a book and you will move onto another page:




Here is the business end of the application, showing a board and the text of the book we wish to study.  There is a board and the text of the book we have chosen.  Just a click on the text move will bring up the position so we indulge ourselves with some quite lengthy analysis and when this is finished, just another click puts us back to the position we were in the game.  Easy, isn't it?

Practically all applications of this nature have various settings in which you have a choice of boards etc and with some you can ring up an engine and check your own analysis or satisfy yourselves that the author is correct in his assessments.

So there you have it!  A simple way to study chess  that replaces the only wearisome manner that was available before the advent of computers and tablets. Now  you can fill in those otherwise unproductive commuting with either some serious study or entertaining reading instead of looking out of the window or reading the paper that the person sitting opposite is perusing.

It is significant that the price of these applications (if they are not free) and books offer a considerable saving over similar programmes that are available for computers.  This, I suspect is due to the ease of distribution and printing costs.  But book publishers have come to accept this as one way of  marketing their products and more books are appearing in this format.   

I would like to add a rider to the report on recording devices. 

Having spoken to some arbiters on the subject, it is likely that one objection might be that many young players work on a computer all the time and never use a board and pieces to study or prepare and thus the appearance of a board on a recording device, similar to that they have used, could be an advantage as they would analysis, from the device rather than looking at the board.  This may be a distraction to their opponent, and should there be a complaint it is likely to be upheld.

It would therefore be prudent, that if you wish to use a recording device you should check with the arbiter whether you can use it before play commences.


Bill Frost

April 2014

Part 4 Recording Moves

Part 3 An important chess application

Part 2 The applications

Part 1 The Tablet