Chess has moved quickly to maintain a presence in this modern world.  Equipment has been produced in modern materials which have considerably reduced the cost of boards and pieces and brought the purchase of these well within the budget of normal chess players.  Clocks have gone through various periods of development, starting with sand timers, wooden mechanical clocks and now digital battery operated appliances which can be set to a multitude of timings.  Controllers can now arm themselves with computer programmes that can produce pairings and placings for the most complicated Swiss tournaments in a matter of seconds.  Players skills can be assessed by the application of mathematical formulas  etc. etc.

However, there is one aspect of competitive chess that has virtually remained the same for hundreds of the years - the recording of moves played in a game.  Alright, it can be claimed the quill was replaced by a metal nib, that was in turn replaced by fountain pens and latterly ball pointed pens, but paper has remained the same and recording is still a matter of human endeavour.

This has led to many problems, not the least being bad lithography that makes the moves understandable only to the person who did the recording.  Pity the poor reporter that has to use these bits of paper to bring to the attention of the world an otherwise hidden masterpiece.  It is also a problem with handicapped players who have a problem writing or writing legibly.

Now, however, there are some electronic solutions possible which mostly involve entering moves on a board showing on a tablet or a telephone in much the same way as using Chessbase or any other chess application.  Here is one such application, together with specification and operating instructions:-

Chess Score Pad
Electronic Chess Scoresheet for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad



For chess players who want the ease and accuracy of an electronic scoresheet at an affordable price, now there is Chess Score Pad. Chess Score Pad is designed to be easy to use because we know that you need to concentrate on your game.

You record your moves, email the PGN file to your desktop computer and import the PGN file into your chess database (ChessBase, HIARCS Chess Explorer, ...) for analysis.

iPhone Demo Video iPad Demo Video
iPhone Port


User Guides

Chess Score Pad

Chess Score Pad Tournament Edition


iPhone / iPod User Guide


iPhone / iPod User Guide


iPad User Guide


iPad User Guide

Designed for casual use

  • The app does not enforce Airplane Mode.
  • Games can be edited at any time.
  • There are options to check for illegal moves or positions.


Designed for tournaments

  • Games cannot started unless Airplane Mode is turned on.
  • Once you begin to enter moves you must enter the results of the game before you exit, or the game will be marked "Abandoned" and locked from further editing.
  • Once the results have been entered, you cannot edit the moves or the results using Chess Score Pad. You can edit and annotate the game after you email the PGN to your PGN database.
  • There are no options to check for illegal moves or positions.
  • Designed and written by a chess player who averages over 100 USCF rated tournament games a year.
  • Games can be emailed as a PGN (Portable Game Notation) file attachment that can be loaded into your chess database. The email body (text or HTML) includes the game notation to review or print.
  • Universal App for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for one low price.
  • Supports portrait and landscape orientation with LEFT and RIGHT hand landscape layouts to make the best of cramped tournament conditions.
  • Quick and easy setup:
    • You can start entering moves without entering any information about the game.
    • The "Next Game of Event" action copies the event name and increments the round number.
    • You only need to enter your opponents name and your name is automatically entered.
    • You can select frequent opponents from your contacts or type in their name.
    • Your pieces are automatically placed at the bottom of the screen.
  • All moves are automatically saved. There is no chance of losing the moves you entered because you did not tap a save button.
  • Move entry by dragging OR tapping the piece. Both options are always available.
  • Straightforward move correction. (See demo video)
  • Review moves with single move buttons or the live position slider to quickly find critical positions for review after the game. You can also use a swipe gesture to review moves.
  • Options to check for legal moves and positions (Not available on Tournament Edition).
  • Adjust your screen brightness from the board view with swipe gestures.
  • Print a scoresheet with a position diagram to an AirPrint printer.
  • Option to include the time spent on each move in the scoresheet notation.
  • Localization for English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish.
  • Option for long (♘g1-e2) or short (♘ge2) notation.
  • Option for Figurine algebraic notation (♘f3) or Standard algebraic notation (Nf3) .

Chess Score Pad is an electronic scoresheet to record your moves during a chess game. It does not provide analysis. It is not certified so check with your tournament director before using it in a tournament.

Keeping a score sheet is required for tournament games and essential in order to review your games to improve. Keeping a paper scoresheet distracts you from your game and they are prone to errors. Then the game needs to be manually copied into your chess game database. With Chess Score Pad there is no need to translate the move to the coordinates or risk forgetting to record a move. You simply drag or tap the piece to the new square. Then, after the game you can email the PGN file of the game and import it to your chess game database for analysis and review. Between games at a tournament it is easy to find critical positions to review with the live position slider. If you need a hard copy of the game you can print to an AirPrint printer or the email contains a the algebraic notation record of the game.

 All very useful information not only to provide the tournament director with a score sheet, but also provide a record of the game that can be transferred to a computer in order to carry out an analysis etc.  Could anyone object to this?  This app has already been used in tournaments with a number of provisos.  Firstly the appliance must be approved by the tournament director and he will be looking for any function that will transgress the laws of chess such as:-

Is there a method of game analysis available?

There is no option available that will check for illegal moves - this is a matter for the players to identify, not a machine.

Will the appliance make allowance for the time normally used in recording moves by the normal manual process?

These are just some of the reservations an arbiter must consider when assessing a request that a game recorder be used.  A main consideration must be that an analysis of a position is not available.  In modern days electronic methods of providing a player with such information is becoming increasingly available.  It has been recorded that a player has been receiving information whilst playing, by means of an appliance placed in his shoes and read by his toes!  No one could blame an arbiter for being suspicious of an application to the extent of not allowing it to be used.

A few years ago (I am relying on memory) there was an application that had the universal approval of arbiters and was used extensively in several international tournaments.  In fact a tournament was sponsored by the makers of this particular game recorder.  For some reason it then disappeared and I have no record of it being used since and no explanation was available on why this action was taken.

Is it now beyond the resources of the makers of game recorders to persuade FIDE on all aspects of the fitness for purpose of such electronic aids as I feel sure that it's benefits far outweigh the reservations against its use.  If FIDE were to tackle this problem and make such a pronouncement I am sure that it would benefit the game as a whole.

Bill Frost

6th February 2014. 

Other articles in this series:

Part 3 An important chess application

Part 2 The applications

Part 1 The Tablet