Good for Novices
Have you always wanted to learn how to play chess? Perhaps you know a thing or two about it but could use to improve your game. Regardless of your skill level, Spark Chess has something in store for you. Novices, for instance, can take advantage of the app's intuitive interface. Touch a piece on the board and all of the spaces it can move to lights up. Changed your mind? Mix up your game tactics by switching to a different game piece or undoing a move. Learn new strategies and find attack opportunities by taking advantage of a myriad of nifty features. For instance, there's a move analysis that displays which side controls what squares, an overlay that helps you see what squares are safe to move to and even a "Help Me Move" feature that identifies your optimal move.
Before facing a real life opponent, you can try pitting your wits against the AI on Casual mode to build your confidence. When you're able to consistently beat beginner-level Cody, then it may be time to try playing against clever Claire, eventually moving on to chess guru Boris.
Great for Experienced Players
Don't be taken by surprise. Be on top of things by keeping an eye on the flow of the match. The moves taken are listed at the right hand corner of the screen and captured pieces are displayed right under each player's name. If you want to take a look at how the match has progressed, the app comes with a Replay feature (with PGN support) which lets you go as far back as the start of a match.
Now, if you want to skip ahead a few turns to see how a particular setup would progress, you are allowed to edit the board by adjusting the pieces. That way, you can simulate plays and see how opponents could respond to a particular strategy. Another nifty option is the ability to save an active game. This gives you the chance to halt a match midway, formulate a new strategy over, say, a snacks or a smoothie, and then continue where you've left things off. Once a game is saved, it will be stored in an archive, ready to be fired up as many times as you like. So, in case things still go badly after you've employed your brilliant new tactic, you can simply try again from the same midway point. You can save multiple matches and also overwrite your saves once you're ready to move on.
Think you're ready to face real opponents? If that's the case then you may want to take advantage of Spark Chess' no fuss multiplayer function. See how you stack up against the competition by searching for an opponent with a similar score or filter the list to display only those in the same country. If you've been wondering whether or not your neighbor "Bob" is as good at chess as he says he is, you can even search by subnet. This displays people with a similar IP address -- likely people who live in the same apartment as you. The best part is that you do not need to sign up or confirm anything to play, you can simply connect and get right into the action. It even features a leader board which gets updated hourly.
Spark Chess may not have gorgeous graphics or be endorsed by the greats but it suits novices and intermediate players alike. It is an impressive learning tool, what with the myriad of features that give you full control over how your game progresses. Board analysis for instance, lets you get a better feel of the game and find new ways to cover your weaknesses. Play it here if you're serious about improving your game and you don't mind paying a bit for the nifty features.