The Fabulous 00s: Strong Chess on your Phone!

On your iPhone more particularly – Glaurung and Shredder!

Glaurung is a very strong and free program available from the iPhone “Apps Store.”  I will post some Glaurung games that I contested on my iPhone 3g – it lets you save the games on the phone as PGN!  What progress in the field of computer chess – a program in excess of 2500 USCF strength running on a slim svelte iPhone – I am very impressed!   It allows “takebacks” so hapless humans can takeback many times…. and still not win.   One of the nice features is that when the human taps on the piece to move, the computer draws blue dots on the screen of all that piece’s legal move destinations.  Then the human just taps on one of the blue dots.  The iPhone relies on human finger tapping, not a Treo-style stylus.

“flyer” on ICC also alerted me to Shredder on the iPhone:  “Shredder for iPhone is available now…it rates your play, has a million-move opening book, and 1,000 exercises…though I’m not sure how strong it is :-)”

And again “flyer”:   flyer (18:28 06-Apr-09 EDT): Cyber Chess Ultimate let’s you play on ICC!:


Here Comes Technology

Oh some chess?  A Snappy Caro-Kann Gamelet

The point of this site (besides robot cartoons) is chess (and nominally, chess history). I like the word ‘gamelet’.  It was used a lot in Reinfeld and Chernev books.  Here’s an ICC blitz gamelet

[Event “ICC blitz”]
[Site “cyberverse”]
[Date “2009.04.14”]
[White “aries2”]
[Black “chessIPO1”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B18”]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. N1e2!? A great blitz weapon.


7…e6 8. Nf4 Bh7 9. Bc4 Nf6 10. Qe2 Nd5 11. c3


 11…Be7? A weak move that gives white the g7 point to attack.  An interesting try is 11… Qd6!? that wound up as a draw in two example database games.

On the other hand, 11… Nxf4?! 12. Bxf4 Bd6 13. Qg4 Bxf4 14. Qxg7 Ke7 15. Nh5! is bad for black and white duly won, 1-0 Rubinetti,J-Benko,F/Buenos Aires 1965.

12. Ngh5! O-O?! Another misstep.  Correct is the cold-blooded 12… Rg8! and now, for example, 13. O-O!? Bxh4! 14. Re1 Be7 15. Qe5 Kf8 16. Nxe6+ fxe6 17. Nf4 Bf5 18. Nxe6+ Bxe6 19. Qxe6 Qd7 20. Qe4 Na6 21. Qf3+ and now the computer indicates a fantastic defense resource: 21…Bf6! 22. Bxh6 Rh8 23. Bd2 Kg8! and black holds.

13. Qg4 I did not consider (but should have) the tricky 13. Bxd5!? exd5! (13… cxd5? 14. Nxg7! Kxg7 15. Qe5+ f6 (15… Kg8 16. Nh5 f6 17. Qg3+ forces resignation) 16. Nxe6+ Kh8 17. Qg3 Rg8 18. Nxd8 Rxg3 19. fxg3 Bxd8 20. Bxh6 with a big ending edge) 14. Qe5 f6! (14… Bf6? 15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 16. Qxf6 gxf6 17. Rh3 is horrible for black) 15. Qe3 Qe8 and black holds on; hard-to-see defense!

13… Bf6 14. Nxg7! A standard, but aesthetic, blow.  With colors reversed, Beliavsky once landed this tactic against ex-WC Karpov on the g2 square in a stodgy QGD and won as black! I recommend that the readers consult the excellent book “Uncompromising Chess” by Beliavsky to improve their game.

14…Bxg7 15. Nh5 Bg6 16. Nxg7 Kxg7 17. h5 Nf6


Position after 17…Nf6.  An interesting moment. 

18. Bxh6+?! I didn’t consider the very strong 18. Qg3! Ne4 (18… Rh8 19. hxg6 fxg6 20. Bf4 Nbd7 21. Bd3 Qe8 22. O-O-O and white wins) 19. Qe5+ Qf6 20. Bxh6+ Kxh6 21. hxg6+ Kg7 22. Rh7+ Kg8 23. Qxe4 Qxg6 24. Qxg6+ fxg6 25. Rxb7 and it’s all over.  The text allows black a surprising way to wriggle out to near-equality.

18… Kxh6 19. hxg6+ Kg7 20. Qg5!  White can go wrong with the unsound 20. Rh7+??  Nxh7 21. gxh7+ Kh8! and white can resign.


Position after 20. Qg5! —  Decision time.

20… fxg6? 20… Rh8!! is a great defense. 21. gxf7+ Kxf7 22. O-O-O Na6 (just getting stuff out) 23.
Qe5 Nd5! (23… Qd7? 24. Rxh8 Rxh8 25. g4 with a big initiative) 24. Bxa6 bxa6 25. c4 Nb6 26. Rde1
Qf6 27. Qc7+ Qe7 28. Qxc6 Rac8 29. Qf3+ Qf6 30. Qxf6+ Kxf6 31. c5 Nd5 32. Kd2 and white can pretend to have a small edge here.

21. Rh6 Now white wins.

21…Qe8 22. Bd3 Nh7 23. Rxg6+ Kh8 24. Qh6 For some reason the stronger check, 24. Qe5+!, did not come to my mind.  After 24… Rf6 25. Rh6 white wins.  When I played this move, I had in mind the nice game continuation, but it’s not forced.

24… Qf7 25. Rf6! 1-0 A pleasing end to a pleasing gamelet.  Black is caught in a cross pin and resigns.


Final position after 25. Rf6!

What’s on the Horizon

We all know Ilya Nyzhnyk (up and coming 12 year old prodigy who needs a vowel).  Who’s after him?  Here are some more youthful Russian prodigies.


Actually as an ethnic quiz identify the NON-Russian in the above photo.

And To Conclude – Some Reader Queries

Some readers were asking, “is it true sushi is served sometimes with real gold leaf?”  Yes it is. For example, on Avenue A in New York City, “Le Miou”.


That’s real gold leaf!  Nutritious?  Dunno, probably not.

Others were asking, “What’s the best looking motorcycle cruiser?”  I would vote for the Victory 8-ball.


Victory 8-ball.  Best Looking?

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6 Responses to “The Fabulous 00s: Strong Chess on your Phone!”

  1. Richard Reich Says:

    Chess Genius 2.0 is also available for itouch [or iphone] although Glaurong claims to be stronger. I am unsure about this and the claimed 2500 rating (I am USCF 1854):

    MG Note: if I limit myself to 5 to 10 seconds per move, Glauring is significantly stronger than me. I should amend the 2500 rating to include the fact I am spending no more than 10 seconds per move.

    [Event “?”]
    [Site “?”]
    [Date “2009.04.02”]
    [Round “?”]
    [White “Glaurung”]
    [Black “Reich, Richard/Rybka Centaur”]
    [Result “0-1”]
    [ECO “D09”]
    [PlyCount “150”]

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. g3 Nge7 6. Bg2 Ng6 7. O-O Ngxe5 8.
    Nxe5 Nxe5 9. Bf4

    MG Note 9. b3! is stronger. This was the focus of an “SOS” (book series published by New in Chess) contribution I made in the Albin CounterGambit section. After 9. b3! it’s a very narrow path for black equality.
    Ng6 10. Qa4+ $146 (10. e3 Nxf4 11. exf4 Be7 12. Nd2 O-O 13.
    Re1 Re8 14. Nf3 c5 15. b4 Bf6 16. Qd3 Rxe1+ {1/2-1/2 Heedt,T (2220)-Leisebein,
    P (2236)/IECG email 2005/Corr 2008}) (10. Bc1 Be7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. Nf3 Bf6 13.
    Qc2 c5 14. Rd1 Qb6 15. Bg5 Re8 16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. b4 Bf5 18. Qb2 b6 19. Nh4 Be4
    20. Bxe4 Rxe4 21. Nxg6 hxg6 22. bxc5 bxc5 23. Re1 Rae8 24. Qc2 Qe6 25. Kf1 Qh3+
    26. Kg1 R4e5 27. Qa4 Qe6 28. Qxa7 Qxc4 29. Rac1 Qd5 30. Qa4 d3 31. Rcd1 c4 32.
    e3 c3 33. Qa3 Rc8 34. Qa6 Rd8 35. Qa3 d2 36. Re2 Qf3 37. Kf1 Qh1# {0-1 Vass,D
    (1870)-Magyar,A (2245)/Zalakaros 2008/CBM 124 Extra}) 10… Bd7 11. Qc2 Nxf4
    12. gxf4 Qf6 13. Qe4+ Be7 14. Qxb7 Rd8 15. Qxc7 Bd6 16. Qb7 Bxf4 17. Qe4+ Be6
    18. Qc6+ Kf8 19. Rd1 Qe5 20. Kf1 g6 21. Qb5 Kg7 22. Qxe5+ Bxe5 23. c5 Rb8 24.
    Rd2 Rhd8 25. c6 d3 26. Nc3 dxe2+ 27. Rxe2 Bc4 28. Na4 Bxe2+ 29. Kxe2 Rb4 30. f4
    Bxf4 31. b3 Rd2+ 32. Kf3 g5 33. h3 h5 34. Bf1 g4+ 35. hxg4 hxg4+ 36. Kxg4 Be5+
    37. Kf3 Bxa1 38. Nc3 Rb6 39. c7 Rc6 40. Ne4 Rd4 41. Ng3 Rxc7 42. Nf5+ Kf6 43.
    Nxd4 Bxd4 44. Ke4 Bb2 45. Bd3 Rc3 46. Bb5 Kg5 47. Bd7 Ba3 48. Kd4 Rc2 49. Bb5
    Rxa2 50. Bf1 f5 51. Bd3 f4 52. Ke5 f3 53. Ke4 f2 54. Kf3 a5 55. Bf1 Ra1 56.
    Kxf2 Rxf1+ 57. Kxf1 Kf4 58. Ke2 Ke4 59. Kd2 Kd4 60. Kc2 Bb4 61. Kb2 Kd3 62. Kc1
    Kc3 63. Kd1 Kxb3 64. Ke2 a4 65. Kd3 a3 66. Kd4 a2 67. Ke5 a1=Q+ 68. Kf5 Qe1 69.
    Kg6 Qe5 70. Kf7 Kc4 71. Kg6 Kd5 72. Kh7 Qf6 73. Kg8 Ke6 74. Kh7 Bf8 75. Kg8
    Qg7# 0-1

    There is also an interesting app with 1200 problems by Leonid Yudasin called ChessQuest. Well worth the $5, but the claim of great accuracy is dubious; several problems have dual solutions and one had 2 black dark squared bishops.
    The problems on the basic level (ELO 600-1100) sometimes require 9 ply of analysis! The Russian/Israeli 1100 players must be cery underated!

    I think the strongest PDA program by far is Hiarcs12 for Palm. Great service from Mark Uniacke, who told me that an iPhone version may be forthcoming.

  2. Granny O'Doul Says:

    I don’t think 10 Qa4+ is worth $146.

  3. Richard Reich Says:

    Mark, which volume of SOS does your article appear in?

    Looks like Volume 2. I contributed to the Albin Chapter.

  4. Jeff Kastner Says:

    Anyone know of any free apps fro the Blackberry phone? I have the Blackberry Curve.

  5. EJ Says:

    I should lend you my ChessGenius on the Palm as ask for your assessment of that.

    – Enrique

    At 5-10 sec per move for the human, I would guess that it, too, is stronger than me (just like Glaurung). What we really need is a Genius-Glaurung 10 sec per move match on the Palm, but how to arrange engine/engine matches on a Palm?

  6. Richard Reich Says:

    There is now also a Fritz for iTouch which claims a”Grandmaster” rating of 2320 (!). It seems weaker than Glaurung to me. I do not know a way to automate matches between a Palm and iTouch, but a testing of Chess Genius, Hiarcs12, Fritz, Glaurung, Fritz and Shredder is in order.
    One annoying thing about Fritz is that it won’t let you email the games in PGN to yourself, easing analysis on your PC or mac. If Mark Uniacke does port Hiarcs to the iTouch my guess is that he’ll test and publish the results (especially if they are favorable!).

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