The Fabulous 10’s: iPhone Chess Educational Software “Chess U” Gains Momentum

Chess U on the iTunes Store

Our product Chess U has gained traction on the iTunes store.    It’s a way to take guided quizzes to increase chess knowledge on openings, endgames, and classic games by famous grandmasters.  As some readers have noticed, at its foundation it is simply an advanced PGN reader.  Then we add on the quiz elements and competition elements such as ratings, quiz scores, and graduation diplomas.

The free course is called Attack 101.  This comes with the product.  It goes over basic attacking techniques by examining and taking quizzes based on tussles I’ve had with strong players such as Petursson, Dzindzihashvili, and others.  The first paid course we put together is Rook Endgames 101.  It costs $0.99.  Apple gets some of that.🙂   The Rook Endgames is 16 classic positions ranging from Rook versus Pawn or two pawns to Rook and Pawn versus Rook.  All the classic themes are in there:  the Philidor Defense, stalemate tricks, the Saavedra study, building a bridge, cutting off the king, and so on.  The Rook Endgames course is currently available in our most recent product build, which is Version 1.0.1.    In Apple jargon, it is an “in-app purchase.”  The user downloads the free Chess U and the free course Attack 101 and then has the opportunity to buy Rook Endgames 101.   Hot on its heels is Play Like Anand 101.  Here, we have taken 10 of World Champion Vishy Anand’s most spectacular games and built quizzes based on the key moments.  It’s surprising how many difficult defenses the opponents missed in even the seemingly most one-sided of victories.   We will also canvass guest strong player authors for their own selection of instructive quizzes.   The basic course themes are:

  • Openings
  • Endgames
  • Famous Players

Sample Course Walkthrough:  Rook Endgames 101

The user sees this welcome screen to start with (going over the various topics):

Welcome Screen, Rook Endgames 101

Starting the course reveals 16 Lessons.

16 Lessons in Rook Endgames 101

The next screen shows a quiz decision point for the user.  This is one of the early lessons covering the decision (from the inferior side’s point of view) of whether or not to trade down into a pure King and Pawn endgame starting from a Rook and Pawn versus Rook ending.
Quiz Decision point in a Rook Endgames 101 Lesson
The user proceeds through the 16 Lessons and at the end has the option of generating a diploma upon successful graduation.
Here’s our banner ad if you would like to use it on your own web page.

Here’s a magazine print ad.

Banner Ad

Future Plans

Before talking about porting to other platforms, the first things are:

  • Create a custom iPad build to use the full iPad screen real estate. Currently it runs on the iPad but in “2X” magnification mode – that is to say, twice the zoom of the standard iPhone view.
  • More Courses
  • More User Testing
Astute users have already noticed it works quite well as a native PGN reader sans quizzes.  This means it would do quite well at processing regular Internet chess game feeds.  More on this later.

For More Information and Social Media Activity

To see more, and to “Facebook Like” it, or to “Twitter Follow” us, go to our web site.  This also has our most recent “tweets” (product/course announcements and advance news on new features).

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