Posted on April 2, 2019 by Wesley Surber

Review: Chess Studio for iOS

Apple likes to tout its iPad Pro and similar devices as laptop replacements. A few years ago I wouldn’t have entertained such a notion, but these days I’m doing more and more of my work and play on my iPad. In fact, my Macbook has been in a box for sale on Ebay for the past few months. My lower-budget Windows laptops tend to compliment my iPad device just as well. While Chessbase remains a staple of my chess database management, a new program has readily taken over much of my annotation and chess management work on the go: Chess Studio.

Full-Featured Chess Manager

Chess Studio proclaims itself to be the first program for iPhone and iPad to effectively manage portable game notation (PGN) files and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been using it for years and it’s hard for me to believe that I haven’t taken the time to write a review. So, here we go…

Replaying a game in Chess Studio. (Credit: Campfire Chess)

Chess Studio is obviously the brainchild of someone who loves chess and is equally as frustrated as I am with the lack of effective chess utilities on mobile devices. Once a PGN file is imported, it can be sorted, appended, and edited in an almost endless variety of ways. For me, this makes it an ideal application to use as a companion for reading electronic publications like Chess Life or the growing library of chess books available on Amazon’s Kindle.

Reading Chess Life alongside Chess Studio (Credit: US Chess/Campfire Chess)

As you can see from the image above, it works extremely well for playing through PGN games while reading the annotated publication. The ability to quickly add new variations, delete variations, add annotations, and make comments to games puts Chess Studio light years ahead of anything else currently available. The board is well designed with several color scheme options and chess fonts. There’s also an extensive settings panel that lets you show/hide coordinates, change some of the board’s basic behavior such as legal moves, and font size.

Adding annotations in Chess Studio. (Credit: Campfire Chess)

Note: My #1 issue with Chess Studio is the yellow background on the move list. I sent the developer a request to let users change that option and he assured me in a response that the option to change that color is coming in the future.

Capitalizing on New Tech

As I’ve mentioned in reviews for several new products including ChessNoteR, I love that chess tends to drive advancements in technology or unique utilizations of existing tech. Chess Studio is a nice program, but what really makes it a powerful utility is its integration with the rest of the Apple iOS ecosystem.

Accessing a PGN file from another app. (Credit: Campfire Chess)

The image above shows how Chess Studio integrates itself into the shared items menu throughout iOS. PGN files detected by the operating system are provided an option to copy themselves directly into the program. That’s how I access files from The Week in Chess and Chess Life. This makes it nearly effortless to import files into Chess Studio.

Final Verdict

Chess Studio is an excellent program for chess players and enthusiasts on the go. It’s well-supported and under continued development, unlike many of the programs rotting away on the Apple Store and Google Play. Well worth the purchase!

Posted on April 1, 2019 by Wesley Surber

Nakamura and Yu are US Champions!

Another US Chess Championship has come and gone with GM Hikaru Nakamura claiming his 5th national championship title! There was a last minute push by former champion GM Fabiano Caruana, but he was unable to hold off a draw with GM Sam Shankland. Going into the tournament final, Nakamura and Caruana were tied with Leinier Dominguez for first place, but Nakamura was able to pound out a fine win to reclaim the title.

I was impressed with Nakamura’s performance considering that he also streamed regularly on his Twitch channel during the competition!

Just two days prior, 17-year old Jennifer Yu improved over her 2018 6.5/11 result to claim the title of 2019 US Women’s Chess Champion. Yu’s play was as solid as anything we’ve ever seen from her; solidifying her place among the great modern female chess players.

Congratulations to both players for a job well done! Read more on the official press releases (Nakamura)(Yu) on the official US Chess website.