Developer: Tom Kerrigan
Price: $7.99 Download on the App Store
Chess terrifies me. I learned to play when I was only 7-years old and in the too-many years since, I can count the number of games I've won on my right hand (that's the one I almost lost fixing a combine harvester on my granddaddy's farm).
Still, I soldier on, trying to learn to play well enough to beat someone —anyone. t Chess Pro, from Tom Kerrigan, promises to help me work on my game. I can see using this to play against the iPhone while I'm waiting at the doctor's office, riding the rails or waiting for a friend to buy me lunch.
t Chess Pro — yes, that's how the developer named it — has a number of special features that rank amateurs can use to develop their skills. It uses algorithms that simulate dopey players like me who can only think one move ahead without getting cramps. It will also play at the intermediate and advanced levels that only people like Stephen Hawking can appreciate.
Some of the features I particularly like are the "analysis" and "hint" modes that enable me to see how well I'm doing against the machine and to get recommendations for what moves to make. It's sorta like having Bobby Fischer, if he were alive, as my weird and happy-go-lucky sidekick.
In addition to the robust playing strength of the game and the helpful analysis features, t Chess Pro also has a wide variety of settings including chess clocks, time control, sounds, animations and more. I can't think of much else you might want it to do. It has the same all the features of desktop chess programs I've battled with and then some.
According to reviewers, t Chess, at its highest level is a challenging, worthy opponent. I wouldn't know anything about that, of course, but I like it.