Chess Games Collection. The app itself is free, but the information in the Apple Store is somewhat misleading. The description claims: "Chess Games Collection includes more than half of a million games exactly as played by world famous chess players." In order to access the half-million games, it is necessary to purchase ten additional collections in addition to the small number of games that come with the app itself. Inasmuch as there is likely some duplication within these additional collections, the total number of games may be slightly less than advertised.
These additional collections range in quantity and price from Pro (250,000 games for $4.99) to Women (20,000 games for $0.99). The Demo collection that comes with the app contains a sampling of games played by Alexander Alekhine (15 games), Jose Raul Capablanca (8 games), Max Euwe (8 games), Emanuel Lasker (10 games), and Akiba Rubinstein (10 games). There are not 51 games, however, because of duplication: three games were played between Alekhine and Rubinstein, for example. The roughly three dozen games included offer instructive value with emphasis on quick knockouts, such as Rubinstein's 17-move knockout of Bartoszkiewicz in 1897 (see screenshot).
The app permits searching by player, opening, year, number of moves, and result. It is a welcome addition to the small, but growing number of database chess applications for iDevices. For those who already have access to PGN databases and the ability to transfer them among programs (in other words, those who are computer literate with respect to chess software), there are better apps. For the casual chess player looking for ease of use, and willing to spend a few dollars to gain access to more games, Chess Games Collection might be a good choice.
The app works only in portrait mode, and does not flip. As it is designed primarily for the iPod Touch and iPhone, the graphics quality suffers slightly on the larger iPad.
When I wrote "Chess on the iPad" ten months ago, tChess Pro appeared to be the only database app for these devices. It remains one of the best. Now, users have many more choices, including, CBase Chess, ChessDB HD, and ChessBase Online, among others. ChessBase Online offers the most comprehensive collection and exceptional search options. However, it frequently crashes or fails to open at all. It also does not work offline (something that still matters for some users). ChessDB HD is awkward to use, and does not contain some of the advertised features. CBase Chess is primitive, but supports annotations better than any other app. Hiarcs offers limited database functions.
None of these apps are free, but the claim that Chess Games Collection offers half a million games in a free app is dishonest. Chess Games Collection is a free platform designed to sell databases. Most users are better off buying an app that supports unlimited transfer of PGN files (subject to the storage limits of the device). On the other hand, those apps that offer the best viewing and analysis support (analysis engines, configurable chess sets, rotation capabilities) also lack search mechanisms. That feature might warrant reappraisal of the merits of this app for advanced players.
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