Wednesday, 30 October 2019

What's new in Analyze This Android app v5.3.x

This release took a really long time to be made public due to various other high priority things. But glad this is out and brings in some interesting changes as well as important fixes.
These changes are currently only on Android but we will bring them over to the iOS app in due course of time.


Whats New

Dark theme

Every other app is riding on the dark theme frenzy. It does help save battery as well as your eyes. Some say it even improves readability. This was requested many moons ago but its finally here!


To enable dark theme, please see Menu - Settings -> Dark Theme.


Evaluation bar

Evaluation bar helps you keep an eye on the game's evaluation without having to keep looking down at the centi-pawn numeric evaluation suggested by the Engine. Each segment of the evaluation bar is worth 1 pawn (so the full bar extends 4 pawns/sections up and 4 pawns/sections down).
When white is winning, you will see the white bar extending upwards toward the black side and similarly when black is winning, you will see the black bar coming down to the white side.

At 0.0 evaluation, both white and black colors will be in equal size. If white is winning, say 1 pawn and engine evaluates the position at 1.0, then you will see the White color of the bar extend up 1 section up)


Improved Chess 960/ Fischer Random support

During the World Fischer Random championship we noticed that Analyze This engine analysis was misbehaving, especially after a O-O (castling) move. This has been fixed.

Syzygy Tablebase support

Syzygy Tablebases help the engine in evaluating certain endgame positions, without really having to spend time searching and analyzing. You can download Syzygy tablebase files for the most commonly occuring endgames (say KP v P, KRP vs KR etc) and store them on your Device.
Then choose this path from inside the Analyze This app - Settings - Engine Options - Syzygy Path.
So whenever a matching endgame position occurs on the board, the engine will automatically start using the endgame tablebases. You will know this works when the engine starts giving very high evaluation and does not deviate much from its analysis. However, we will improve this in the near future and make this even more easier to understand.
You can download Syzygy tablebases from here. But please note these are HUGE. So only download what you need!

Bug fixes & Other Improvements


  • Bugs fixed in Auto Analysis feature. That notorious volume key behavior is now gone. Earlier it was useful for people to use the app and go through it single handedly by using the volume key. But the behavior probably was more annoying for those who just wanted to turn down the volume. 
  • Adding new line at the end of the game is now easy. This is user in cases where a game has ended, but you want to try out some moves, without changing the main line. In this case, just take back the last move, and reenter the same move on the board. This move will now be added as a sub variation!
  • Improved position setup. We think setting up a position is now faster. Say you choose a White Rook and set it on the board. Now to set up the Black Rook, you dont have to explicitly choose the Black Rook from the tray. Instead, just tap the square where you wish to place the Black Rook (it will be shown as White Rook), and then tap the square again. This will turn the Knight to Black! So the toggling works White - Black - Empty - White - Black - Empty and so on.


  • EPD support. Now along side pgn file, you can even see .epd files listed in the App's game file browser. These are position files you may have received from other chess apps or sources.
  • Lots of other bugs were fixes and subtle improvements made under the hood.
Enjoy and please don't forget to rate the Apps in the Play Store!


Special thanks to Al Sirutis, Atul Desai, Elaine, Henri Raben, Igor, Lucas Foreest, Miguel Gonzalez, Rahmat Ullah, Roger Davies, Tom Amlin, and others

PS. We have a brand new Forum! Be among the first ones to join and share your ideas to improve the Apps, feature suggestions, bugs or just interact with other fellow chess lovers!
https://forum.mychessapps.com

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Chess Moves - Resume your game and with Spanish translations especially for the blind!


Chess Moves v2.6 was released and with this we bring two important changes to enhance your App experience while playing against the AI.


WHATS NEW


Resume AI Game

Earlier, you could not resume an AI game and had to either abandon it or resign. Now you can simply leave the game. The App is smart to know and will present the same game the next time you choose to play vs AI so you can continue where you left off!
We have also added the ability to abort an AI game, provided you do so in the first few moves.

Translations

Our aim is for everybody to play chess and have fun, irrespective of language and whether you can see the App or not. Thats why our Apps (the only Chess apps?) are 100% blind friendly.
A blind user from Spain requested us that the App be available in Spanish. And thanks to my good old friend Carlos Granados, the App is now translated to Spanish!

As always, your feedback is most welcome. (You can do so via the App - Menu - About - Feedback)



Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Follow Chess - From floating board to China mode

New update to Follow Chess Android and iOS apps is now available.

WHATS NEW

Floating Board (Android 8.0+ only)

Imagine you are following an interesting game and wish to keep an eye on it while you use other apps [well you just don't know when the players are going to make a move! ;-) ]
Now with the Floating Board feature, just press the Home button in the Analysis Board screen!



So whichever LIVE game you have in front of you in the Analysis Board screen, will be displayed in a small board window! How magical!

  • This feature is only on Android OS running 8.0 or above
  • The board will appear on top of any apps that you use
  • The live moves will automatically update inside the floating board!
  • To quickly dismiss the board, just swipe/flick down the bottom edge of your screen

Team Results (Android & iOS)

For quite some time, we had received your feedback, on how difficult it is to understand the Team composition during a Team event. Especially for events like the Bundesliga or Turkish Super League, where it is not easy to know which player is part of which team. If Vishy is playing in Bundesliga, which team is he part of? Who are his team-mates?
Not anymore!


Now, you will be able to view the Team Results for the current round from the Multi-board screen, see their head to head score for the current round, and tap on any of the game to analyze it! (At the moment, this only works for the current active round which you have in the Multi-board screen. In the future, we can extend this feature for previous rounds too. But hey, please drop us an email (App - Menu - About - Feedback) to let us know if you think its useful, so we can prioritize it!)

China Mode (Android & iOS)

No doubt, China is one of the world's Chess super-power! But when it comes to Apps, social networks etc, they have their own ecosystem and restrictions. Because of the Great Chinese Firewall, the Follow Chess app doesnt work if you were based out of China.
Several Follow Chess users told us how difficult it is, to use essential Apps and resorting to a VPN can be a headache.

What should I do if I am accessing Follow Chess from China?
1. By default, no change is required. The App has a bit of smartness and it should just work. However, if you are in China, and the app is unable to show you the list of recent events, or does not show you the round schedule or multi-board games, then just enable the China mode option from the App settings!

NOTE:

  • Some features like the WatchList and Live moves in Analysis Board screen may not work.
  • Please let us know your feedback and if there is demand for it, we will surely work on it.


Other improvements (Android & iOS)

There are also some other improvements under the hood.


  

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Analyze games or play vs Leela Chess Engine in Analyze This app


Computer Chess has made a tremendous amount of progress in recent months. And especially, Leela Chess! Earlier, Leela Chess ala lc0 only worked on special hardware.

But recently, its been made to work on Android too! This is fantastic news for so many Android users, which means the Engine can run natively on the phone (without connecting to any cloud service to run the engine)

NOTE

  • This only works for Analyze This on Android. Not in the Analyze This iOS app.
  • Its still a work in progress and these are not official builds. Means there could be some problems that you may encounter
  • Thought lc0 did beat Stockfish earlier, but we cannot currently expect that kind of performance on our smartphones, since lc0 really is powerful when running on a GPU. For the most powerful analysis need, Stockfish would still be a better option for your phone. If you need variety or more human like moves, then go ahead and try lc0.
  • So lc0 will still be quite weak, but it can very well perform at a GM level, depending on your device.
  • The below download links have a built-in "weights file". In the near future, via an app update, we will provide an option such that you can specify a different weights file for varied strength.
STEPS
To run lc0 engine in Analyze This app (both Free and Pro version):

DOWNLOAD OPTION A (Download on PC. Unzip. Copy to phone)
  1. Download the engine with built-in weights. Either this or this (if 32bit armv7 device) or this or this (64bit architecture). If not sure, you can very well download both the zips
  2. Unzip the file. Copy the content which is inside (lc0) onto your phone's sdcard
DOWNLOAD OPTION B (Directly on phone)
  1. You can download the file directly on your phone. Link 1 (32bit armv7) or Link 2 (64bit)
STEPS IN ANALYZE THIS APP
  1. Now fire up your Analyze This app
  2. Tap Board Actions Menu  -> Manage Engines
  3. Tap INSTALL ENGINE option at the top
  4. Locate the lc0 engine file which you unzipped and copied in Option A OR the one that you downloaded in Option B.
Thats it! If the engine file is supported on your device, you now have Leela Chess working on your Analyze This app. You can analyze your games with a more human touch.
Or you can also play a few games using the Play This Side option!

HOW TO PLAY
Tap the name of the Engine and choose Play This Side. Engine will play the currently selected side, while you can make moves for the other side!





Wednesday, 13 March 2019

What's new in MyChessApps!!?

Its been a while we posted a new blog, but new App updates kept rolling.
Recently we released new updates to Follow Chess & iChess apps on both iOS and Android.

1. Backup and Restore (Scorecard, Bird View)

We had many requests in the past to allow backing up puzzle details, or atleast the scorecard, so that you don't lose what you have achieved, in case you switch over to a new device.

Now, happy to say, that just login, and your Scorecard and the Bird View (puzzle progress) will be backed up everytime you solve. So when you get a new device, or reinstall the App, your last progress will be restored back!



Likewise, on Follow Chess, your favorite games are now synced across devices and Android/iOS, so you never have to lose track of games that you have carefully added to your favorite collection!

2. Sync your purchases

Similarly, because there were two different versions of iChess app on Android (Free and Pro), sometimes users would get confused and they would not be able to see their purchases from one app to another. Likewise, if you had purchased some puzzle from our Store on Android, you wouldn't be able to use it on iOS and would need to re-purchase it.

Worry not, we have got your covered! Now you buy once, and the puzzle can be re-downloaded for free on the other OS! So no worry if you need to switch between Android <-> iOS

Please note, you need to sign-in to the App for these features to work.

3. Accessibility improvements

One thing that makes chess unique is that anybody can play chess, even without a board (or in some unfortunate cases, without a sight). So over the past few months, we took up the challenge to make all our Apps blind-friendly.
Soundarya Pradhan, member of Indian chess team (blind) using Follow Chess app on his way to Europe.
The fruit of the work is that, ALL our important apps (Follow Chess, iChess, Analyze This  , Chess Moves   ) are now blind friendly (and on both Android as well as iOS!!! Yup that calls for a 👏👏). So EVERYBODY can now play chess, train and analyze with the engines, save games, solve puzzles, and follow live games!


4. Miscellaneous

As always, we take your feedback seriously. So with the last few versions, we have fixed some puzzles, made slight tweaks to how the scoring works and improved things under the hood! (Apologies to the iChess Pro users on Android who had to face constant crashes in our last app update. Just one line of code did that! :/)

More things to come! :-)

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Goodbye Chess, Hello Future!

It started in 2007/8 when I started working on simple Chess apps. Back then, apart from a couple of Apps, there was nothing much. So for my personal amusement and training, I started developing Apps! These personal projects because a passion, and passion my business! Fast forward, 2018, and there are so many Chess Apps out there.

When I started this journey, I didn't know what to expect. But one by one, we ended up building some amazing products! From the World Champion to newcomers, everybody loves and uses the Apps we have built with so much passion and dedication. It feels good!

From being awestruck with my first face to face meeting with a Chess world champion, to receiving emails and talking to popular Grandmasters; it was any chess player's dream. Along the way I got a chance to meet so many amazing people and experience life in a very different way, than a regular salaried IT guy!

But now, Chess no longer interests me. I hardly play OTB events. I don't follow much of live games of my favorite players or events. And me playing online or studying Chess with a book has become as rare as a blood moon. Its usually a sign that its probably time to look for something different, something more exciting, something that solves a bigger problem! And really, there is so much that mankind needs!

So I am looking to the future, looking to solve bigger problems. Looking to use these God-given gifts and abilities for something better! You will continue to hear from me. Thanks for all your support!

Hello Future!

Friday, 26 May 2017

'Chess Moves' App updated. One player, Two Player & Online game play modes!

Chess Moves App on Android was already very unique! When two friends needed to play a game of chess, they would simply launch the App and play, with each player getting his own chess board to make moves! The board would automatically resize based on the side to play!



Then over the past few weeks, we added some cool things!

One Player

You can now test your skills against the mobile and have fun playing against it.

If you are a beginner at Chess, then you will love the initial difficulty levels! We have made some very interesting changes under the hood, to make the experience better (and give you a chance to win and bolster your ego!).

Play Online

Play with your childhood friends online and re-live the memories.

We made it simple for you to start a game. No login required*. Just create a link to the game and share it with your friend on WhatsApp/Facebook etc. Once your friend accepts the invite, the two of you can play (supports realtime moves as well as slow).

In Hindi, Marathi & Tamil

The App is translated into Hindi, Marathi and Tamil (Note: Tamil is currently only in the Android app).
We will be adding support for more Indian languages in the future. If you would like to help us translate it into your local language, please do email us!

अब पूरा इन्दिआ चेस्स खेलेगा!

Available on iOS

The App is also available on iOS (iPad and iPhone!)

Two player mode on iPhone
Online game play


So what are you waiting for? Download now and make your moves!





* - Currently the iOS App needs the user to be signed-in, but in a future update, we will relax this requirement.

Special thanks to Anil & Sathish for helping with the translations!