Chess for Android

A popular chess app to play against computer engines of your choice.

Our Score
Our Score
License Free
Link Chess for Android
Clean user interface, import and export games, third-party chess engines, position setup, connection to eBoard.
Play online via FICS not available yet.

There are hundreds of chess apps on Google’s Play store but not many allow you to install an external chess engine other than the one preinstalled.

Some excellent choices do exist. Chess for Android by Aart J. C. Bik is a popular chess app with a built-in Java version of chess engine BikJump and a GUI with configurable board colors, piece sets, move coach and levels setting. It also lets you correct mistakes and analyze games alongside other features.

The game recognizes a draw by stalemate, insufficient material, the fifty move rule, or threefold repetition, and follows official chess rules, like en-passant, castling and minor promotion.

Besides a three-bar menu for setting various options, a long-press on the screen brings up more choices for loading and saving games into storage, copy and paste games to/from the clipboard, setting up through a position editor, connecting to an eBoard, or working with external chess engines.

Chess for Android supports the Universal Chess Interface (UCI) and Chess Engine Communication Protocol (also known as the XBoard or WinBoard protocol), which allows you to play against third party engines, or even invite two engines to play tournament games.

To install a UCI-compatible chess engine, such as Stockfish, get it here and unzip it to a folder, then use Chess for Android to install the engine from the folder. Alternatively. you can also download and install a third-party Stockfish Chess Engine from the Play store.

To play against an engine, long-press the screen and select the extended menu item “UCI and Xboard”, then “Import Engine” and select an engine installed. The engine setup supports time control, pondering, infinite analysis, hash tables, multiple threads, endgame tablebases, and opening test suites.

The app has a clean user interface, plenty of features and options, and allows for your own choice of chess engines. At time of this review, it has yet to implement a connection to FICS (Free Internet Chess Server), which allows for playing chess over the Internet with human players around the world for free.

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