Being a regular online chess player I have used many chess apps. And to put it in simplest terms, you only need a decent Internet connection and even the worst of phones will be totally fine to run online chess for you.
Just make sure that the phone operates fine and don’t hang. That’s all you need to play online chess.
In this blog, we will review the top chess apps for Android and IOS based on the number of visitors they receive and our experience of those apps.
This chess app is by far the most used chess app in the world. The user interface is awesome and the app provides all the features that you can use from the very beginner to the most advanced levels and improve your game.
Although playing chess is totally free on this app, there are certain limitations for which you have to buy a paid account. e.g. you are only allowed to solve 5 rated puzzles a day, play one game of puzzle battle against an opponent and play 1 game of puzzle rush.
Chess lessons on this app are also not always free. When you sign up, they let you solve a few lessons for free but as time passes, that number is also reduced to 1 free lesson per day.
This app also allows you to analyze your games with an engine and 1 game analysis per day is free with all the features e.g. game accuracy with a default depth of 18. For anything above this level of analysis, you need a paid account.
The only thing very useful and totally free on this app is playing chess and there is no limitation on it. But that’s not the case with tournaments on this platform. Nearly half of the tournaments are only for premium members and free account holders are not allowed to play them.
App Performance of Chess.com
This app runs fine both on android and IOS. Rarely there is a delay due to system updates and the update usually lasts no more than a minute. Mostly the delay time is like a refresh button, it happens in a second.
The game servers are good but sometimes the game does glitch in some parts of the world. I haven’t experienced anything bad in recent times but there are some issues with the Desktop version.
A while ago, my games were getting abandoned without me disconnecting or internet loss and when I contacted their technical support. They recommended me to switch from Mozilla to Google Chrome, and of course, I didn’t follow their instructions but somehow Desktop is doing fine and I haven’t experienced any such game abandonment in the last few months.
Visitors on Chess.com
As far as analytics are concerned, the site and app of this chess game have seen a remarkable rise in the number of visitors recently. Estimated page views on chess.com have risen above 7500k visitors per day in May 2021, which is a record. And no other chess app comes even close to this number.
Lichess is the only app that comes close to rivalling chess.com. Everything they offer is free and faster but somehow the UI is not that good looking.
Also, their rating system is a bit vague. If you are 1500 rated on chess.com, you surely will be around 1800 on lichess.
The resources although they provide are all free, free puzzles, free studies everything free. Their servers are faster and the overall gaming experience is 2nd to none.
But the thing is, they are fairly new in comparison to chess.com, which is already a very established site and are putting a lot of money in UI, something that if lichess fixes will make them a great rival…
If you are a beginner wanting to use all the chess resources for free, this is your app. You can work on all the basic chess strategy, solving puzzles and analyze games for free on lichess.
App Performance of Lichess
The android app is awesome. I have used it myself and unlike chess.com, the pre-moving during the game won’t take a minimum of 0.1 seconds. That is good but at the same time, they don’t allow you to pre-move more than once. Which I think is not good for the game because flagging your opponent is considered a skill in online chess even by top Grandmasters like Daniel Naroditsky and Anish Giri.
I’m sure IOS will be giving the same experience. If they are already there, it means their app is good because getting approved on IOS is not an easy task for any app.
Visitors on Lichess
Nearly 90.25M visits were recorded on lichess in the last 6 months. Although a very huge number, this is still low in comparison to chess.com. And even in the recent boom in popularity of chess, lichess saw a drop of 2.35% visitors in site traffic compared to the previous 6 months. This shows that users are happier to visit the site and apps of chess.com and other platforms.
Other Chess Apps
In the presence of chess.com and lichess, other apps and sites that offer to play and learning chess are very small. Some of them are doing a great effort to get in this league of top sites and apps e.g. chess24 is potentially going to be a huge platform. Their main sponsor and platform ambassador is Magnus Carlsen, the world champion of chess.
Other than chess24, I don’t see any big rivals to the bigger platforms at the moment.