App Reviewed on: iPad
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Shredder Chess for iPad is a chess app designed to not only let players play chess, but also improve their game. Developed by chess scholar, Eiko Bleicher, the game allows players to compete against a sophisticated AI opponent while also offering move-by-move advice, detailed game analysis, and other teaching tools, all while being a competent app for simply playing chess.
In Shredder Chess, players can choose to play against AI, solve chess puzzles, or play local multiplayer games of chess. Although there is no online multiplayer, the game's AI constantly tunes itself to compete on par with your skill level, which can compensate for most players' desires for competition. After each game of chess with the Shredder AI, the difficulty will tune up if you beat it, and tune down if it beats you.
In addition to this difficulty scaling, Shredder Chess does more to actually teach players new strategies and how to improve their game than any other chess app I've seen. At any point in any game, players can rewind the game, ask for advice, rearrange the board, or even take over both sides of the board. If you aren't quite so proactive about learning from your mistakes, the game will also suggest to you when it thinks you have made a poor move. Lastly, an on screen meter measures on a move-by-move basis who is "winning" or has the advantage.
All of these features are what really differentiate Shredder from other chess games, so perhaps you shouldn't rush into picking this game up if you're just looking for a way to play chess, especially considering the game's relatively steep price tag. Also, although the game does do a lot to try and teach players how to get better, the game does not do a great job at articulating general strategies, "openings," or other chess knowledge beyond what has already been mentioned. This can make Shredder's system of teaching feel more reactive than proactive, but again, the game still does more than most when it comes to teaching players chess.
If you are interested in really upping your chess skills, Shredder may be exactly what you need, and you can consider your money well spent. Otherwise, you might just want to look elsewhere.