Thursday, 3 April 2014

Chess Book Study for iPad - Help

1. How do I copy my personal ebooks?
Connect your iPad to iTunes on your Mac or PC. (You can also connect it on Linux.) Then locate the Chess Book Study App's Documents folder. Copy your book to the Documents folder and you are done! (Disconnect your iPad and the book should be visible)
Please note that only ebooks/magazines in PDF format are supported.

2. What features does the iOS app currently support?
Add/View Bookmarks - You can add multiple bookmarks or jump to bookmarked page.
Brightness - Change screen brightness (useful when reading in low light)
Show/Hide board - You can view the book in full screen by hiding the board
Board Colors - Choose a different board color
New Board

Following features are in the Pro version only:
Position Setup [PRO] - Set up a new board position
Flip board [PRO]

3. Tip to navigate the book - tap bottom for next page, tap top for previous page
You can swipe through the pages of the books. Additionally, you can tap the bottom of the book to load next page. Tap the top of the book to view previous page.

Got an issue? Please email me at

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Should Anand win the Candidates?

A smiling Anand at the Candidates 2014
(pic by @NastiaKarlovich)

Note, the question is no longer, "Will Anand win the Candidates?" since this is now put to rest after the first 6 rounds. But my question is; should he?

Today is a rest day for the players and me too (after a BIG Analyze This app release). So I thought it was a good day to rest a bit, take a break from programming and ponder over this Q.

"Should Anand win the Candidates?!".
Sounds dubious, doesn't it? After all, which player would not want to win a tournament and challenge Magnus Carlsen himself!? And which fan would not want his favorite star to win the Candidates? But should he?

Before I start getting threat calls from Chennai, and Vishy himself 'unfriends' me on FB and stops following on Twitter, let me make it clear. I am a big Anand-fan and would like to see him play forever!

There is no doubt about his stature. He is a legend who has single-handedly carried the expectations of a million Indians Chess fans (and one of the reason I quit my full-time job and started working on my Chess Apps and eBooks). He has won everything there was worth winning.

And the way he is currently playing, is a treat to watch. Then, why this question?

Lets take 3 likely scenarios when the Candidates tourney ends:

Scenario 1 : Anand plays badly here-after (r6) and ends up somewhere in the middle of the standing.
This will be obviously bad for him and his fans, especially after a dream start like this. We fans and probably Anand himself would not have imagined that he would be in sole lead after 6 rounds!
This will be quite disastrous.

Scenario 2 : Anand wins the Candidates and the right to challenge Carlsen (again!). Many Chess fans would think this would be the easiest pairing for Carlsen and a lop-sided match. I am sure even Carlsen, would probably stop practicing on his Play Magnus app and stop drinking Orange Juice. He might even take up additional modelling assignments or sign-up a movie! ("Board Wars - Return of the Tiger" starring Liv Tyler and some south Indian dude).

But would Anand himself like to play Carlsen again? Carlsen is strong, but not unbeatable. And he might even take some inspiration from the Rocky movies. According to reports, Anand was initially planning to skip the Candidates (probably because he wanted a nice break and wasn't really thinking of matching Carlsen again). Would the Chess-world (barring Indian fans), be excited again to watch the match? (well I bet, on any given day a Carlsen-Anand match would have more viewers than a Carlsen-XYZ match)
Anand will now need to spend months in intense preparation if he has to beat Carlsen.

If Anand defeats Carlsen, does it make Anand more greater than he already is? It would be another feather in his overcrowded hat and an impossible comeback! But at some point, the new generation has to overtake the older while the legends fade, and that is perfectly natural!
If Anand loses again, the cycle repeats!?

Scenario 3 : Anand narrowly misses the ticket and finishes 2nd in the Candidates. Probably Aronian beats him on tiebreaks.
Fans will definitely be sympathetic towards Anand and be happy that against all odds, he played a superb tournament and the "tiger is back". No hard feelings. Even Anand would feel good about his performance.
Anand goes on a nice extended holiday with his family, feeling content that he performed his best and came very close to winning it. He gains a dozen rating points and is having a good time, till his next tournament. Less pressure!

What do you think? Should Anand win the Candidates?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Analyze This - Tips and Tricks (new in v3.0)

Many features have been added in v3.0. Here are some Tips and tricks.

Delete game from PGN file

Added a game to your PGN file by mistake and wish to delete it? Touch and Hold the game and you will see the Delete icon on the top right. Press the icon to delete the game. (Note : the game will be permanently deleted. Always create a backup of your important PGN files!)

Play against Mobile / Engine shootout (PRO Only)

The one important thing that Analyze This lacked was the ability for the engines to play against you or against other engine. Not anymore! Say you are practicing Endgames or just want to understand why the GM resigned in a given position; you can test your skills against the machine!
Tap the Engine name (hyperlink) and choose 'Play this side' and the engine will automatically make moves for that side, while you play the other. If you choose 'Play this side' again, then the engine will make moves for both sides and finish the game. This way, you could use any combination of engines!! (Psst: I tried to play the Shak vs Svidler Candidates game where Svidler resigned after the awesome Rg5. I played with the White pieces, but I still could only draw against the Engine!! Envy those Super GMs. Try it!)

Engine output to Notation

You can copy the engine output to the notation! There are two ways to do this:
* Clip main-line - Tap the engine name to see the option. This will copy the engine's main line to the notation
* Touch and hold the engine line - Alternately, you can touch and hold any of the variation in the engine window and that variation will be copied to the notation.

Annotation editor

Analyze This now has the option to annotate your games. You can use the Annotation Editor to annotate multiple moves in one sitting! Just tap on the move that you wish to annotate and choose the appropriate symbols. Add a comment if you like and press 'Apply Comment'.

Quick Annotation Palette

What if you only wish to quickly add some symbols to the game without having to load the complete Annotation Editor!? Simply double tap on any empty square on the board and you will see the above Annotate Palette. Then choose any symbol and it will be added to the move. Note the palette will auto close in 5s.

Promote variation

Touch and hold the move in the Notation window to see the option to "Promote variation". This will make the sub-variation into the main line.

Auto-replay game (PRO Only)

A good way to go through master games is to play through them quickly, as many times as possible and as many games as possible. Analyze This now allows you to do that. Just press the green button and the game will auto-replay every few seconds. Sit back and enjoy the game!

Variation chooser

When you are reading a annotated game, its not always easy to find the sub variation and jump to it. Now, Analyze This will pop up the available variations and you can tap any of the move to jump to that variation. Bonus Tip : At the end of the sub-variation, you can continue to hit the right arrow and you will automatically jump back to the main-line!

Player lookup via Wikipedia

Note the hyperlinks on the Play names in the first picture. You can lookup the Player profiles on Wikipedia. Handy if you are browsing through some international games and wish to lookup on some favorite players or somebody unknown.

Swipe to change games

When you load a game from the games browser, you can swipe from right-to-left on the board to load the next game. Similarly, swipe left-to-right to load the previous game. (Note : Every time you launch the app, the app may show you the Games list the first time. Then subsequently, swiping will load the game)

Arrows and Highlights

Sharing Board as image with Analyze This just got better! You can now highlight squares or draw arrows. Simply touch any square to highlight it. Swipe your finger across to draw the arrow! (Thx Carlos). Coordinates are automatically added to the image, so that your readers are not left wondering which side moves up or down!

Quick access to recent PGN files

Like me, if you access multiple PGN files from different folders (Download, Dropbox folder etc), then Analyze This v3.0 has a handy little feature. It shows your last accessed PGN files at the top (in light gray) irrespective of which folder you are current in. Simply tap the file to load it!

Different ways to Paste in Analyze This

Analyze This has a single "Paste" option, but it is smart enough to know what you are actually pasting!
So you can paste a complete PGN or only the FEN string or only the moves, and Analyze This accepts them all!

Say you have received a PGN in your email or have it on a website. 
You can paste the complete PGN.
[Event "New Jersey State Open Champion"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1957.??.??"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Fischer, R."]
[Black "Sherwin, J."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B30"]
[WhiteElo ""]
[BlackElo ""]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "1957.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nbd2 Rb8 8. Re1
d6 9. c3 b6 10. d4 Qc7 11. e5 Nd5 12. exd6 Bxd6 13. Ne4 c4 14. Nxd6 Qxd6 15.
Ng5 Nce7 16. Qc2 Ng6 17. h4 Nf6 18. Nxh7 Nxh7 19. h5 Nh4 20. Bf4 Qd8 21. gxh4
Rb7 22. h6 Qxh4 23. hxg7 Kxg7 24. Re4 Qh5 25. Re3 f5 26. Rh3 Qe8 27. Be5+ Nf6
28. Qd2 Kf7 29. Qg5 Qe7 30. Bxf6 Qxf6 31. Rh7+ Ke8 32. Qxf6 Rxh7 33. Bc6+ 1-0

Or you can paste only the FEN string (frequently available in diagrams on the ChessCafe website). Ex:
 [FEN "8/4pkPp/7B/3K4/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"] 
"8/4pkPp/7B/3K4/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"

or you can paste only the moves from a game (from starting position)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2

Now isn't that one smart app!?


//The following features were already part of v2.0.x

PGN delete and share

Now delete or share the PGN file with your coach right from within the app!
In the File Browser (via Open PGN), touch and hold the pgn file that you are interested to delete or share. You should see options to the top right as shown below.
Then you can Delete the file or Share it via Email, Dropbox, Google docs etc

Create new PGN

While saving a game, you are asked to Choose a File. You can even create a new PGN from within the app!
Press the physical menu key and choose "Create New PGN". If your device does not come with physical menu key, then its even easier. You can simply choose the "Create New PGN" option from the drop down located at the top right of your screen (indicated with 3 vertical dots)

Long press notation/moves for more options

You can select a move from the move/notation window. Then touch and hold it and a popup should appear with more options.
"Delete this move" - Delete the currently selected move including itself. This can be even used to delete a complete variation by selecting the first move from the variation and then choosing "Delete this move"

Swipe to turn board

Wish to turn/flip the board? Now thats easy. Simply swipe your finger down the board as shown below! Turning the board was never so easy!

Tap engine analysis

Now you don't have to manually enter moves. If you like the engine's suggestions, then Tap on the engine move in the list and it will be played on the board!
For ex. in the image below, once you tap the variation, the first move Ra3 will be played on the board.
You can continue to tap to make subsequent moves

Tilt to move

Give your fingers some rest. Simply tilt your device left/right to take back or move forward through the notation! I use this feature, when I am relaxing on the couch and wish to play through some recent master games. What best is that I can even use it while moving around and move back/forth through the moves with a single hand!
Note: Tilt = move the left/right vertical edge of your device such that one edge of the device is up while other edge is down.

Analyze This v3.0!! Lots of features and fun in your favorite Android Chess app!

Extremely happy to have released Analyze This v3.0 today. This culminates many months of work and I could not have been more happier than this.

This release has lots of exciting features and I am personally very happy with it.

WHAT'S NEW in 3.0?

  • Delete games from PGN file (remember to always back-up your precious PGN files!) (Thx Mesut, Romuald, Claude)
  • Copy Engine output to Notation - Handy if you like to permanently save the engine analysis to PGN. To copy the whole line to notation, simply touch and hold the line. Alternately, you can also tap the engine name and choose 'Clip main-line' to copy just the main line. (Thx Timotei, Kevin, Mazzy)
  • Play against Mobile / Engine shootout [PRO Only] - Wonder why the GM resigned in his game? Now you can try that position and play it against the Engine. Or wish to sharpen your Endgame skills? Play it out against the Engine. You can start a different engine (or even the same engine) for the other side, and have the Engines play against each other and finish off the game! This can be a really powerful tool to practice endgames or certain winning positions and test your skills against the machine.
  • Annotation editor - Add comments and symbols. You can tap on any other move and enter the comment for that move too. Makes it easier to quickly annotate a game.
  • Quick Annotation Palette - For those cases where you simply want to add a symbol. Just double-tap any empty square on the board and quickly choose the symbol It cannot get easier than this!
  • Promote variation - You can now promote sub variations from the Notation view.
  • Auto-replay game  [PRO Only] - Like to go through many master games? Then this is for you. Load your favorite games and let the app automatically move through the game.
  • Variation chooser - Sometimes when you are studying an annotated game with lots of variations, its not easier to find the sub variation inside the large variation tree. Analyze This gives a handy list of variations for you to choose. Tap the variation to enter it. At the end of the sub-variation, you can tap-tap (twice) to automatically jump back to the main line. Pretty handy I say! (Thx Durga Prasad)
  • Player lookup via Wikipedia - Sometimes when I browse through PGNs downloaded from, I come across good games played by relatively unknown players. This feature makes it handy to lookup the player's profile (if exists) on Wikipedia. It is also a good way to check on your favorite players and their important statistics.
  • Swipe to change games - Say you loaded a game from your PGN file. Now to load the next game, you simply swipe left-wards on the board. Similarly, swipe right to load the previous game from the PGN. (every time you restart the app and swipe, you will be shown the games list for the first time. Subsequently, swiping will work as expected) (Thx Joseph)
  • Arrows and Highlights - Sharing the board as image just got prettier. Before you share the image, you can highlight key squares and draw arrows! (Thx Carlos)
  • Single tap to launch Notation menu. If you already have a move highlighted in the Notation view, then you simply touch it one more time to access the Notation menu (Delete Move, Promote variation, Annotation Editor) options.
  • Improved Fritz color (hopefully this is easier on the eyes on brighter devices) (Thx Zamana)
  • Stockfish upgraded to DD (another update v3.0.2 was released with Stockfish 3.0 included. If DD has problems running on your device, you can switch the engines from the Manage Engines screen). Added support for intel Phones. (Thx Eric and neevstation)
  • Move to sd card (for supported devices) - App can now be moved to the SD card (if you are falling short of space on the internal memory). Please let me know in case some things don't work. (Thx Larry)
and some more...!

Download Links:
AMAZON APP STORE (v3.0 releasing soon)

PS: The app has been thoroughly tested (as much as one person could!) and there may be some potential problems. Please drop me a note if you see anything odd!

IMP: If you see some weird behavior after upgrade (over your existing version), its always best to uninstall and re-install again!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Follow Chess - New Android app to watch live chess games


Here is a simple App to watch the Live games from the Candidates 2014 tournament.
FOLLOW CHESS on the Play Store

With multiple boards, you surely cannot miss a move!
'Follow Chess' will broadcast many more tournaments in the future and have many awesome features like my other Chess apps. Stay tuned!

FOLLOW CHESS on the Play Store


Friday, 21 February 2014

New Kindle ebook - Chess Tactics Gym! (1500+ diagrams in 25+ themes)

Friends, I am excited to release my new ebook, Chess Tactics Gym!

Ever wondered how nice it would be if you could master one Tactical idea at a time. Looking at multiple tactical positions with the same theme can help you understand the theme and improve, if not master it.
This is exactly what this book is all about. You study 100+ examples on Knight Forks, or 100+ examples of Deflection and so on, till the idea sinks in.
Think you already know the basic themes like Fork, Pin, Skewer, Deflection? Wait till you read the chapters on "Back-rank weakness", "Back-rank deflection", "Exploiting the Pin", "Rook lift", "Exploiting weak squares" etc.

Overall, with 1500+ diagrams from recent 2013 games categorized into 25+ themes, I am confident you have never seen a book like this! Players below 2000 ELO will definitely find it most beneficial, but even stronger players would find it entertaining (How about the chapter on Pretty and Unfortunate mates!)

The book also has 300 exercises in the end to test your newly acquired knowledge!

♚ Part I - Basic Ideas

  • Fork
    • Knight Fork (130 positions)
    • Bishop Fork (33)
    • Rook Fork (12)
    • Pawn Fork (9)
  • Skewer (28)
  • Pin
    • Pin against the King (38)
    • Pin against other pieces (7)
  • Exploiting the Pin
    • Material gain (99)
    • Knight forks revisited (32)
    • Check mate (30)
  • Deflection
    • Simple Deflection (130)
    • Back-rank Deflection (23)
  • Discovered Attack & Check
    • Discovered Attack (95)
    • Discovered Check (32)
  • Double Attack (74)

♚ Part II - Advanced Ideas

  • Assault on the King
    • Exposing the King (38)
    • Exploiting Weak Squares (21)
    • Back-rank Weakness (30)
    • The Rook Lift (7)
  • Removing the Defender (67)
  • Special themes
    • Clearing (22)
    • Blocking (10)
    • Zwischenzug (11)
    • Queen Traps (26)
  • Mates
    • Back-rank Mate (53)
    • h-file Mate (10)
    • Pretty Mate (38)
    • Unfortunate Mate (18)

♚ Part III - Exercises

NOTE : 1500+ diagrams make it a very large book (approx 27MB). Hence, download from Amazon may take time!


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

"The Champion’s League" - An article by Aruna Anand

This article by Aruna Anand appeared in Culturama magazine (January 2014 edition)

"On December 24, 1995, as a young girl full of rebellious ideas, I was ushered into our drawing room to meet a man who could, if we pleased, become my prospective husband. As I mentioned I was rebellious, I refused to carry the customary coffee tumblers and sweets that make up the tradition of our girl-seeing* ceremony.

The boy was smart, no doubt, well travelled, extremely courteous and well mannered. We introduced ourselves and spoke about innocuous things like the weather and traffic. As we had nothing outwardly annoying to say about each other, we decided to be married. And that was how I came to be known as Mrs. Viswanathan Anand.

For me, he is just Anand, a simple person who loves Mexican food and has a trained sense of humour. To the world, he is Vishy, a celebrated five-time world chess champion.

As a newly minted bride, our honeymoon was in Dortmund at a chess tournament. I used to cuddle up in a corner of the theatre and sleep. Every time there was applause I would wake up to see Anand walk off the stage. I would be so afraid to meet anyone's gaze as I had no idea what had happened. I would hide in the restroom and wait for Anand to call out to me. That was my first ever experience with chess.

Anand as a player and person is very principled. He is very happy just sticking to his principles even if it means having to sacrifice short-term goals. For him, being part of the journey is as important as the destination.

And many a time he has been at the wrong end of the chess politics. He hates to complain or whine. He just likes to get on with it and not waste too much time on what is out of his grasp. In 2002, I remember when the chess world decided to put aside its differences and unite in forging a unified title, the truce came at the cost of Anand being excluded from the championship. I remember a famous American Grandmaster who engineered this truce telling, Anand, “Vishy you are a gentleman and a nice guy, so you understand we had to keep you out for the betterment of chess”. It was the first time I saw Anand angry. Even then, he smiled and said, "Bon Appetite" and moved on. Later on, I remember, we decided not to be part of the whole unification process and just not attend the meeting. It was his way of saying my way or the highway. I told Anand not to worry as this truce would soon end up in a wastepaper basket.

Sometimes a woman’s intuition holds when reason and ego are at stake .

When the chess world bowed to the demands of various governments to get their wards to have a shot at the chess title, it was always Anand who had to play. I remember the time before the acrimonious title defence in Sofia. We had to undertake this 40-hour trip to Sofia across four countries as the air space was closed. Anand said just one beautiful thing to me. “You are putting everything you got on the line here. Trust me. I will get on with the job.” I think that was the moment I really treasured despite having had to drive through the pot-holed roads of Romania without cell phone coverage. The outside world did not see a man with steely grit wanting the title defence badly because he never once used the 40-hour trip as an excuse. For me, personally, winning in Sofia was the most defining moment of his career. If the world championships were the crowns, this was clearly the diamond in it.

The toughest thing about Anand the person and the champion is that being a nice guy you can’t be anything but a nice guy! You have to be nice whether you like it or not. Sometimes I have seen him angry and still patiently finish replying to an irate journalist. I would often tell him to just tell the man to lump it. Anand would smile and say that if he considered the time taken to make the person understand he is angry, it would take half that to mumble the answer. In 2011, Anand had a very different role to play — that of a father. We always joked that he was more exhausted after childbirth than I was. As a father, I have to say he is indulgent, although he does try hard to look stern. But Akhil is as smart as his dad and has figured who the bad cop in the family is. I would like Akhil to get Anand’s sense of humour and humility for a start.

As a wife and mother, the best time for me is when our family is together and we don’t have to connect to Skype to make our day seem normal. We enjoy doing the most normal things together. The most special moment is when a child of two-and-a-half and a chess legend can jump on a bed and throw pillows at each other while I watch my bedroom falling apart and pretend to be angry. For me, at that moment, I feel the Anands are at home and complete.

*The girl-seeing ceremony is part and parcel of the arranged marriage system, where a prospective groom meets a prospective bride for the first time, with both families present. The ceremony typically has the girl serving coffee and sweets to the groom and family, which is followed by a performance of her talents in music or dance. Today, this has changed drastically, where the boy and girl meet on formal dates to get to know each other."

By Aruna Anand (wife of Vishy Anand)

Thanks to Mr Kameswaran for posting these images on FB

Original Source: