Looking for a Chess game for iPadOS / Mac

I’m a beginner chess player and would like a recommendation for a chess game either for iPadOS or the Mac.

I know how to move the pieces but know nothing of strategy nor defensive moves. If the program has tutorial modes that’s a plus.


macOS comes with a basic Chess app.


For iPadOS, do give ‎Really Bad Chess a try if you don’t mind a grain of whimsy.


Great game, but not plain old vanilla chess… :stuck_out_tongue:

@tonycapp you could try Shredder Chess (Mac and iPad). The apps are quite old style, but the engine is good and you can adjust the ELO strength.

There are HIARCS and Stockfish; both are great chess engines but you’ll have to tinker a little.

There are of course online resources like chess.com and lichess.org, both have learning sections that can help a lot with the basics.

I’d start with lichess learning sections and then some games there before buying a game (you can use the Mac chess game, as @ChrisUpchurch noted) , if I were you.

I use (used, really, haven’t played in years, I should start again…) shredder, and on mobile is good to play some puzzles or quick game on the go (when you could be “on the go”, of course :sweat_smile:)


Chess.com has some amazing learner videos for free. Their daily puzzle is also free (one per day). If you want more you have pay for a monthly or annual fee.

Lichess study lessons are also free and very good. Their daily puzzle is free and limitless unlike Chess.com

You can play chess games on both apps either with friends or with the chess community.

Hikaru Nakamura is a Chess.com player. You can see his puzzle rush games on Youtube as well.
So is Magnus Carlsen.

Chess.com probably has the largest chess community and resources.


Thanks for all of those suggestions. I should have mentioned that I need a game that allows me to play against the computer, in addition to being a tutor for a beginner.

Is there such a thing where beginners can play against beginners online, in order to learn better? I’m the only person in the house who plays, and since playing in public ins’t an option now, the next best thing is online.

thanks again!!

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Thanks, but tinker to do what ???

You’re welcome :wink:

Lichess has an option to play against the computer and shredder stock fish and hiarcs are software so against the computer

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As far as I know hiarcs and stock fish are “pure” chess engines that require some sort of frontend or GUI to work, but I might be mistaken, since I never used them

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Chess.com, you can play against other players. They match you against other players of similar strength. No need to pay for subscription until you really want to

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gameknot is another great site. I have been playing on that site for 18 years. I’m happy with it a I very much like the UI.


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This article might be of interest.

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Stockfish is one of the most powerful chess engines out there… HIARCS has been abandoned years ago, AFAIK.

That looks like a very good place to start. Thanks for the info.

Just came across this article in my RSS feed.

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Hiarcs is alive and well, and does not need tinkering. (latest iPadOS versions if Nov 2020, last macOS version is Oct 2020). It has a nice built-in interface. The only “tinkering” involves learning how to use the many features. The program says it can offer play levels from 750-3200 ELO for the computer version, so enough breadth to accommodate pretty much anyone. I use Hiarcs on my Mac to play against (~1600), but mostly to play through games in books, to play through games in PGN files, to create my own PGN collections, including adding annotations and variations. I also use the iPAD OS version similarly. While I also have Stockfish and Shredder, I spend 95%+ of my computer chess time with Hiarcs. When I just want to play, any of the three are fine and comparably capable.

I should add that the developer has been quite responsive to my questions, queries and comments.

So, Hiarcs has my recommendation as worth looking into, … and I am NOT paid to say this.



I want to emphasize that Hiarcs has a nice GUI. It is not just an engine. There is also a PDF manual and the website has a whole set of short videos describing how to use various features.



I use Dr Wolf. You can get a few free lessons and just play, or subscribe for more in depth teaching

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