Chess Openings Wizard is where tournament players go to work on their openings.

The app is based on the Bookup program that first came out in 1984. It has full editing and training power like its brethren apps on Macintosh and Windows.

Openings can be moved back and forth to the Macintosh and Windows versions.

Chess Openings Wizard does not play chess, nor does it come with a game collection. It is meant for designing openings for White and defenses for Black, and then testing the player's knowledge of the lines by playing mock games.

Sample ebooks include an opening guide (thousands of named and categorized opening positions accessible through any move order), an ECO master framework, and the White and Black repertoires of Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. It also includes a demo ebook with excerpts from a highly annotated repertoire in the Open Game.

A free chess engine server program can be run on Macintosh or Windows. That allows the iPad and iPhone to use the latest and strongest UCI engines for live analysis. (The server must share the same WiFi connection.)

The Pedigree ribbon shows the results of games in each opening position but uses only games between two super GMs. That way you know if the move is trusted by the best players. (And it's important to know if a move has never been played by a super GM when facing another super GM.) This is the same feature found in Chess Openings Wizard Professional for Macintosh and Windows.

The short version is: if you are designing an opening with a game database app or with a playing program, you're working too hard. Chess Openings Wizard contains 34 years of refinements, with precisely the tools that a serious tournament player requires to prepare openings fast.

What’s New

Version COW build 50

Dark mode and iPhone are now supported. The chess diagram includes (optional) algebraic hints and arrows showing the last move played. The list of ebooks is sorted by name. A speed button for editing comments allows the comments to be scrolled without triggering editing mode.

Two new functions have been added. The first adds any moves to a position that transpose to any other position. The second adds any moves that reach positions in the Pedigree database.

The Pedigree database is made up of the opening positions of all games where a super GM (extremely strong grandmaster) is paired against another super GM. If a move reaches one of these positions, a ribbon next to the move shows the relative wins for White, draws, and wins for Black.

Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

chuckbo ,

Very happy with functionality; look & feel needs improvement

I’ve had trouble deciding whether this should be rated four or five stars. The case for five stars is that it does exactly what I need it to do and very well. It’s the ideal coach for someone trying to improve at chess. I’ve bought one of the ebooks and been adding variations to it. I like the training that it offers, and I think it’s helpful that it can access a chess engine running on a Mac or PC and show results.

The case against five stars is that I’m dissatisfied with the overall look and feel. I’ve written to the developer with feedback and suggestions, and I’m encouraged that he’s not trying to defend how it looks. He agrees with the feedback and asked me to watch for future versions that will become more iPad-like; he was concentrating on functionality for this first version.

Bodnar ,

Easy way to improve opening, middle game and endgames

Not only do I make my opening books, I also make data bases for combinations and endgames and transfer from Mac. I keep them small so they only take about ten minutes in training mode. That way I can do them on break. It is a good way to stay sharp when you can’t play games. It is also a good way to keep track of the off beat openings that seem to be played more often to stay out of book. It is also a great way to keep track of your correspondence games.

1800Danno ,

I am so happy that Bookup is finally available on Apple devices

I have used it since it first came out decades ago. It was great then and it is even better today!
Mike thanks for always working to make it better and better.
It is the best way to put your opening repertoires online and play them over and over to get them locked in you memory.
Add to that opening hooks you can buy like the London System and you have everything you need to be a better chess player.


Bookup Corp.
350.4 MB

Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.



Age Rating


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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