Chess Openings Wizard 4+

Tournament chess opening prep

Bookup Corp.

Designed for iPad

    • 4.1 • 18 Ratings
    • $6.99



Tournament chess players use this power tool to design their opening repertoires. To test their memory and understanding of their lines. Share them with their PC and Mac.

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

4.1 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 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.

MoreDisgusted ,

Good functionality, but a bit crusty

The basic functionality of this is fine. It does what it’s supposed to do, and does it better than most other apps you’ll find. The biggest advantage it has is in how all the notes and evaluations you have are attached to the actual position, not the move list. This means it doesn’t matter if you arrive at the position from a different move order, it will connect you to all the notes you previously made about that position.

But there are gotchas:

There’s no flexibility in the layout. Among other things, this means if you want to write a text note about the position, the edit box it opens obscures most of the position you want to write about. Being able to do simple things like resize and/or relocate the board (or edit box) on screen would fix that.

It fails to take real advantage of the cloud. You can’t work with or directly store files in the cloud. You have to pass everything through Dropbox. This adds an extra process that complicates sharing data between phone and tablet, for example. (“Did I upload those changes to Dropbox from my phone? Is the latest version on my tablet or my phone, or in Dropbox?”) just giving it the normal iOS files interface would fix that.

It’s a useful tool, made a little less useful by some less than optimal design decisions. But if you don’t mind having to create a Dropbox account just to transfer data between devices (my biggest issue with it) and you can work effectively with the developer’s choice for screen layout, it’ll help you succeed.

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.

App Privacy

The developer, Bookup Corp., has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

No Details Provided

The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.


  • Family Sharing

    Up to six family members can use this app with Family Sharing enabled.

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