The Pulsar Chess Engine plays Chess with multiple levels and six Chess variants: Chess960, Crazyhouse, Loser's Chess, Atomic, Three Checks and Giveaway(also known as Suicide Chess). In its chess play it values mobility and active positions. In app there is an article with more on its playing style and how to train against it. With the variants, each has its own style. Chess960, Three Checks and Crazyhouse are the more chess like variants that use more chess skill and adoptable to learn to play for anyone with chess interest. The rules of all games are in app.

All games played that end with a result or resignation are logged. Users can open their log file in App on the game menu. If the game is a chess game, Crafty engine analysis is available. There are also now additional game collections to get when users open their log file as well of classic and modern master games.

Pulsar has levels of play from beginner too advanced. Games with a time control are the hardest though Pulsar doesn't call the player's time. The time is more to handicap Pulsar's strength, but users will have a clock and can see if it's gone negative if they want to play the time control.

The game button - new game menu item, lets the user control the variant and difficulty. It defaults to Chess at Easy(lowest level) but remembers the current settings when the App restarts. There are choices of chess pieces and board color schemes. The Pulsar Chess program was originally developed by me for computers starting in 1998 and came to mobile for the first time in 2014.

Pulsar's board is accessible to the blind using Voice Over, a screen reader. Tap on a square and it will say whats on it and double tap to move or choose from three move methods.

Pulsar began as a chess program and later learned variants. It ran extensively on two chess servers for many years both at chess and variants. The ratings on the board reflect strength I saw in rated play on handicapped bots. They are not 100% exact but generalizations I made from the various bots I ran at different settings.

If in the new game selector, Play vs. Computer is unchecked the user can move for both sides. This is to allow two people at same location to use the App as a board for a game and have the app enforce move legality and results for whatever variant is selected, such as a normal Chess game or a Variant.

Pulsar2009-b is used on all platforms, computer and here on iOS and if users go to the support link they can get free binaries that run on the different computer operating systems on clients that support the Winboard Protocol.

What’s New

Version 1.90

Fixed some layout sizing issues introduced in last release.

Ratings and Reviews

3.8 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Snoozalotapus ,

Great app. Exactly what I hoped existed now

I didn't think I would find an app that could play crazyhouse, much less beat me. This is exactly what I was looking for. Great app. Now I don't have to bore myself playin regular chess on my cell phone!

Some Book Guy ,

Just don't get fooled

This is only an app to play against. You cannot challenge another player, like for example "chess with friends". Who wants to play a computer all the time?

On the up side FINALLY there is an app for suicide chess and atomic chess!

Developer Response ,

We still are just a chess program not an online game system but the level progression in giveaway or suicide has been improved to hopefully not make it seem so much like a hard computer level 2 and up. Level one previously was a real dummy as someone called it and level 2 got harder due to not limiting extensions only depth. now we limit extensions and levels 1-3 are redone with better level progression.

Davidyom10 ,

Awesome sparring partner

Im a regular chess player approx 1700 uscf and I find pulsars style of play on the lower levels quit amusing and challenging. Its really a great training tool for beginners + its free.

The cons: a few bug here and there but if you e-mail the developer he is quick to respond and fixes up the issues.

I gave it 5 stars because I find the app highly addicting.



Michael Adams
11.6 MB

Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.


English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

Age Rating


  • Family Sharing

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

More By This Developer

You May Also Like