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 Mac 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.
Made the regular chess Easy level a bit easier. Level 2 is the old easy as it was not much different and level three resumes as normal.
Game button made larger as thats a key button for controlling game.
Ratings and Reviews
Good game and engine
I am enjoying playing this app after the recent update. The features are simple and easy to use and everything I want from a computer sparring partner. On issue I found is with the PGN, especially after queen promotions. In one file after 48…b2b1=Q, every subsequent move was listed as a pawn move even if a piece moved, and every black move had =Q, for example 49…f7f6=Q. Also, I try not to use undo/revert move feature, but it would good to have those moves recorded in braces.
Developer Response ,
I thought it was a good idea for people's future self to know if they used undo/revert in a log file game. For now I add "unrated" in latest update to game string in games view if retract move was used. Like "Pulsar Chess Easy unrated". First two moves can still be undone without that being added to let people change the opening. I may have to update it later if people are confused because we don't actually rate. games, but for now i thought that was easier to read than adding something like 'retract move used". Stuff with moves and problems with move display has to wait for now. Maybe at some point in future the actual moves with retract move can be marked.
Game works and is fun
I played the iPad version of this, on my iPad. The game worked very well. I enjoyed it. It would be nice if the game would tell me when my king is in check. I thought that the game had frozen. In fact, my king was in check. It is a fun and worthwhile game on the iPad.
Suggestions to the Author:
1. Please create a “Baby” level. “Easy” is too hard! Your game is relentless. It covers every piece that it advances.
2. When an enemy piece moves, please make this happen slowly. Your enemy pieces move so quickly that I can’t tell what happened. This is especially irksome when I think the enemy captured one of my pieces.
3. Please tell me when I’m in “check”.
4. A clearer statement of “check mate” would be helpful.
No Frills, Great Features!
Deceptively primitive at first glance, this is a really solid chess app, with loads of useful features, and a very straightforward interface. I got it specifically for the Chess 960 variant, but it quickly became my favorite out of several, and I'm still exploring and learning. Kudos to the developers for adding value to the internet!
Data Not Collected
The developer does not collect any data from this app.
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- Michael Adams
- 4.4 MB
- Requires iOS 9.0 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 9.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 9.0 or later.
- Requires macOS 10.15 or later.
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
- Age Rating
- © 2014-2020 Michael Ronald Adams