Really Bad Chess 4+

Chess minus memorization

Zach Gage

Designed for iPad

    • 3.8 • 1.6K Ratings
    • Free
    • Offers In-App Purchases



Really Bad Chess is just like chess, but with totally random pieces. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns — why not?

As heard on NPR's Weekend Edition

5 out of 5 Stars "An essential puzzle experience for anyone even remotely interested in strategy games" - TouchArcade

Whether you play chess daily, or quit just after learning the rules, this small twist will open the door to an entire new world of chess.

The free version of Really Bad Chess lets you compete vs. an AI in Ranked, Daily, or Weekly Challenges. Improve your skills using the included Freeplay mode. A single in-app purchase unlocks Versus Mode so you can compete against your friends locally! It also removes ads, displays captured pieces, and adds soothing alternate color-palettes to choose from.


"Makes chess fun even if you’re really bad" - The Verge

"Feels more modern than chess has ever felt" - Applenapps

"Really Bad Chess takes a really bad idea and somehow manages to make it a lot of fun." - Pocket Gamer

"Really good fun" - MacLife

Chess is one of those games I always wished I enjoyed, but its commitment to beauty, elegance, and perfect balance always turned me away. Really Bad Chess removes these boring restrictions and flips chess on its head.

As much as random pieces change the game in some ways, I was really surprised to notice how much the game remains the same, and how powerful some pieces are — you've never truly struggled against a pawn until you've struggled against a pawn in the back row.

For chess pros, Really Bad Chess will give you a new type of challenge — the pieces & the moves are the same, but you'll have to throw out your openings and your understanding of normal patterns of play.

For novice chess players (like most of us), Really Bad Chess greatly opens up the game. Instead of starting by studying openings, in your first games you'll get to discover the joy (and challenge!) of learning how to checkmate.

I hope you have as much fun with Really Bad Chess as much as I did making it.


What’s New

Version 1.4.7

bug fixes

Ratings and Reviews

3.8 out of 5
1.6K Ratings

1.6K Ratings

Editors’ Notes

Chess can be intimidating, but this tongue-in-cheek take on the classic game goes easy on our mistakes. Really Bad Chess is really good at mixing things up with a wild variety of challenges, board configurations (six bishops and three queens? Sure, why not?), and an undo button that lets us pretend we saw that checkmate coming all along.

Warehouse Mike 42 ,

Really Bad Chess?

This game has pretty much ruined me for the traditional version, although I make myself play regular Chess at least once a week. The best part for me, AND the worst, is when the AI gets a lot of Knights.. trying to get a non-piece losing move in is really challenging. I’ve found that the only way to play is to throw out any defense and just attack. Also, the AI seems to throw out its offense when I get any pieces close to its King, which is fun. Sometimes when I’m in dire straights and I take my Kings defenders completely away and place them by the AI’s King, it inevitably makes “really stupid moves” and I can capture its Queens on down. The app does crash once in a while, and the AI will put you in check sometimes, and keep repeating the same 2 moves indefinitely, which is why I gave only 4 stars. If this gets fixed, I’ll give 5, no problems. GREAT FUN! I highly recommend this game, pay the $2.99 simply because it helps support the great minds behind this great game, and the others by Noodlecake Studios Inc. Any haters out there? Drop your pride and give it a shot, why not. Keep up the good work Zach! I also love your arcade pool game.

Daa Babie ,

Playing against stockfish are we?

Long story short for those who may not want to read all of my review, if you are new to chess and saw this game as an opportunity to learn some strategy then just uninstall it and move on. It isnt worth the headache.

So let me get this straight. You make a game for people to play chess without having the big intimidating move sets to worry about and instead give us an ai to play against that seems to always perform the best possible move? I wanted this game to teach me how to move, defend, and break through pieces and to the transfer that to regular chess. It seems like a good training tool to get used to using different formations and to learn how adapting can win you games. All this was my expectation. Instead, i was met with a game that places me against possibly the MOST ept chess bot in existence. For example, in one game i was up several big pieces. I had four pawns, a queen, two knights, and a rook against my opponents three nights and maybe three pawns. I LOST. If you give the bot some sort of reasonable give and make it blunder some moves or at least play like a normal person id change this to five stars. Its a great premise, but im unspeakably tired of getting ripped apart by an ai that constantly plays the best move against me, someone who is just getting into chess and cant grasp yet how to move AND defend at the same time.

App Privacy

The developer, Zach Gage, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Linked to You

The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:

  • Identifiers
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Game Center

    Challenge friends and check leaderboards and achievements.

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