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DroidFish Review E-mail
Written by Yury Markushin   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 21:54

droidfishandroid

Today I will do a review of one of the strongest free chess programs available for android smartphones: Droid Fish. This program does not have any fancy things like a high texture wooden board or special sounds effects like those of Chess Free. However, what DroidFish does and does really well is playing chess.  The application is powered by a very powerful Stock Fish engine, which is a derivative of a commercially available all-famous Rybka. It is hard to precisely estimate the playing strength of Droid Fish, but I can certainly say that it’s way stronger than a Master’s.

When you open up a game it’s ready to play. The only things you need to specify are the playing strength of the engine, color and time. A neat thing about engine’s strength that it’s very flexible and adjustable with the increments of 0.1 % , from 0 to 100%. The options menu is pretty extensive and has variety of adjustments. For example it is possible to show the computer thinking lines, setup thinking time, enable time increment added after each move, display book hints, adjust pieces and squares’ colors and font sizes, etc. A very important function that was not available on Chess Free is the ability to save played games into pgn files and even include comments for the moves. It is also possible to load previously saved game, review and annotate it.

DroidFish has a build in opening book, which should be enough under most playing situations. However, if needed the app can use external opening book, which can be stored in the phones internal memory as well as on a SD card. Another useful feature of DroidFish is ability to setup a position and to give a computer analysis for it. Therefore, this app can be used as a portable analysis tool, similarly to a Pocket Fritz. The app supports various playing modes, you can play against a computer, you can play against a friend or you can watch two computers fight for the title of the strongest one.

Here are some screenshots of the Droidfish app: starting screen, options and middle of the game position. To start a new game you need to click the 'M' button, I had difficulties figuring that one out, looking in the menus didn't yield much results.

droidfish opening  droidfish menu droidfish-black


I have played against DroidFish on the 51% of its strength and have posted the game below.  The official website claims that DroidFish can search more than 15 ply deep on 1GHz CPU. I was running it on the dual CPU phone so we can expect the search depth to be even greater.

Pros

  • Very strong Stockfish Chess Engine with well adjustable playing strength
  • Ability to load/save/annotate “pgn” games
  • Support of external opening books
  • Position analysis mode
  • Overall versatility of colors and themes
  • Book hints during play
  • Comprehensive ‘settings’ menu
  • Simple looking interface
  • Multiple engine support (limited)
  • Being Free

Cons

  • Ambiguous menus are sometimes hard to navigate
  • Chess board looks a little bit small on my 4” screen
  • Cannot set separate time controls for two players
  • No support for move delay
  • No strengths to ELO correlation


More screenshots are shown below:

droidfish analysis droidfish help droidfish game


Wrap up:

DroidFish is a really good free chess app, probably one of the best currently available on Android Market.  It is a really good choice for all sorts of chess players, from beginners to professionals. However, I feel that DroidFish falls somewhere in between ’professional’ and ‘for fun’ app. For fun app this program lacks high quality graphics, attractive sounds and a goofy engine.  For a professional product it lacks things like online chess database access, threat search, multiple engine analysis, several variation parallel analysis, automatic annotation and chessbase format support as offered in Pocket Fritz.

Once again DroidFish is a really good entry level pro chess app and I recommend it to anyone who wants a free, strong chess rival with analysis and pgn support capabilities in your pocket.

Grade:

Engine Performance: 8.5
Graphics: 7
Options: 8
Overall 8 - Great App!


You can download the Chess Free from Android Market or can scan the QR-code below with your phone:

Droidfish QR code


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    Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 18:55
     

    Comments  

     
    0 #10 Yury 2014-07-04 11:11
    It's one of the disadvantages of the app. You can only setup the %-strength, but not an ELO strength. Generally speaking the time control should effect the ELO of the app. But if it's the same for both sides we can say it doesn't. ;-)

    Quoting Francesco:
    I wanted to know in that case corresponds to 2000 elo app's strenght .. that is the time factor reasoning of the program does not affect the ELO rating? therefore I would like to know what the weather put in the settings to make sure you play at 2000 elo


    50% strength corresponds to about 1800-2000 ELO range. Check the game above.
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +3 #9 Francesco 2014-07-04 09:54
    I wanted to know in that case corresponds to 2000 elo app's strenght .. that is the time factor reasoning of the program does not affect the ELO rating? therefore I would like to know what the weather put in the settings to make sure you play at 2000 elo
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +1 #8 eRick 2014-06-21 12:28
    With this chess software DroidFish, I can say that this is the best training tool for handheld device. Because of this review, I gained my interest in DroidFish.... Thanks Mr.Yury..... (y)
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +1 #7 Yury 2014-06-17 09:06
    Stockfish is rated about 2700 as a phone app. A typical master is rated close to 2200, meaning that Stockfish will win more than 95% of the games. A better question to ask would be if it played against GMs in official Match.

    As a computer program the stoockfish is 3200 rated.

    Quoting eRick:
    One more thing Mr.Yury Markushin..... Does Stockfish had a previous match against a master player? Does it also have a previous game to a master player beaten? If it really does, we can say that many players can have a tune up match with droidfish from their pocket. I mean, we may not need to go in a place just to have tune up games as preparation for chess tournaments...... :-)
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +2 #6 eRick 2014-06-14 11:17
    One more thing Mr.Yury Markushin..... Does Stockfish had a previous match against a master player? Does it also have a previous game to a master player beaten? If it really does, we can say that many players can have a tune up match with droidfish from their pocket. I mean, we may not need to go in a place just to have tune up games as preparation for chess tournaments...... :-)
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +2 #5 Yury 2014-06-13 09:00
    Quoting eRick:
    Is Droidfish recommended as training tool for chess players ranging from beginners up to professionals!?


    Hello eRick, at 50% of it's strength it's playing at about 2000 ELO (also phone hardware dependent). It's non-linear though, since at 100% it's nearly 2600-2700 rated. I believe most players can use it for analyzes of the games, unless you need an absolutely precise evaluation. Or if say, you are preparing for a Match against Carlsen ;-)
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +1 #4 eRick 2014-06-12 16:34
    Is Droidfish recommended as training tool for chess players ranging from beginners up to professionals!?
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +1 #3 Kiyoshi 2014-05-16 05:45
    I have been using droidfish for a while now and I agree with you for both the pros and the cons.
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    0 #2 Alfredo 2014-05-15 21:43
    It's stronger than chessmaster gm edition.
    I tried it out with a 4.5 to 0.5
    Quote | Report to administrator
     
     
    +3 #1 Samuel Christiawan 2013-09-19 21:46
    Hi!
    Thanks for the review. Do you know hot to use endgame tablebase on Droidfish. I have put kqkr.gtb.cp4 in \mnt\sdcard\Dro idFish\gtb but it does not seem to pick it.
    Thanks.
    Quote | Report to administrator
     

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