I don’t really like Chess, but I WANT to like Chess. I think the rules and strategies are interesting, and can fully appreciate why it’s such a highly regarded and enduring game. I just… don’t have the brain capacity for it. But like I said, I WANT to like it, and the new mobile game Lazy Chess also wants me to like it and is able to do that with some very clever design decisions. There are more variations and unique takes on Chess than you can shake one of those horsey pieces at, but Lazy Chess doesn’t really fall into those categories.
This is a straight-up version of Chess, but the crucial change is that the game uses AI to offer you the two best moves each time it’s your turn to play. It doesn’t tell you which move is the BEST move given the situation, but you’ve got a 50/50 shot at it.
And… that’s it. That’s the game. It utilizes the highly rated Stockfish Chess engine to determine what to moves to show you, and if you pick the better of the two moves it will let you know, and if you pick the worst of the two moves it will also let you know. It’s like having an expert Chess player sitting over your shoulder during a game, telling you what to do, but also letting you make your own decisions and mistakes.
The kicker is that just by observing the two moves offered each turn, and then taking note of when you pick the best or the worst option, you find yourself slowly learning the game at a deeper level and actually improving your own game. And apparently that was the intention of the developers, too. Lazy Chess is actually making me like Chess.
The binary nature of choosing a move each turn makes this feel like if Reigns and Chess had a baby. I only wish Lazy Chess utilized the same Tinder-like swiping gestures that Reigns uses to make it even more natural to play. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum from me, and consider yourself a Chess hotshot, I still think you’ll find plenty to enjoy in Lazy Chess. There’s a bunch of unlockable stuff like new board and piece designs, unlockable difficulty levels so you can ramp things up to your liking, and even the ability to play against other players online.
Lazy Chess is also totally free to download and play with ads and a one-time IAP to unlock an ad-free version of the game. Even if you think you don’t like Chess it’s worth checking out Lazy Chess for free, as not only is it a very good teaching tool, but if you disregard that it’s a Chess game at all it’s basically just a really good puzzle game.