Good App: Shredder Chess

I found out about this app from reading ‘Average Is Over’. The chapter on how human intelligence augmented by artificial intelligence has revolutionized the way upper-level chess is played is particularly interesting. Read my review HERE.

Shredder Chess is an app that costs $7.99 in the Google Play store (I think it’s cheaper via iTunes but no matter what the price, who wants to pay for an app?).

The price kept me away from it for a while but one night I drank enough wine to embolden me enough to buy it. I’ve bought dumber apps while intoxicated so what the heck?

Shredder then languished on my home screen for weeks. I didn’t touch it. Truth is, playing chess with a computer isn’t appealing because there’s nothing social or fun about it. That attitude is probably what separates Garry Kasparov from the rest of us.

On a whim the other day I played Shredder on the toilet at work. I was hooked. For the past month I’ve played chess every day whenever I go to the bathroom, and my chess game has greatly improved.

So it makes for a great potty break, but what is it?

Shredder is basically chess with training wheels. You’re allowed to take back any move you make that is crappy by AI standards (“I think that your last move was not so good. Do you want to take it back?”). This babying eventually trains your chess game to be more cold and calculating. Whenever you do win, the difficulty is raised (or lowered when you lose) to best match your skill. There’s even a gauge that measures which color has the advantage, and the option to ask for a suggestion. Behold my proudest moment:


A bloodless coup if I ever saw one. Get Shredder Chess if you’re looking to improve your chess skills…or if boredom in the bathroom is getting out of hand.

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