Though it is one of the most durable and complex games ever made, video game designers often feel the need to add more to chess. Am I the only one who remembers Battle Chess? Instead of reinventing the wheel, Mobile Pioneer wisely avoided the glitz and focused on what chess players really want--clear piece-movement information and lots of opponents.
What you get is a simple, virtually monochrome chessboard with your pieces at the lower half of the screen. Letters and numbers outline the board a la Battleship, and the last move is shown not only by squares that are lit up but also by letter-number combinations at the bottom of the screen (for example, a8 - a7). Games can be modified in different ways, such as with the starting times and time limits.
There are two versions of ChessEverywhere. The first edition, which we are reviewing here, is strictly online play. The second edition, called Brainiac, will feature a computer opponent and will be released in March.
The main strength of ChessEverywhere is the cross-platform compatibility. It gathers opponents from Chess.net, Free Internet Chess Server (FICS), Internet Chess Club (ICC), and other ChessEverywhere phones, allowing for hundreds if not thousands of match partners. There's also a chat feature which adds a lot to the game, as mundane as it seems. I got a thrill from playing with a guy who, as I ate lunch, said he had to go because the sun was setting on the beach. You gotta love that.
ChessEverywhere has two relatively small problems. First, the menus are pretty confusing for a simple chess game. For instance, Options leads you to Seek (finding opponents), Games Available (which, again, is finding available opponents), and Players (finding specific players of a certain name, ranking, etc.), not to mention the half dozen other options listed. The somewhat repetitive menu interface seems more like an afterthought--wouldn't it be easier just to have a "Find Game/Player" link that contained the player-related options?
Secondly, it's often a long wait if you're looking for someone to choose you for a match. It's always much faster to Seek opponents.
Besides these small peccadilloes, ChessEverywhere is an addictive play recommended for experts and novices alike.