Whether you're here because of Queen's Gambit or you're just looking for some chess on your phone, we have you covered. From games that keep things simple to trainers for those who want to shake things up a bit, this list of the best chess games for Android is bound to have something for you, regardless of your skill level.
And when you're done here, why don't you head over to our big roundup of the best Android games? You're bound to find something you like there.
Chess by AI Factory Limited
AI Factory Limited's chess app is considered by many, including me, to be the default chess experience on Android, and it's truly the best option for people who just want to play chess. It's down-to-Earth and basic on the surface, but has many features lying beneath. This is one of the only games I keep installed on my Pixel at all times.
There are two versions: free ad-supported and paid, ad-free (with some additional features like five extra boards). AI Factory Limited has made a name for itself recreating classic board games for Android and we've featured it on some of our other lists.
This game uses the Treebeard chess engine, which some claim has a more "human" feel to it. You have 12 levels of play, from Novice to Expert, and a choice between Casual and Pro modes. There's a built-in tutor, insight into the CPU thought process, stats, achievements, leaderboards, and an ELO rating. That's not even everything included here, but if you want chess on your Android device, this is the one we recommend.
AI Factory Limited's take is packed full of features and comes in two versions: an ad-supported free variant and a premium ad-free one. There's a lot in this package for chess fans of all skill levels.
AI Factory Limited's Chess may be our top pick on this list, but Chess.com's offering is a very, very close second. Accomplishing much the same as its competitor, this game offers plenty of chess, social elements, and much, much more.
First and foremost, we have the game of chess itself. You have options here. Play against the computer or other players, join tournaments, make friends — it's all open to you with this app. Furthermore, you have access to chess-based puzzles to improve and hone your skills. There are even tutorial videos and lessons to get beginners up to speed.
To list all of Chess.com's offerings here would take too long, so I encourage you to check it out if you're looking for more than AI Factory Limited's Chess can offer. You can't go wrong with either option.
Nipping at the heels of our top pick, Chess.com's app is the Swiss army knife of chess apps. It's packed to the brim with features to teach, improve, and challenge players of all skill levels.
Rounding out our top three here is Lichess, a free and open-source (FOSS) chess app for Android. While it may lack the robust suite of features that Chess.com and AI Factory Limited's Chess have, it makes up for it with strict simplicity and meaningful options. It's built to cater to chess lovers who just want to play a game and improve.
Lichess boasts about 150,000 players, so you shouldn't have trouble finding someone to play against. There are multiple modes to keep veterans interested, tournaments to prove your worth, and puzzles to practice your skills. You get computer analysis if you're obsessed with seeing how you could've done better, offline play, and plenty more features.
That's all well and good, but Lichess is completely free without any ads or in-app purchases. It's just good ol' chess with other players (if you want) and there's something to be said for that!
Lichess may not have as many features at its competitors, but it still has an impressive list of things it can do. Notably, it's 100% free and it offers online play, again for free.
Moving on from traditional chess, as it were, we're going to check out a couple of games that changes things up. The first of those is called Chessplode, one of our older Game of the Week picks, and it's a ton of fun. As you might have gathered from the name, it's chess with explosions! Have I caught your interest yet?
The way it works is pretty simple. Capture a piece and the whole row and column explode, obliterating any pieces therein. However, if a King happens to be in that row or column, the capture will be your standard, "boring" chess capture. The whole premise upends typical chess strategies, and you can find yourself easily winning or losing with a single move.
Chess with explosions! Sounds great, right? Capture a piece and everything in that row and column blow up, unless there's a King there.
Really Bad Chess
Continuing with our wacky takes on chess is Really Bad Chess. Whereas Chessplode resembles traditional chess to some degree, this game throws all of that out the window. Instead of having your standard pieces, Really Bad Chess will assign you random pieces and throw you to the wolves.
That means you could have, say, four Knights, three Queens, and so on. There is no balance whatsoever and your go-to chess strategies fly out the window. You just have to deal with what comes and try to have some fun!
Forget balance, skill, strategy, and everything else that you know about chess and get ready for pure chaos. Really Bad Chess randomizes what pieces will be in play for weird and chaotic fun.
Chess Tactics Pro
Moving on, we have Chess Tactics Pro, which focuses on tactics puzzles to improve your chess strategy. It's quite basic, but it features a lot of awesome pieces to help you improve your game. These puzzles range in difficulty for all skill levels and there are purchaseable offline puzzle packs for additional learning opportunities.
If you're an advanced player, the difficulty goes up to 2000 ELO. You have daily options, the aforementioned puzzle packs, puzzle history, an analysis engine, and several board themes. The game is free to download with IAPs for additional puzzle packs.
Chess Tactics Pro offers you a slew of chess-based tactics puzzles to improve your skills. It offers a wide range of difficulties, an analysis engine to learn from your mistakes or weaknesses, and daily puzzles for more fun.
iChess is a bit more laid back than Chess Tactics Pro, but it runs on the same idea: chess puzzles. It's well-known that these tactics puzzles are great ways to improve your chess game and iChess certainly delivers. It's perfect for newer players who want to get better and just want a no-frills chess puzzle app.
With iChess, you get three difficulty levels, the ability to load your own PGN puzzle files, and a bunch of analysis features to see where you can correct mistakes and strengthen weaknesses. The free version comes with ads, but for a couple of bucks, you can unlock the full, ad-free experience.
A bit more laid-back and noob-friendly than Chess Tactics Pro, iChess is another chess tactics puzzle game. Solve puzzles, import your own PGN files, and use the analysis tools to see where you can do better.
Finishing off our group of chess puzzlers is Chess Light. Whereas Chess Tactics Pro and iChess focus on tactics puzzles that you could use to improve your game, Chess Light is more of a puzzle game that takes obvious inspiration from Chess. Even so, we included it here because it's fun.
You have over 180 puzzles at your disposal and six difficulty levels. There's a hint system for you if you get stuck, but where's the fun in that? Chess Light is free with no ads, so have at it! It can get really challenging, but I encourage you to stick with it!
Less so chess than a puzzle game inspired by chess, Chess Light is nonetheless a fun and challenging game. Light up all the squares to beat the level!
Chess Openings Trainer
To round out this list of the best chess games for Android are trainers, apps specifically designed to challenge you to shore up your weaknesses. There are no puzzles here, just good old fashioned Chess. The first of these apps is Chess Openings Trainer. If you're looking to have good openings and strength in the mid-game, this is an app you have to try.
Since this is a teaching app, the goal is to help you remember how to accomplish various tasks. Repetitition, therefore, is the name of the game here.
Chess Openings Trainer uses the Stockfish engine to teach you and moves repeated to really beat into you the most effective strategies. I really like this app, as very poor chess player, because within a few minutes, I already knew how to defend against some of my own weaknesses.
Chess Openings Trainer is great for teaching you how to start off a chess game strong. The app learns from your moves and counters with effective strategies, thereby teaching you how to bolster your weaknesses.
CT-ART is considered by many to be the best chess training app ever made. There are a whopping 2,200 basic exercises and 1,800 auxiliary exercises to help you learn, spread out amongst 50 different topics. It's a staggering amount of content all on its own.
The exercises have their own goals, so it doesn't really feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again. You'll learn different tactics along the way, too. The app will also track your ELO climb as you go, letting you see a real-world number for your chess skill. The free version lets you sample some of the lessons, then you'll need to buy the premium version.
The king of chess training apps, CT-ART is a must for anyone serious about learning chess, getting better, and finding their weaknesses. This app has a lot going on, so don't feel too overwhelmed when you jump in.