A co-worker a few weeks ago suggested that now that I'm "sheep" and I have an iPhone, I should get "Chess With Friends" and play chess against him. It's a free application that allows you to play against a specific person or a random person.
Before accepting his "challenge", I decided to download it and try a couple of games to see how my chess is doing. On my first game, I was playing with black and quickly I realized how rusty I was. But, after starting pretty badly, my opponent decided to play badly too and I ended up winning the game.
At this point, I decided to look around and make sure it was a good application. That's when I remembered that I had played with Chess.com before and was slightly impressed with how much they had put into it. And they have an iPhone app. So I installed that app (also free) and started my first game on chess.com (playing with whites) and a second game on Chess with Friends (playing blacks).
The chess.com game was going quite slowly, so I decided to start a second game on chess.com (playing blacks), so playing 3 games at the same time.
One interesting thing about chess.com games is that they give you 3 days to move, or else you automatically lose. Chess With Friends doesn't have that restriction.
Why is this last information important? Well, after 5 days, the second person I was playing against on chess.com simply stopped playing, so I won the game by him giving up. The game was way too early to say who was winning. So I was back to 2 concurrent games. And I wasn't doing so great in any of them.
But then again the guy on Chess With Friends started making more mistakes than I was making and I won the game. On the other hand, the one on chess.com mostly dominated the game from the middle of the game and I ended up giving the game up after 27 moves.
Now comes the summary:
2 games on Chess With Friends, both playing as blacks and I won both games.
2 games on chess.com, one I won because my opponent stopped playing and the other I lost (playing with whites)
My decision then became: do I want to continue on a platform that is a little prettier (the chess.com iPhone app is not that great), with worse players, so easier to win; or do I want to do the chess.com, lose a lot of games (or have players simply disappear from time to time), but potentially learn more?
It's a tough decision... But I guess I made up my mind: and it's not for any of the reasons above. It's because of a very nice feature on chess.com: after you finish a game you can request computer analysis of your game. And then you receive a nice play-by-play analysis of where I made mistakes and what I should have done. The report doesn't look very flattering:
Inaccuracies: 6 = 24.0% of moves
Mistakes: 2 = 8.0% of moves
Blunders: 1 = 4.0% of moves
Yes, I have a lot to learn! Only 64% of my moves were good. But, hey, it's been many years that I haven't played chess. And I did win those Chess With Friends games, so I'm not a complete loser!