ChessJournal 2.1 now available (eventually…)

Hello ChessJournal Fans!

I’m delighted to finally write a new blog post today on our latest update, ChessJournal 2.1.

“Wait a minute Jon, that came out last week?!” I hear you cry.

Well yes. Yes it did.

Android users have been enjoying v2.1 since June 3rd but unfortunately a bug in our iOS release meant we had to go through App Store approval again and that lasted longer than either myself or Matt would have liked.

Despite this short delay, I am delighted to introduce all the new features in v2.1 as follows:

  • ECF Rating: If you are based in the UK then you now have the ability to change your ChessJournal settings to ECF rather than ELO! This was a common request from all of our British based woodpusher fans and I’m glad to finally bring this feature to you.
  • Move Indicator: Another common request was to provide an indicator on the game screen of exactly what move in a game or variation a player is on. This move indicator can also be used now to highlight to a user when a variation is available to view without having to scroll.
  • Improved Game Controls UI: We have also cleaned up the main controls around games to make them easier to alternate between evaluating positions and variations. I think this change is my favourite update in this release.
  • Name a season: Many users also asked us to provide the ability to name a season so they can functionally group different types of games e.g. “Bristol League Games” or “Somerset New Year Tournament”. You asked for it, you got it!
  • Improved PGN Import: We also tweaked some of the usability and technical aspects of importing your games from PGN.
  • Minor bug fixes: As always we did some minor clean up on bugs reported by the ChessJournal community.

So there we are! You asked and we listened!


In total myself and Matt have spent about 30hrs updating to ChessJournal 2.1 in the last few weeks (including our various liaisons with the App Store). I hope you can see the value that our efforts bring to v2.1 of ChessJournal.
If you are pleased with the update and progress that we are making with ChessJournal then please please please leave us a review in the App Store or Google Play Store. Reviews are crucial to helping us reach more of our fellow woodpushers.

In other news, I have a number of other initiatives that I am planning for the blog so stay tuned!

Until next time.

Jon


 

ChessJournal is the companion app for club and tournament players. Store your games in the cloud for free and analyse them on the go on your phone or tablet.  Leave your laptop at home the next time you visit that big tournament!

You can download ChessJournal on iOS and Android here:

applestore

googleplay

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Introducing Goals in ChessJournal Pro

Hello ChessJournal fans!

It’s been a quiet start to the year on the blog but a busy one behind the scenes. Myself and Matt have been busy pulling together ChessJournal Pro ready for launch in the near future. I am not going to say too much on this exciting new direction for the app but I thought I would write a quick update on one new feature we are calling “Goals”.

When ChessJournal Pro launches you will find that the “Trends” tab has been amalgamated into “Stats” and been replaced with “Goals”. The “Goals” area really plays to the journal aspect of ChessJournal Pro. Whilst the rest of the app allows detailed analysis and study, “Goals” is much closer to a diary where the determined self improver can set their own challenges and track their progress.

Players will be able to set themselves personal improvement goals for an entire season. “Goals” can take many forms and are as personal to each chess players objectives based on their current ability. Some example “Goals” could include:

  •  With Black I want to learn the Ruy Lopez
  • Before I move I will analyse atleast two candidate moves
  • I want to beat someone above 1900 ELO
  • I want to draw less games
  • Win the grading prize in the Bristol Summer Congress: Open section

As you compete across a season the “Goals” area allows you to link and tag ‘over the board’ games that you have played that provide an example of you achieving that goal. You can link as many games as you want to a particular goal.

To help you get started, each season will come with a number of default goals that you can edit or delete. Me and Matt have been discussing what should be a default goal for a chess player at the start of a new season and it’s stimulated some facinating discussion down the pub! As always we welcome feedback from our dedicated ChessJournal blog readers on what kinds of goals you set yourselves.

So that’s it for this week! A quick sneek peek of just one new feature coming your way when the new and improved Chessjournal Pro launches. When we are closer to announcing a launch date, I’ll write another update.

Until then I hope everyone’s season is going well. My personal season is currently on a knife-edge as a great start has been undermined by a poor run in January dropping my stats to below 1800 and at 42%. The next league match is make or break…

The Great #chessjournal Challenge

Hello ChessJournal fans!

So the long summer break is finally over and we enter yet another season of cut and thrust ‘Over the board’ chess.  To coincide with the start of the new chess season we launched another update yesterday for everyone’s favourite self study chess app.

Version 1.4 of ChessJournal now contains two key new features.

Social Sharing

You can now create a unique URL for each of your games and share them with club mates through Twitter, Facebook, Whats app, email or what ever takes your fancy.  The keen eyed amongst you will have noticed me starting to test and tweet this functionality late last week but now it is available for all to enjoy, huzzah!

cjshare

Myself and Matt are really pleased to finally get this functionality into ChessJournal as it has always been on the roadmap.  We hope you find it useful for those evenings after the dust has settled on the league match from the night before (or on a Monday after that long hard weekend tournament).  Don’t lament that loss or rejoice in the win by yourself.  Its your club mates responsibility to tell you how you could have won that vital extra half point!

Analysis of variations

We have also added a “variations scratchpad” to the app to enable you to explore the key positions that you may have annotated.

cj_annotate_options

The scratchpad basically lets you open a new board position and shuffle some wood until you find the winning combination that you missed over the board (with a little help from the chess engine should you need it).

cj_scratchpad

We find the variations scratchpad fits nicely into the dynamic annotation timeline as it allows you to just double check some of your assumptions around the moves that were made (or missed).  You will find the variations scratchpad under “Options” in the dynamic annotations timeline of your games, titled “Analyse Position”.
cj_analyse_position

Whats next?

That just leaves us with moving ChessJournal onto the Android platform as the last part of our initial roadmap.  We have already begun to look into and test the app on Android and I aim to bring you news as soon as possible about when you will be able to get ChessJournal on the Play store.  What is definitely likely to happen is we will run another sales promotion to celebrate moving onto the new platform.  Probably free for 6 weeks at the time of writing, so please do standby to tell your friends.

The Great #chessjournal Challenge

Finally I wanted to mention an idea we have been floating around ChessJournal HQ for a while regarding measuring the success of keeping a journal.  ChessJournal is built around the premise that we believe amateur chess players can benefit more from analysing their own games and mistakes, than spending hours pouring over 2800 GM games pretending that we fully understand.  Whilst elite game analysis is also important, lets not pretend that the reason for most of our lost rating points is because we couldn’t remember the 16th move of the Berlin defence.

Therefore, I want to encourage all readers and owners of ChessJournal to start tweeting their games to #chessjournal throughout the coming season.  Perhaps even start be tweeting your personal goals for the season.  For example, I am aiming to add 75 rating points to break the 1900 barrier for the first time in my life.  A lofty goal but hey we all have to have ambition!

You can think of it as one giant experiment but I am really intrigued to see how an amateur chess players season wide performances are effected through the regular act of self study and maintenance of a chess journal.  When I have time I will write a full blog on The Great #chessjournal Challenge (maybe we can have prises?!)

Thank you reading and all your messages of support and feedback.  To all ChessJournal fans in the new season, Good Luck!

Cheers

Jon

Download ChessJournal here: http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

 

 

Talking to chess players…

Hello ChessJournal Fans!

Its been another interesting week here at ChessJournal HQ as we moved into our second week since launch and we started to get more feedback from real chess players.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Bristol & District Chess League’s Summer Congress where I had an opportunity to chat to players actually in a tournament environment.  I also made some rather snazzy posters (if I do say so myself) which I placed in tactical locations around the building such as right underneath the tournament standings.  Blunt but effective marketing!

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 08.28.01

My thanks to the congress organisers, Alan Papier and Graham Mill-Wilson, who also let me make an announcement to the 92 assembled “wood pushers’ before the start of round three.

What was fascinating about my little exploratory  research session was how badly missed the PGN export feature is in the current version of ChessJournal.  “Can I export my games?” was nearly always the first of second question asked (the other question often being “When will it be on Android?“).

In hindsight (a wonderful thing!) the demand for the PGN export feature is obvious as many chess players already have an established workflow for analysing their games at home using powerful software such as ChessBase.

This last point appears to be an interesting area of confusion as here at ChessJournal HQ we have received several comments from chess players thinking that our app would replace these much larger software packages!! Let me be clear now and say categorically, that is not the case.

We believe the beauty of ChessJournal is in the immediacy and convenience of having your games on your smartphone and forcing you to self critique and learn from your mistakes as you replay and annotate your matches.  ChessJournal is a tool designed to aid chess players immediately after a league or tournament game and not to actually replace or become a database of millions of GM games.  Don’t take your laptop to the tournament, take your smartphone! Its an app for chess players on the go or who don’t want to remember all their scoresheets when they meet for a weekend “coffee & kibbitz” session with friends ! We are a “$2 once kind of app” and not a $10 a month / $120 a year kind of app! I am going to work hard to clear up this confusion moving forward.

When viewed in this light its easy to see (hindsight, yes I know hindsight!) how essential PGN export is, as this feature enables ChessJournal to support and enhance existing software used by serious chess players. A PGN export feature for your games will very likely be in the next release of ChessJournal.

So some news on other updates!  I am working on the iPad improvements this afternoon whilst Matt is sunning himself on holiday!  In all seriousness we have taken a couple of weeks off to relax from the launch and give us the time to gather all of your valuable feedback.

We aim to start rolling out updates soon and of particular note is our planned discussion around the Android roll out.  The demand is clearly there!

Thats it from me this week!  As usual I will finish with an update on our little community.  Our social media presence now numbers 438 likes or follows so we continue to grow slowly and steadily. Keep spreading the word!

Until next time folks!

Cheers

Jon

Download Chessjournal here: http://itunes.comapps/chessjournal

Reviewing the 2015/16 Chess Season

Hello ChessJournal fans!

Its been a little over a week since version 1.0 of ChessJournal launched and I thought it would be a good time to give a demonstration of how I use ChessJournal to aid my thinking for my summer training (in the UK the chess season typically runs September to May). But first a bit of context…

I am an average club player.  I have hovered around the 1800 mark for the last five seasons and began the 2015/16 season graded at 1750. I play for Horfield Chess Club in Bristol in the  UK and was selected for board 6 (bottom board) of the Horfield B team who compete in Division 1 of the Bristol and District league.  My captains remit to me for the season:

Try not to lose too much“.

A quick look at the opposition showed I was likely to be the lowest graded player in most matches by 150-200 ELO points.  The final point to bear in mind was that my wife was heavily pregnant and we were expecting exactly half way through the season. Lets just say my mind wasn’t 100% on the chessboard…

Fast forward to May 2016 and I managed to play in 18 matches (I lost most of the second half of the season when my son arrived in February).  I had some cracking games against strong opponents and even managed to win a few.  Who could forget my heroic win on time to save the match against Yate Chess Club? No-one? Just me then…

Ok back to ChessJournal.  I have downloaded the app and input the 18 games for the 2015/16 season.  As I input each game it is refreshing to revisit games that I haven’t looked at for 9 months and I immediately start to spot patterns in my play.

Black performance in Division 1

I like to think I’m a good defender, especially with my favourite Owens defence (1..b6).  Turns out I’m not.

Last season I played Owens defence and scored almost 60% in Division 2.  Its just not working in Division 1.  Where last seasons opponents were confused, the higher calibre opposition saw straight through my ruse and battered me with black across the season.  A miserly 36% (admittedly from only 7 games) shows a poor return with the black pieces.

black review

Its not just my overall performance with black but the manner of the defeats.  On three occasions I was absolutely smashed in the early middle game, particularly when my opponent adopted an early knight e2 structure. The game below lasted 18 moves after an early Qg4, ouch!

dpk review

Tactics involving pins

Reviewing my season reveals that on at least three occasions I lost games due to tactics involving pinned pieces.  Ive had a suspicion of this weakness in the past but seeing it on the board with the engine running drives home that I really don’t spot this type of tactic.  I mentally note to look at this further. The game below shows how rook to B8 lost instantly to the rather lovely rook C6!

calverley review

Im scared to push with White

In a complete counter to my performance with black, I score a respectable 55% with the white pieces against strong opposition. However, a deep dive into my 11 games with white reveals that of my 4 draws, 3 of them I was in a winning position either on the board, on the clock or both. Although objectively two of the games were level, there was a lot of play left in the position and my opponents had very little time left.

domonic review

I appear to be overawed with the stronger opposition when I have them in a nasty spot.  My finding is validated from my wins with white where I have played some unsound but positive moves (see my bishop sac below) and been rewarded with the win.

dimond review

Finally a look at Trends shows that I have scored highly (1900) when drawing.  How many of those could have been full points rather than half?

trends review blog

Conclusions

Already I have identified three areas for me to focus on over the summer:

  • Review my black opening repertoire for Division 1;
  • Practice performing extra double checks for pinned pieces.  My structure is not always as solid as I would think!
  • Be more confident with white.  I am actually strong with white (averaging 1870 ELO) and could easily have scored even higher if I wasn’t intimidated by my opponents grade on the score sheet.

Thats it! At the conclusion of a tough season, full of mistakes, I’ve learnt a lot and I take some consolation when ChessJournal shows a grading performance of 1828 (78pts more than last year).

I hope this blog post gives you an indication of how ChessJournal can help you become a better chess player. Our goal has always been to provide an app that allows you to focus on your game and all of its nuances.  If I just address the three factors in this blog post I am confident that I will be a stronger player in Division 1 next season. Although I will definitely have to get more sleep…

Until next time!

Jon

Download ChessJournal here: http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

 

Feature Roadmap

Hello ChessJournal fans!

As promised, I wanted to write another blog post covering the high-level development roadmap for ChessJournal now that v1.0 has gone live.  Over the weekend we have received some fascinating feedback that we are still collating from all of you.

review

However, me and Matt have always had a number of key strategic releases and updates for ChessJournal planned once it was on the App Store.  The timings and release schedule are to be determined but I wanted to give you early customers an idea of what is to come ahead.  In a loose but not necessarily correct order, here we go…

iPad Optimisation

Whilst v1.0 of ChessJournal works on iPad, we are well aware that it needs a level of optimisation to improve the “look and feel” when compared to its iPhone counterpart.  For example, typography and pop-up windows in particular. The iPad optimisation of ChessJournal is a “straight after launch” activity because we learned through our App Store application that iPad also had to be supported. If you have downloaded ChessJournal on the iPad then don’t worry, it will be improving soon.

PGN Export and Share functionality

As I stated in my last post, the addition of PGN export functionality has always been intended but following the v1.0 release we realise how valued this is.  The addition of PGN exports for games also ties in nicely with another missing piece of functionality that didn’t make it into the first version of ChessJournal: Sharing.

It has long been our goal that upon entering your chess games then ChessJournal should enable you to share them via email or social media (eventually we might move to the point of sharing between different ChessJournal’s but that is a way off yet).  Its obvious to see how the provision of PGN export and sharing go hand in hand, so it is likely that this feature combination will be added soon.

Annotation Design Improvements

ChessJournal is about storing, analysing and recording your thoughts about each individual game to identify where you went wrong.  Whilst we are pleased with the v1.0 implementation and the ability to edit and annotate games, we feel that a better, sexier solution could also exist.  Whilst I don’t want to say too much now, myself and Matt will be exploring how to improve the design of the game annotation feature of ChessJournal.  Basically we will be focusing some design effort on the “journal” part of ChessJournal.

Trends Expansion

The Trends tab of ChessJournal is intended to grow as we gather more feedback from ChessJournal users and fans.  At the moment we have launched with two Trends: “Opponent Grade” and “Length of Game”. Moving forward we have already identified three additional trends which are “Form”, “Days of the Week” and “Mistakes”.  If you have any suggestions for what kind of trends you would like us to track then please do let us know.

trends

Android Launch

Android, oh Android! Yes.  We will be launching on Android.  The app has been specifically designed to do so.  However, we want to make sure that we get ChessJournal right on one platform first before we launch it on a second one!  Its been really reassuring to get all your comments on Android as it shows a real desire for ChessJournal which is encouraging.

Languages

A final high-level feature we will be working towards is the provision of ChessJournal in multiple languages.  In a similar vein to the Android launch, we want to make sure that we get ChessJournal right first before we invest and create multiple language versions of it. However, we understand how critical launching a multi-language version of ChessJournal will be as chess is obviously a global game!  For example, our Twitter Analytics package shows us that 18% of our Twitter followers speak Spanish. Thats a big percentage of ChessJournal fans!

So thats our high-level feature roadmap for ChessJournal. Hopefully this post gives you an idea of what is come and where we aim to improve.  I know I always say it but we really are grateful for your feedback and suggestions and ChessJournal’s success is built upon that collaboration. Please do share news of ChessJournal with your friends, team mates and club officers.  Every piece of feedback helps.

Until next time.

Jon

Download ChessJournal here: http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

ChessJournal is LIVE!

app store

Hello ChessJournal fans,

By now I am sure that most regular readers are aware that ChessJournal v.1.0 went live on Saturday 28th May 2016.  Huzzah!

The response so far has been absolutely fantastic with a flurry of positive comments across social media.  Its been a pleasure to read everyones responses as well as start to gather valuable feedback on how we can improve ChessJournal. If you have contributed over the weekend then both myself and Matt would like to say a big thank you!

Its already fascinating to see the consensus from ChessJournal fans on things that can be improved as well as features that are missing.  For example, a PGN export feature has been requested on numerous occasions.  Such a request brought a wry smile to me and Matt as we have already (architecturally speaking) planned for the introduction of a PGN export feature. It just didn’t make it into v1.0 of ChessJournal. This is an excellent example of how real customer feedback affects the roadmap for ChessJournal.  Originally the PGN export feature was not so high a priority but we have listened to you, the customer, and are already planning how to move this desired feature forward. I will be blogging shortly with the high-level development for ChessJournal so please say tuned!

Back to the launch weekend and what fun it was! Special mention has to go to Terry Tyson who probably was not only the first ChessJournal customer (I Tweeted at 06:30 following my baby boy waking up at 05:00 and Terry instantly replied!!) but also demonstrated immediate learning from his chess match later in the day when he posted the following:

terry

Unlucky Terry!

A second highlight of the launch weekend was finding ChessJournal entering the Top 20 in the Top Charts for “Board games” in the UK.  Straight in at number 13!  A great result (quickly followed by an immediate plummet from the top 150, ah well).

top 20.PNG

So we finally got there (only the 6 weeks late) and I feel its important to say that this is only the beginning as we work (with you hopefully) to push ChessJournal forward and create the best companion app for “over the board” chess players possible.

I will finish this post with an image that I feel sums up the weekend for myself and Matt.

Cheers!

cheers.JPG

Download ChessJournal here: http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

Chess engine fun & games…

Hello ChessJournal fans!

Its been a month since my last update and despite outside impressions to the contrary, we are very very close! Tomorrow myself and Matt intend to meet for a couple of hours to finalise the App store submission which means, all being well, ChessJournal v1.0 should be available within a week!

The end of May launch would put us about 6 weeks behind our original intended launch date of mid-April. As regular readers will know its been a learning curve and perhaps the biggest lesson materialised since my last post when we realised we had issues with the Stockfish chess engine…

Myself and Matt thought we had done all our homework on the licence for Stockfish but thankfully a new friend on Twitter (Acid App Chess – check them out here) pointed out some complications and our misinterpretations with the Stockfish licence (specifically around open source code) that meant we would be unable to use it. Integrating Stockfish had taken the best part of 10 days so you can imagine we were not happy with this effectively lost time. Whilst the chess engine is not the sole key to ChessJournal we do consider some analytical support on your games an important feature so you can evaluate key moments in your games. Therefore we set about looking for a new chess engine built on JavaScript with a suitable licence. As it turns out, not such an easy task!

Perseverance was the order of the day and eventually we found Garbo-JS.  A lovely example of a chess engine with a playing strength of around 2600 ELO, more than strong enough to evaluate any given position that your average club player will find themselves in.  Unfortunately Garbo-JS hadn’t been updated for about three or four years (a lifetime in development circles), so Matt found himself scratching around in the dark whilst I desperately tried to figure out the strange outputs that Garbo-JS was showing. Our situation was analogous to finding an old sports car engine covered in dust.  Somewhere inside was a powerful engine, it just needed a hell of a good mechanic and a couple dozen oil changes!

Fast forward three weeks and we are proud to say that the our chess engine is now purring nicely and giving good clean honest evaluations of any given chess position. With some minor amendments to the user interface (UI) the app is now feeling really nice to use.  Nicely done Matt!

new_chess_engine_interface

So that explains the delay in launch and the fun shenanigans that we have been enjoying in the ChessJournal camp in recent weeks. Our final bug sweeps have thrown up some fascinating issues, most notably the one below which neither me or Matt can really explain (don’t worry its fixed now)!

weird_bug

As always I will finish this blog post with a social update.  Our little community now numbers 402 followers / likes.  Its reassuring to see the steady growth and interest in our project. Thanks for all your patience, we really are very close and I can’t wait for you all to get your own ChessJournal’s on your phones.

I have been playing with the v1.0 of ChessJournal for the last week and on my next blog post I will write about using it to analyse my personal chess season from 2015/16.  Its surprising what findings it throws up!

Until next time!

Jon

UPDATE: We are delighted to say that since this blog post was written, ChessJournal is now available on the App Store. You can download it here: 

http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

How understanding chess players helps design decisions

Hello ChessJournal fans!

Welcome to another update on the development of the best companion app for over the board chess players (I know Im bias but what the heck). Last week I spoke about several ways ChessJournal can benefit the amateur chess fan. This week I thought I would discuss a major design decision for ChessJournal and why we have chosen that route.

Since the beginning I’ve wanted ChessJournal to be a product not a service.  Let me explain what I mean…

When I explain to friends, family and team mates what ChessJournal is many of them ask if it will be cloud based i.e. will you be able to remotely store your chess games and access them from any device.  In short the answer is no.  By choosing to make ChessJournal cloud based there are a number of factors that we need to consider, most importantly the storage of your data and all the factors that this entails (e.g. emails, usernames and passwords).

In essence, making ChessJournal cloud based means making it a service that would have a number of implications. These include:

  • 24 hour access and support (I know I’m a young father but even I have to sleep some time!);
  • A subscription payment model in order to cover mine and Matt’s time with servers and data storage etc;
  • Reliance on an internet connection!

This final point may initially sound moot but if you think about our principle of “carrying all your chess games in your pocket” then a reliance on an internet connection can be annoying.  From personal experience, many tournaments in the UK are limited in their wifi coverage and are often in cold dark halls but I have also been known to conduct analysis on trains, planes and even the bathroom (perhaps I’m sharing too much now…)!

So very early on in the development of ChessJournal we felt that it was a product and not a service.

We want chess players to access their games anytime, anywhere. No matter what.

We want to focus our efforts on making an exceptional application that  improves and meets the needs of over the board chess players with each new release.

We want the ChessJournal community to engage and tell us how they are using their individual ChessJournal’s and what features they need.

We want people to pay once and receive all the benefits that ChessJournal can provide for years without having to worry about monthly or annual subscription fees.

Perhaps most importantly we want a premium application that is not littered with adverts, or pushing people to constantly upgrade.

A final added benefit of us choosing to make ChessJournal a product and not a service is that all of your game data will naturally be stored in the cloud anyway as a natural consequence of backing up your iPhone.  Therefore, you the customer, have the best of both worlds. A quality premium app with your data backed up.  Happy days!

As always I will finish this post with an update on progress this week.  The big news from development land is that we have integrated the StockFish analysis engine (with a few wires still hanging out of the back) and are tweaking our game board interface.  Obviously the integration of StockFish enables a strong level of analysis but also allows some fun planning on the ChessJournal roadmap in the future. Keep your ears open for those updates.

Our social media presence continues to creep up with our little community now totalling 365 likes or follows.  Thank you for all your comments, shares and feedback.  Me and Matt genuinely take onboard every comment as we continue our journey towards launch day (what I have affectionately started calling “International ChessJournal Day”).

Keep reading and sharing!

Until next time…

Jon

UPDATE: We are delighted to say that since this blog post was written, ChessJournal is now available on the App Store. You can download it here: 

http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

Why over the board is different

Hello ChessJournal fans!

Several people have asked me why ChessJournal is only for over the board (OTB) chess players.  A couple of others  have queried why they will not be able to play other people at chess on their mobile phones via ChessJournal. I thought I would write a quick piece clarifying our thoughts on this.  Surprisingly the answer is almost the reason for ChessJournal’s existence.

Fundamentally, we believe that OTB chess is different to playing online.

The act of sitting directly across from your opponent and looking them in the eye.  The act of using a three dimensional board as opposed to a 2D screen. The ticking of the clock and the constant fear of trying to read how much time is left, wondering when the flag will fall. The hunger hitting you after 4hrs of play and the knowledge you had a light lunch. The temperature of the room and the distraction of your team mates exchange sacrifice on the board next to you…

At ChessJournal we believe that our performances and the factors that influence our results are too different in OTB chess to be compared with online.  Indeed my own rating is some 250ELO points lower online than when compared to OTB. Almost certainly as I focus on quick games of two dimensional blitz with half an eye on Netflix or the latest dirty nappy!

Too many chess apps focus on the pure chess playing experience on your mobile phone. This market is saturated with 1000’s of apps and websites.  Two obvious big players in this market are chess.com and chess24.com who can measure their customers in the 100,000s if not millions.  Playing online chess has been done.

At ChessJournal we want to create an app for the chess connoisseur.  The serious, competitive player who understands what it means to sit down and “shuffle wood” with your long term nemesis from the club down the road.  We want to create an app that will allow this type of chess player to digitise their chess career (given that our phones are always switched off when playing OTB) and actually learn, share and analyse this very different, more traditional, form of combative chess.  To learn about themselves and their game in the traditional, historical format of past world champions and their chess heroes.

Thats why we are making ChessJournal.

To conclude, I will end this blog post as I always do with a quick update on our development progress in the last two weeks.

Its been a slightly quieter time from myself as I returned to work after paternity leave but Matt has been working hard on the development.  Unfortunately we had a setback yesterday when we realised that a major piece of code we were using was in BETA and had actually been updated outside our knowledge.  This has necessitated some rebuild work from Matt who its fair to say was frustrated but also relieved that he had figured out the problem!

Finally for those that missed it, we launched a companion website for ChessJournal last week that explains more about the app: chessjournalapp.com.  Please check it out.

I also did some slightly comedic video marketing which actually received a lot of positive feedback and helped boost our social media presence well over 250 likes / followers.  You can see the video here.

Thank you for reading and please keep spreading the word of ChessJournal.

Cheers

Jon

UPDATE: We are delighted to say that since this blog post was written, ChessJournal is now available on the App Store. You can download it here: 

http://itunes.com/apps/chessjournal

Thank you for your support.