Tucsonan Dr. Mark Ginsburg knows a thing or two about the game of chess. He became a master of chess at the age of 18 and an International Master at 22. He is a three-time champion (and current champion) of the state of Arizona.
A few years ago, he envisioned a smart phone application to teach others to become chess masters. Today, his vision has become a reality with an iPhone app called Chess University, or Chess U, for short.
The platform is free via iTunes, as is a starter course called “Attack 101″. Each course has 10 lessons and each lesson has numerous quizzes. At the end of a course, the user can opt to receive a diploma via email. The point is to help them on the road to eventual chess mastery.
“The user reviews so far have been very positive,” says Ginsburg. “So far we have the free course and 4 “in-app purchase” courses. Users can elect to purchase additional content for $0.99.”
The user experience is very simple. No buttons or controls to navigate. Just tap right-side of board to advance a move, and tap left-side of board to retreat a move. Quizzes can be true/false or multiple choice with easy to read answer choices at the bottom of the screen. There’s no training necessary to immediately start trying out the app.
Since not everyone has an iPhone, Ginsburg said that the courses will be available soon on native Facebook, since Facebook will soon introduce a monetary system. A customer will be able to purchase, using Facebook credits, courses much as they do on the iPhone.
“We also want the app to run natively on the iPad and are investigation other smart phones such as Android,” Ginsburg added.
Users of the application have requested more Chess U Courses and Ginsburg is working quickly to deliver them. He has gotten some friends to participate, too. Marcel Martinez, a strong player in Florida, will deliver a Strategy Course. Dave Vigorito from the Boston area is working an Openings Course. Steve Follmer is focused on a Beginner’s Course.
To learn more, watch the video below and visit the Chess U website.