Solitaire Chess by ThinkFun

App review by
Jonathan H. Liu, Common Sense Media
Solitaire Chess by ThinkFun App Poster Image
Logic puzzler great for a wide range of ages, skill levels.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basic pieces and moves of chess and then apply that information to a simple puzzle: make every move a capture and finish with just one piece. Kids learn to test out and remember sequences as well as consider the powers and limitations of each piece. Four levels provide a range of challenge; it takes serious perseverance and resets to figure out some, while ohers come easily. Solitaire Chess is a great starting point for kids who want to build chess and memory skills.

Ease of Play

The app is easy to start playing -- pieces move according to regular chess rules, but the goal is to capture pieces until only a single piece is left on the board. The easy-level puzzles are fairly simple; the difficulty increases with higher levels. Players can solve puzzles in any order, and there is a hint button for help.

Violence & Scariness
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Consumerism

An info page lists the developer's name and URL but does not have an active link to it.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Solitaire Chess is an innovative puzzle game that uses the basic rules of chess and combines it with the classic peg-jumping solitaire game. The game teaches basic chess movements as well as planning ahead for future moves. The game is easy to play and has a helpful option that will show where a piece can be moved. There are 400 puzzles in four difficulty levels so there is plenty to challenge a player at any skill level.

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What's it about?

Faced with an arrangement of traditional chess pieces on a 4x4 board, kids drag pieces to capture others and test out various sequences until they find one that leaves only one piece standing. The difference from regular chess is that every move must be a capture. Kids will need to reset many times before finding the right sequence. Kids can choose Challenge or Quick Play (same puzzles just no menu) among four levels with 100 puzzles each.

Is it any good?

SOLITAIRE CHESS is an app version of a board game and is a fairly faithful translation. The player is presented with a small 4-by-4 chess board with several pieces on it. The pieces move as in regular chess, and the goal is to capture pieces until only one piece is left on the board. In the easy levels, nearly anyone familiar with chess will be able to easily solve the puzzles, while those who are new to chess will be able to familiarize themselves with the rules. There is a handy option that will show where pieces can be moved, and a hint button that will solve the puzzle one step at a time. With 400 puzzles, players can find a challenge for any skill level, particularly since you can skip to any challenge without solving previous ones.


Solitaire Chess is ingeniously designed, and the harder puzzles are extremely challenging. For players who love puzzles (and particularly those with an interest in chess) this is an ideal app.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Learn to play chess together.

  • Try checkers to get used to board mechanics.

  • Discuss ways to plan and remember series of moves.

App details

For kids who love puzzles and games

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