Solitaire Chess is an app that takes the basic rules of chess and combines them with classic peg solitaire: Make every move a capture and finish with just one piece. 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: Every move must be a capture. It's not easy; players 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 difficulty levels with 100 puzzles each.
Tap and hold pieces to see where they can be moved, or use the hint button to solve puzzles one step at a time. Skip to any challenge without solving previous ones, reset all data (single user only), or replay each challenge endlessly.
As with chess, kids learn to test and remember sequences using probability skills and to consider powers and limitations for each move. With 400 total puzzles in four difficulty levels, Solitaire Chess offers plenty of challenge for any skill level. With just basic knowledge of chess moves, grade-school beginners will be able to solve the easy-level puzzles.
The tutorial splits up topics well: basic chess moves; rules for Solitaire Chess; and how to use hints, reset, and undo (kids will need to use reset routinely even though the text says "we frown" upon this). Trainer mode can be toggled off, but it's unclear what effect this has, if any. It would be nice if the game told kids when they were stuck, especially for new players. Although the app doesn’t include hints written specifically for each puzzle, students might enjoy the challenge of writing testing routines or hints that ask players to consider particular piece attributes.
Key Standards Supported
Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals). Recognize rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of these subcategories.
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison, e.g., interpret 35 = 5 × 7 as a statement that 35 is 5 times as many as 7 and 7 times as many as 5. Represent verbal statements of multiplicative comparisons as multiplication equations.