Review of ICC iOS clients for iPhone and iPad
Posted: 01 August 2018 09:22 PM  
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I’m going to try reviewing the pro’s and cons of the two main chess clients to login and play on chessclub.com on iOS,  Chess at ICC and Lantern Chess an ICC Interface.  To find them search their names in the iOS App store. I tend to use Lantern myself mostly,  but I made a point of using Chess at ICC for a few hours to make sure I have a good feel for it before writing this( I have used Chess at ICC in the past)

Both interfaces let you play, chat, and watch games on the Internet Chess Club, ICC.  The most notable difference when you launch each App is their layout. Chess at ICC has a side bar menu.  Lantern Chess has five tabs that run along the bottom.  On iPad choosing menu options just make popup views come above the board on Chess At ICC while on iPhone choosing a side bar menu option replaces the board with that view.  An advantage to Lantern is you can quickly move around from board to chat with less menu navigation.  One problem I found on Chess at ICC is when I was playing a game I went to watch on iPad and started watching and could never figure out how to return to my game I was playing. On iPhone on chess at icc when I was watching and left the game I could still hear the sound but apparently the only way to get back to that game was to go back to watch and reselect it. Chess at ICC could benefit from a way to get to your open boards.

Both interfaces have chess engine analysis, play against a computer and save games and open games you saved.  Lantern has most anything you can do outside of chat on it’s board’s “Options” menu in the lower right corner of board.  With chess at ICC it’s mostly in the menu but I found save and open game as part of the actions button menu ( looks like an Axe or Gavel). 

Chess at ICC is quick to let you turn on analysis with whatever is on the ICC board. Lantern Chess has an openings study view on it’s options menu.  Within this view of Lanterns,  the ICC board is swapped out and the user gets an analysis board which has at the bottom a choice of showing an opening book move table or Crafty engine analysis.  There is also open PGN in the Openings view and all the users games are logged that are played on Lantern and can be opened and analyzed.  Another way to import games into this Openings view of Lantern is to do a history command or other type of game list like liblist in it’s console(tab one) and long press on game and select from context menu “Save to PGN” which will make it show in Lantern’s Opening View.  And advantage of Chess at ICC is you don’t need to save any PGN to analyze game but can analyze whatever is on the ICC board. Lantern’/s PGN game lists can all be mailed out as email attachments to export them which means Lantern Users can log games for a period, export the log file and not bother with having their games emailed. Lantern can also open pgn files of under 2500 games that are opened in the app such as emailing a PGN file from a computer and long pressing mail on device and choosing open with Lantern. If more than 2500 games you get the first 2500.

They each have similar ways to find games: seek graph, custom seek and pool buttons Computer play is very good in both. This is an option on the side bar menu of Chess at ICC and on Board tab’s options menu on Lantern.  You can set difficulty in both.  Lantern logs these games all to PGN to be analyzed in the openings view. Additionally Lantern’s Pulsar Engine used for play the engine(its analysis engine is Crafty)  supports chess variants.


They each have My Games options. Both have Videos. Chess at ICC wins here for ease of use. Tap a video on Chess at ICC and it starts playing. Lantern has a Videos list on it’s options menu but it launches the video in Safari browser and ICC login is required.

Chess at ICC has correspondence chess and Lantern does not so Chess at ICC wins there too.

In terms of chat, Lantern has two tabs devoted to chat. It’s main tab is a color console and users can set channel and text colors in settings ( tab 5) but to be useful some commands might needed to be known so Chess at ICC with its social menu option wins at ease of use. Lantern does have a send prefix button to tap to set up a prefix like “Tell 250” to talk to lobby. It’s recent channels chatting that are available. Lantern also has on Tab 2, split chat, which allows the user to move one or more channels to top of two consoles. Lantern also has a double tap on channel text mode to focus in on that channel and have a send prefix set up then double tap again to undo. It’s toolbar below consoles informs users of their double tap status.  Lantern Chess also lets users long press on hyperlinks in console to open with the Browser.

You can watch games and chat in both at the same time on the iPad versions of each. Only lantern seems to let you do this on the iPhone version. They both have Watch and Broadcast menu options to choose current online games to watch and current chess relay games to watch or examine.  Lantern Chess gets its games from the events list while Chess at ICC seems to have more options such as the full tournament library not just the current round.

Chess at ICC does have timestamp and Lantern does not at this time.  Lantern may be better for play on faster wifi like the iPad than a laggy phone connection as a result of this.  Chess at ICC has only 3 board color choices Lantern has like 8 and a custom option to set a custom light and dark square color. Lantern lets user’s set channel, text and board colors to custom choice with a color picker view.

Lantern is at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lantern-chess-an-icc-interface/id743520893?mt=8
Chess at ICC is at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chess-at-icc-play-learn/id643326555?mt=8

There are Android equivalents of both by the same name but the programs are a little different from their iOS versions.

Edit: some people have said i should say this. I said i’m a Lantern user. I"m also the lantern Author.

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