Lazy Chess Game Icon

Lazy Chess Guide

a free, non-profit chess game

Lazy Chess Free App for iOS Lazy Chess Android

Lazy Chess Guide: How to Play

View the Lazy Chess Guide to learn how to play, configure settings or understand stats.


Welcome to our Lazy Chess guide, a non-profit chess puzzle that tries to innovate the game and reduce the intimidation factor for new or self-conscious players. By simplifying the game, it allows you to play competitively against opponents 500-1000+ ELO points better than your current standing.

To begin, you choose between two moves presented to you on your turn. Do this by tapping on the board on mobile, or by using the "tab" or "arrow keys" on the desktop version. These two moves represent the two best moves available to you according to stockfish, the most advanced chess engine in the world, but you won't know which one the engine thinks is better until after you've made your move.

Lazy Chess screenshot

Check out other players playing on Twitch!

To confirm your move, press the button or hit "enter" or "space" on desktop. The AI will then make its move and so on.

After you've won your first game, an assortment of icons will replace the text below the board:
Lazy Chess Game Icons

The positive/negative number to the left indicates how the current advantage as determined by stockfish. A positive score (\"+\") means white has a stronger position where a negative number (\"-\") implies black is favored. The value roughly translates to \"pawns\" where a knight of bishop has a value of 3 pawns, a rook is given a value of 5 pawns, and a queen is worth 9. You can use the dialogue box that opens from clicking this (or hitting the 1 key on desktop) to change your piece color.

The future next to the down arrow represents depth, how many times stockfish has iterated through its decision making process. Opening this dialogue by clicking or hitting the 2 key allows you to customize this setting in compromise with the amount of time taken to gauge the board.

The settings icon dialogue, when clicked or 3 is hit, allows you to bias the AI to your liking, although the game is designed to adjust the skill of the AI according to your rank, so give some time for your rank to increase before you play with this setting, to start with the skill of the AI will be all the way down, akin to an opponent around 1200 ELO.

Finally the history icon shows you how many moves have been made throughout the game and when clicked, allows you to analyze the current game in lichess or copy the current PGN to your clipboard for further analysis.

Below this is a breakdown of your stats. By clicking this you can get a more details on your performance.
Game Stats

Depending on the opening, you may see popups that replace the stats menu on mobile (on desktop these come in the upper right corner). This means the your current game follows a common and studied opening and you can open this link to read more and study how this opening works and its role in the game of chess.
Game Opening

Forfeiting is considered a loss (if you opponent has played) and to reset your data, hold down the forfeit button and confirm your selection. Purchases will be preserved although stars gained from watching ads on mobile will NOT.


Lazy Chess screenshot

Lazy Chess Gameplay and Settings


N Best is the default mode, in which you are presented with the N (Number, from 2 to 4) Best moves as chosen by Stockfish.

In the Best + Random mode, one of your options will be the best move according to Stockfish, and the other(s) will be random. This is a great introductory mode, deceptively easy--one blunder could cost you the victory! The AI also improves in this mode.

Shallow mode reduces Stockfish to its shallowest depth and things get frenzied. Your moves won't be as refined and neither will your opponent's.

All Random means that Stockfish is turned off and all your move choices are random. The game transforms into a choice of the "lesser of two evils" rather than the better of your two best.

2x2 is a unique challenge in which each player takes two moves in succession, one as self and another for their opponent. For example, on White's turn, the first move is for White and second for Black, and then Black makes a move for Black and one for White.

In Piece Focus, toggle among all possible moves of a single piece chosen by Stockfish.

Swipe mode lets you swipe in one of the eight cardinal or intermediate directions on your turn, and your choice will move ALL chess pieces that can move in that direction.


The number of moves you will be asked to choose from, from two to four.


The artwork of the pieces on the board, we have 5 options currently with more forthcoming and the ability to customize.


The color palette of the board as well as the highlighting. We have five so far and might add the ability to customize this in the future.

Multiplayer Options

Challenge Friend

You can play online against a friend. If you Create Game, you will be given a code for your friend to enter. If you Join Game, you will enter the code your friend gives you. Games are limited to 30 seconds per turn in realtime.

Play Random Opponent

You will be put into a queue with other players online and assigned to a game when an opponent becomes available. Games are limited to 30 seconds per turn in realtime.

Pass & Play

Share your physical device with your opponent. Player 1 will take a turn and then pass the device to Player 2.


Use the openings of famous games and see if you can progress with the grandmasters. This will be updated periodically with updates on twitter! Please contact to suggest your own challenges. Let us know if you think allowing for players to build their own challenges would be a good idea using an upvote system!

Desktop Version

Along with keyboard shortcuts, the desktop version has one feature the mobile build does not have, and that is the history breakdown window.

Here you can see each move of the game organized in chronological order along with the advantage at that point in time. Seeing precisely the move where your advantage changes the most can be extremely helpful in identified where and how you've blundered and/or how your opponent gained ground over you. Click on an earlier move to visually see the board state at that time, and toggle / confirm a move to go back to the current game state. You can also analyze the pgn at any time during your game by hitting the link button to the right of the move.
Lazy Chess Game History


We'd love to hear from you. Contact us by email at or through twitter, reddit or the most convenient social media platform you choose. Thank you for playing!

Go Back to Lazy Chess Index

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Lazy Chess is a Free App - Game

Lazy Chess is open source and available on GitHub.
It is made by Cinq-Mars Media, an educational non-profit with projects and games featured at E3, PAX and other festivals worldwide.

Download Lazy Chess Press Kit

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