Craig have you tried Chess with Friends from the makers of Words with Friends? I've never played chess, but I downloaded the app to try it out sometime. Let me know if you download it and maybe you can teach me a few things.
The game doesn't screw you into losing, the computer is just really damned good at chess.com. You have to set it at a really easy level if you are at all a beginner. The site is designed for highly ranked players to play. If you aren't planning several moves in advance, one hint isn't going to do much of anything - especially if you don't know where to take it from there.
If you really want to get better, I strongly recommend going to chess.com instead of Chess with Friends. Play with their tactic trainer as well - I think you get three free a day. I actually subscribe to that site... that's how much I like it.