If you havenít played chess with Fritz, you havenít played chess. That was what was made clear to me by the time I was finished talking to the Viva Media folks. There arenít many products out there that can say they have been in active development for 15 years, but Fritz can.
Fritz 8 (PC)
Fritz 8 is the latest incarnation of the Fritz chess engine and what an incarnation it is, after learning what Vivaís flagship title will deliver, I was certain of one thing, Chess Master is for n00bs. The versatility of Fritz is unparalleled, the level of play is fully adaptable to any skill level, whether you are playing your first game or you eat grand masters for breakfast. For those that are just starting out, the game offers a set of comprehensive lessons to get you up to speed and kicking some serious tail in no time via the free one year membership to playchess.com where you can find anywhere 800 to 5,000 opponents at any given time. The word that the Viva folks used to describe learning with Fritz was ďPainless,Ē itís not like subjugating yourself to some sadistic chess drill instructor like certain other titles. There is an in-game coach that provides guidance that is actually useful for improving your skills. While we eagerly await our review copy, I think my initial impression is if you like chess, meet Fritz.
Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chester (PC)
Tivola was also showing off their chess program for kids entitled Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chester. While the target audience of this title is the 8-13 year old set, it still shows off the same level of over all quality that the other Fritz titles have. The game teaches basic and intermediate chess by placing the player in the shoes of Prince Fritz whose parents the White King and Queen are away on holiday when the Black King appears and challenges Fritz to a duel, of chess. In defeat the Black King players will help Fritz sharpen his chess skills via a series of mini-games that help to explain how the various pieces move and explore some basic strategy. For a beginner, Learn to Play Chess may well be the very best way to learn.