Review by GurraJG

Reviewed: 12/26/03

Good for a Computer game, but not the same as real life...

Looking for a competitor in chess, but can’t find a human. Well, here’s your solution.

Chessmaster 9000 promotes itself as “Teacher. Mentor. Ultimate Opponent.” And that’s just what it is. Let’s start with “Teacher.”

Chessmaster 9000 is perfect for anyone who wants to learn chess, but doesn’t want to get a boring lecture from dad or read a 1,000 page long book. This game provides an excellent interactive learning environment. For people who have never played chess before, there are lessons on how to set up the board, how the pieces move and all the basic rules of chess. For the people who know the basics of Chess, there is a section on what openings to play, how to make your second, third and fourth move, as well as endgames, special moves and a whole verity of different things. Then, for more advanced chess players there is a section where you predict the moves different Grandmasters would take. All in all, Chessmaster 9000 truly is you “Teacher.”

As for the Mentor part of the game, Chessmaster 9000 also lives up to its name. You have access to about 800 classic games, from 1619 to 2002. There are tutorials as well as several annotated games and a Psychology of Competiton course. There is also a Endgame Quiz, for all the people who want to improve their endgame. While not as fantastic as the Teacher section, it’s still a pretty good mentor.

When Chessmaster 9000 says “Ultimate Opponent”, it certainly isn’t kidding. While you have opponents with ratings of 23, you can go as high as 2795. You can play unranked games just for fun, or you can play ranked games which affect your rankings. You can also organize tournaments as well as play online.

Chessmaster 9000 has an excellent system of helping you improve play with the “Move Adviser” as well as a self-analyzes. Graphic wise, the game provides a pretty useless “True 3D” function, which mostly disturbs game play, since in chess you don’t really need to see the board from the side. But on the other hand, the numerous chess sets available can really help make things fun.

Chessmaster 9000 is a game with decent sound, with narrations from International Master Josh Waltzkin and chess coach Bruce Pandolfini. Other then the voices, there really isn’t to much sound in this game, so this is probably the worst part of Chessmaster 9000. At least the game is played in a window so you can have Media Player running in the background.

All in all, Chessmaster 9000 is an excellent game, but if you have a real player to play against, do, it’s much more fun. This is the main reason Chessmaster 9000 only gets a 9 out of 10.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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