When released in 1993, Chessmaster 4000 Turbo was at the leading edge of commercial software for computer chess games. Featuring nearly total customizable controls and a huge array of options, the game incorporates an amazing level of sophistication and capability.
Various tools are used as teaching aids for each level of player. For example, a novice would choose the mentor option that offers a chess tutor and a rudimentary education on legal moves by each piece. The intermediate player can invoke the mentor menu and choose the "rate my play" feature to practice openings, get a rating by trying to predict moves in GM games or study classic games. The advanced player will play against various strong personalities with differing styles (whether user-defined or pre-set), practice a wide range of openings and go head-to-head with the strongest AI in a tournament setting.
The ability to create user-defined opponents is the real strength of the game. With nearly unlimited options and parameters available within the personality setup module, all aspects (e.g., style, aggressiveness, strength, randomness, book depth) pertaining to an opponent's proclivities can be "programmed" easily through slider bar settings ranging from 0 to 200. Another learning tool is the opening book editor that allows the user to practice and learn opening lines, edit them or create and save his own. With the vast number of options available, the easy menu-driven interface (mouse point-and-click or keyboard controls) allows for an uncomplicated means of selecting options.
A wide range of chess sets is available from basic wood to marble, including 3D views that are thankfully adjustable as some of the defaults are difficult to use. Multiple settings of the major window options are available through the setup process in the nerve center of the game, the War Room. One of the more interesting features of Chessmaster 4000 Turbo is the ability to create and customize chess opponents to play at any level, whether it be a famous past grandmaster or your neighbor down the street.
You can hold your own tournaments with any number of players and enjoy watching the battle unfold before your eyes. While this may be tempting, time invested in playing against the various computer AI's is time well spent if your aim is to improve your own game through quick analyses of games played and use of the chess tutor option, along with normally on-the-mark annotations.
As an added bonus, a wonderfully written piece on the history of chess and an equally impressive 18-page rundown of past World Champions with emphasis on their styles is included in the Owner's Manual. Additionally, the game includes a perspective on "Chess and Machines" and an enjoyable selection of chess related brain-teasers. The game contains a comprehensive on-screen help system both auditory and text based. Chessmaster 4000 Turbo is a powerful tool for both the serious player as well as the patzers among us interested in improving or practicing their game.
Graphics: 3D chess sets, SVGA option, windows based menus, 256-color -- a nice looking package overall. Chess pieces and boards are interesting and well defined.
Sound: A mixed bag. Music is more a distraction than enhancement (but in a chess game, who cares?) while sound effects invoked by movement of pieces or situations (such as check, captures, etc.) can be annoying. Voice quality is decent on auditory segments.
Enjoyment: Boils down to whether you like chess or not. If you're a fanatic, there's enough here to keep you busy for years.
Replay Value: Chess being chess, replay value is assured.
People who downloaded Chessmaster 4000 have also downloaded:
Chessmaster 5500, Chessmaster 3000, The, Chessmaster 5000, Chessmaster 2100, Chessmaster 2000, Battle Chess for Windows, Chess System Tal, Kasparov's Gambit
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