Chess Mates is an adorable game that makes learning of a very difficult subject -- chess -- easy and fun. Players are introduced to the game by Wigby the Wizard. He will be your guide to learning the many strategies of chess. To begin, players click on whichever strategy they wish to learn first. The strategies have names like Fork, Skewer, Pin, Check and Double Check.
Wigby will then show players the theory behind the strategy, shown as an animated short that can be wildly hilarious. For example, double check or checkmate is shown as a small pawn throwing pies in the face of a larger piece. After players have seen the animation, pieces appear on the chessboard and show the strategy in action. Then, players get to enact the strategy on their own in a number of situations.
When they have successfully mastered the strategy, they can print out a certificate showing this fact and either move on to other chess strategies (their are over 60 to learn) or play a real game. In addition to learning and playing, users can set the difficulty of the computer opponent and change the background and chessboard to suit personal tastes. Throughout the game, Wigby is there to provide help when needed and supports the player by congratulating him or her on their progress.
I had wanted to learn chess for a long time but the complex and difficult nature of the game had put me off. Even my friends who play the game made it seem excessively complicated and something I was never going to learn. Thanks to this game, I can now hold my own against the computer Novice opponent and the game no longer seems as difficult to me. In fact, I even hope I am learning enough to play a real opponent!
In any case, if I can learn from this game, so can anyone. It provides a good method with which to teach children or anyone who has wanted to play chess but is put off at learning all the movements of the pieces and the strategies involved. Although the game is filled with animations, these will not deter adults who want to play or make them feel embarrassed to be seen playing the game. If you want to learn to play or have been too embarrassed to admit your ignorance, this game is for you.
Graphics: Cartoonish but nice. At least you can identify all the pieces!
Sound: Loud and clear.
Enjoyment: Makes learning chess fun and enjoyable for all.
Replay Value: You'll be playing this one for a long time. Good for all ages.
A chess program aimed at the younger set, Chess Mates is a standard chess program with tutorials and chess puzzles to help kids learn the rules and basic chess strategy. An animated wizard helps teach while floating over an isometric cartoon chess board.
People who downloaded Chess Mates have also downloaded:
Expert Chess, USCF Chess, Oregon Trail Deluxe, Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time, Carmen Sandiego: Word Detective, Complete Chess System, JumpStart 1st Grade, Mario Teaches Typing 2
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