Monday, January 29, 2007

The Latest from Fritz & Chesster

Computer software plays a big role in chess education these days, and the Fritz and Chester series, created by the German company Chessbase and distributed in the U.S. by Viva Media, includes some of the most popular chess teaching software available. The programs teach basic chess skills through the use of stories, generally struggles between two kids and a dastardly king. The first two titles in the series won a host of awards, and now the third and newest program, Chess for Winners, has gotten a favorable review in USA Today. This program apparently emphasizes tactics, perhaps the most important aspect of the game for young chess players to master.

I’ve only seen the second title in the series, but I found it clever and entertaining. I’d say it’s for kids no older than eight or nine. If your child is that age or younger, and you’re looking for software to help him or her improve at chess, you may want to consider Fritz & Chesster. If your child already knows the rules and other basics—which is probably the case if he or she is in the Ray School Chess Club—skip the first title and move on to two or three.

Have you had any experience with this or other chess software? If so, please tell us about it by leaving a comment. Thanks.