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Old January 8th 04, 03:53 PM
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Default Teaching young children chess (also: CM9000 vs Fritz)

The consensus of opinion from reviews on the internet seems to be that
although it has less features to offer as overall package in
comparison to Chessmaster 9000, Fritz is better for analysis, and a
more suitable for intermediate and advanced chess players. Chessmaster
9000 is more outstanding for its educational and instructional
qualities, which are more weighted to the beginner - intermediate
side. So for kids and beginners, the tutorials are awesome, and CM9000
makes a better choice.

Mind you, it struck me that many reviews of CM9000 by master players
also spoke very highly about Chessmaster and found it very helpful as
well. The features and tutorials for advanced players are impressive,
such as the end-game course, Josh Waitzkin's audio courses and
annotated games, so it's not just beginner stuff. The 800+ annotated
GM games are great too. Having various human-like personalities to
play against is also neat.

I can see that most advanced players would probably choose Fritz over
Chessmaster for analysis. While Chessmaster is the clear winner in
terms of educational tutorials, drills, puzzles, playing human-like
opponents, classic games, and graphical bells/whistles, Fritz wins in
the analysis/database department. But like some advanced chess players
note: they opt for both programs because they complement each other.

I was recommended Chessmaster 9000 when I posted a message seeking
suggestions for the best software to teach young children chess. I
recently purchased Chessmaster 9000 as suggested, and it is terrific
indeed! It surpassed my expectations, especially in terms of its
educational/tutorial content for children/beginners. My kids love it
already. If you have young kids, it makes a great choice! The audio
makes it easy for them to follow along, and even though my five year
old can't read yet, she is having great fun working through the
tutorials and drills! Highly recommended.


From: John Merlino )
Subject: Teaching young children chess
View: Complete Thread (10 articles)
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Date: 2002-12-12 12:33:38 PST

(Jestrada) wrote in message . com...

I am looking for recommendations for teaching young children chess. I
have two young children who have shown a great interest in chess after
a friend of mine explained the moves to them when they were only 2 and
4 years old. Now aged 4 and 6, they both enjoy watching games of
other players on internet chess servers, and also playing blitz games
against others online (slower time controls of 5 15). One of my son's
recent opponents (aged 40+) refused to believe he was playing a four
year old!

My question is: How can I help them develop this interest?
- Is there any chess software that is excellent for teaching children?
(speaking of which, is there any good freeware chess software for
improving chess?)
- Are there any books or courses that I can use with them? I'm told
that in some countries like the Netherlands have extensive programs
set up for children (eg the Dutch chess federation KNSB). Is there
something similar available in English?
- Any other recommendations?

I don't want to spend exorbitant amounts of money, nor do I want it to
become an obsession for them. But I can see it being a good thing to
encourage and stimulate young minds in a positive way with chess. I
should note that I'm fairly new to chess myself (perhaps about a 1200
player), so I'm hardly the best equipped person to make a good
recommendation in answer to my questions. Any advice would be
gratefully received!

In all honesty (given my previous association with the Chessmaster
program), I must say that I have not seen a better program available
for teaching children how to play chess than Chessmaster 9000. Given
what you receive (over 30 hours of audio tutorials and annotated
games, plus over 150 different personalities of various strengths to
play against) for the money (about $40, IIRC), it's a bargain.

Of course, there are intermediate and advance tutorials in the mix as
well, plus lots of different drills and exercises that are useful.
Admittedly, probably nothing is better than a human coach, but CM9000
is your next best option.

Additionally, there are over 1000 different combinations of boards and
pieces to choose from, including some very attractive 3D sets that are
rotateable and resizeable in real time. Your children might enjoy
playing around with these to find their favorite settings.

The only caveats I would have would be technical. The program only
officially supports Windows XP/ME/98, although reports have shown that
it works fine on Windows 2000 as well. There are two notable bugs that
are not yet fixed, and I would suspect that a patch to resolve them
will not be available for at least a couple more months. They a

1) If your computer has an Intel i850 graphics chipset, the program
might crash if you attempt to switch from the default "True3D" boards
and pieces to a "2D" or "Fixed View" set.

2) There is a rare bug that occurs only on Windows XP that prevents
you from successfully selecting an opponent in a rated game. No matter
who you request, you end up playing the Chessmaster, which is the
strongest setting in the game. This, of course, is a very rude bug.
:-) If you DO buy the program and you DO get this bug, I might have
some insight on a possible workaround, so don't hesitate to send me a
personal e-mail if necessary.

Finally, to successfully view the True3D sets, your computer needs at
least a 16MB video card for the minimum functionality.

Best of Luck with your budding GMs!

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