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CD-ROM game review: Chessmaster 6000; For the chess junkie - the only mates you'll ever need.

Chessmaster 6000 has reigned undefeated as the number one interactive chess product worldwide for 12 years - and it's little wonder why.

As a complete chess novice, I became hooked on the programme after just an hour of simply styling the game to meet my very low performance level.

Starting on the "Teach Me to Play" level, Chessmaster guided me around the board, told me if I was doing an illegal move, and even suggested several play strategies using the Illustrated Voice Analysis.

Sometimes, I looked into the mind of Chessmaster with the Visual Thinking Window to view the computer's analysis of the game in action - helping me to guess the next move and therefore improve my own strategies.

The graphics of the CD Rom-prompted game are fantastic - some of the best I have seen in computer games - and offer a wide variety of playing surfaces, chess pieces, angles and even sounds.

My husband loved choosing music to accompany his playing mood from the selection of several dozen welnown tunes - from classical, to rock and jazz.

The game actually begins with a video of former child chess prodigy, Josh Waitkin, now 24, preparing you for the mental and emotional challenge of chess, and how it can improve every aspect of your life - well, most anyway.

As I improved, I graduated through the skill levels until the computer assumed that I could "think" for myself and reduced the level of assistance I needed - but I still have to call on some advice for the trickier situations.

For the more experienced players, opponents can be custom made using any or all of the 24 style-olay attributes, and for adrenaline-pumping action, there's Blitz Chess, which plays a whole game in five or even two minutes. Chessmaster can even be set at championship level to challenge the most cunning opponent available on a personal computer. All teaching aids are shut off and it's human brain against the computer brain.

For the most devoted of players,Chessmaster can be played live with opponents from around the world via the Internet. Even Josh Waitkin, who works with the makers, Mindscape, on a variety of Chessmaster projects, has been known to make online appearances .

Several recent enhancements to Chessmaster 6000 include persistent personal data that keeps track of player ratings, win/loss records and improved personality traits for computer opponents and a rating system for both human and computer opponents.

Chessmaster 6000 is on sale now for PC CD Win 95/98 for pounds 29.99. Charisse Ede
COPYRIGHT 1998 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Interactive
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 17, 1998
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